HR Answers: An Innovative Financial Wellness Benefit Can Help You Fight the Great Resignation

Red heart and stacks of coins surrounded by a stethoscope checking for financial wellness
By Peter Rice

2 minutes

Financial coaching helps reduce employee stress and boosts productivity, recruitment and retention.

Financial stress costs employers $4.7 billion per week. According to a recent Bright Plan survey of 1,500 workers, a fifth of workers said their financial health has worsened during the pandemic and 46% have had lower productivity as a result.

For the past seven months, people have been quitting their jobs at near-record highs, and businesses are struggling to find workers to fill roles. According to a recent Bankrate survey, more than half of Americans expect to search for a new job over the next 12 months. This is significant, considering it costs companies 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them if they leave. This major job turnover coupled with the inability to find workers and keep up with demand has been called “The Great Resignation” or “The Big Quit.”

While many businesses have been offering perks like flexible hours and the option of working from home, the answer we at Workers Credit Union have found lies in focusing on an employee’s financial well-being. We believe financial wellness coaching is the next great frontier of employee benefits and have developed a program—Workers Way—that allows Massachusetts employers free access to financial coaches they can offer as a benefit to their employees. All Workers CU staff are encouraged to participate, including senior management and the board of directors. As of today, all member-facing staff as well as our executive management team have gone through Workers Way for their own personal financial journey.

This program goes far beyond the financial literacy information and webinars some employers offer their workers. Trained financial coaches meet with employees one on one—to listen without judging, to answer questions, and to provide the tools and support that empower people to make good decisions at any life stage. Regular meetings keep the employee encouraged and motivated to follow their path to financial wellness.

There are several benefits to the employer as well. A major benefit is increased productivity. According to a MetLife Employee Benefit Trends study, people who are less worried about their personal finances are more productive. In fact, 85% of financially healthy workers reported feeling more productive at work. Employees can be more fully dedicated to their job if their minds are not distracted by concerns about where they will get the money to pay their monthly bills or to buy those new tires they need before winter.

Offering this program also promotes retention and can be used as a recruitment tool. Providing a benefit that other organizations don’t offer attracts prospective employees, encourages existing employees to stay in their jobs and creates better engagement between employers and their workforce. Offering financial wellness as a benefit also strengthens corporate culture and increases participation in the company retirement plan. It shows employees that the company they work for cares about their financial well-being and wants to work with them to contribute to their success.

CUES member Peter Rice is chief banking officer for Workers Credit Union. The Littleton, Massachusetts-based, member-owned and member-focused $2 billion credit union is building the financial wellness of its more than 110,000 members.

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