Financial wellness as an employee engagement strategy. If you want to improve employees’ productivity, start with the heart of the problem.

If you’re looking for a way to improve your employees’ productivity, start with tackling their financial stress — not only will you bolster engagement, you’ll also boost your bottom line. 

Financial Stress Is Affecting Employee Engagement

That’s because employee financial stress is costing American businesses $500 billion per year, according to a recent survey of over 10,000 Americans. Employee financial stress finds its way into the workplace, as workers spend an average of three hours a week thinking about their personal finances on the job. 

According to the same study, that lost productivity represents between 11 and 14 percent of payroll expenses per employee, per year. Additionally, employees stressed by their personal finances report more than 56 percent more absences than their co-workers. For businesses that don’t provide financial wellness programs, this stress adds up and decreases their income. 

This stress is felt across a variety of different areas. For instance, over two-thirds of financially stressed employees say they consistently carry credit card balances each month, according to research by PwC. Additionally, 68 percent of those employees have saved less than $50,000 for retirement. 

Financial Wellness Programs Can Help With Employee Engagement

While the range of financial problems your employees are facing can vary — from a lack of retirement savings to mounting student loan debt — the first step to help them address the situation is to provide a comprehensive understanding of it. A majority of employees still want to make their own decisions when it comes to their financial lives — but they also want a resource that will help validate their decisions. The most desired employer benefit for one in four employees is a financial wellness program with access to unbiased counselors. 

Among employees who were provided a financial wellness program by their employer, 71 percent say they’ve used the benefit, and the programs are particularly popular among Millennials and Baby Boomers. Usage of the programs is up as well, with just 49 percent of employees using these same programs in 2015. 

Financial wellness programs give you a competitive advantage in the hiring market as well. Seventy-eight percent of employees who reported being stressed about their finances said they would be attracted to another company that cared more about their financial wellbeing. 

Financial wellness programs like Best Money Moves can help. Best Money Moves is mobile, gamified and easy-to-use. It provides practical, unbiased help so employees can make smarter financial decisions and manage the debt they have. 

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If you want to learn more about how Best Money Moves can bring financial wellness to your company visit us at Success Connect in Las Vegas this September 15th-19th. Join Best Money Moves founder and CEO Ilyce Glink’s session “Transform the Employee Experience by Reducing Financial Stress and Improving Financial Well-Being” on Wednesday, September 18th at 1:00 p.m.

Then, you can find us in booth #2550 at HR Tech this October 1st-4th and listen to Ilyce Glink’s speech “Employee Financial Stressors by Generation and How to Help at Every Stage” on Thursday, October 3rd from 1:10-2:00 p.m. in the Expo Room.