There is a significant increase in reported employee financial stress since 2021.
According to the results of BrightPlan’s 2022 Wellness Barometer Survey, 72 percent of employees have reported that they are stressed about their finances— which in turn has affected workers’ mental and physical health as well as workplace productivity.
Rising inflation (79%) is employees’ top financial concern, followed by adequate retirement planning (59%), with employees currently contributing significantly more to retirement.
In addition, market volatility (56%), having sufficient emergency savings (55%), and paying off debt (44%) rank high.
With an 11 percent increase over the past year, employee financial stress is at an all-time high.
What is the impact of financial stress?
Deteriorating financial health is impacting both mental health (77%) and physical well-being (52%).
Those reporting financial stress state they lose, on average, 11.4 hours in productivity every wee. This translates into over $4 billion in lost productivity weekly for U.S. employers.
Financial wellness benefits are the most desired
Increased financial stress is shifting employee priorities. Financial wellness-related benefits are now the most desired innovative benefit, rising from No. 3 (29%) in 2021 to No. 1 (54%) this year.
The desire for financial wellness benefits is followed by mental health benefits (33%) and flexible time off (30%).
Unsurprisingly, nearly nine out of 10 employees (88%) expect their employers to provide tools and resources to help them with their finances.
Also. the effect of offering enhanced benefits is strong, with 95 percent of workers saying they have a positive impact:
- 60% say they would work harder
- 59% would feel more financially secure
- 58% would be more engaged and productive
- 34% would be more committed and stay longer
“As the pandemic’s impact on the workplace lessens and economic uncertainty increases, financial wellness is top of mind,” said Marthin De Beer, BrightPlan founder and CEO. “Employees are more concerned and stressed about their finances than ever before. Fortunately, companies have gained trust among their workforce. By offering innovative wellness benefits, employers can leverage that trust to attract, retain and engage their best workers.”
“Two years of COVID-19 upheaval have caused employees to reexamine the influence that work is having on their life, and whether that influence is a positive or negative one,” said Danielle Posa, founder of Workplace Wellbeing Advisors. “As a result, it is understandable that well-being, in all its forms, has emerged as a C-suite priority. Companies can lessen the negative impact of the Great Resignation by putting well-being front and center and making it a part of the entire employee experience. In fact, when well-being is strategically ingrained into the fabric of the culture, it can be a real competitive advantage in today’s market.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.