What are Financial Wellness Programs?

Financial workshop

What are financial wellness programs? And why are restaurants choosing to offer them? Read on to learn everything you need to know about financial wellness programs for employees.

What are financial wellness programs?

A financial wellness program is designed to educate employees on how to better manage their finances. This can include sessions on financial planning, retirement and estate planning, and investing in the stock market or long-term assets. By offering educational resources and workshops, employee financial wellness programs can contribute to better financial well-being for employees. 

Why offer financial wellness programs for Employees

Reduce employee stress levels

Financially strapped employees may be more likely to be stressed out. Financial wellness programs can mitigate employees’ financial challenges and maximize their chances at managing their finances successfully. This can increase job satisfaction in two ways: employees are better able to concentrate on work tasks, and gain appreciation for employers who provide a useful and trustworthy service.

Minimize employee turnover and absenteeism

Employers who implement a financial wellness plan may see a reduction in employee absenteeism and turnover. Financially knowledgeable staff are likely to be more productive and contribute more to their 401(K) programs. 

Improved employee health

Financial issues can quickly pile up and lead to chronic stress, which can negatively impact your employees’ mental and physical health. The Mayo Clinic shares that chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, muscle tension and pain, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep problems, weight gain, and memory and concentration impairment. 

Providing tools that mitigate this stress can create a healthier and happier workforce. 

Financial wellness programs to offer in your restaurant

Earned wage access

Earned wage access (EWA) products, also known as early wage access, on-demand pay, or instant pay, refers to the ability for an employee to access their wages prior to their scheduled payday.

Why is this beneficial? Offering earned wage access can increase financial stability, and improve retention. According to a PwC employee financial wellness survey, 54% of respondents said financial or money matters caused the most stress in their lives. By providing earned wage access, employees can reap the benefits of greater financial flexibility and stability. 

Financial stress is a significant mental burden that can lead to mental health issues, burnout, absenteeism, and employee turnover, and earned wage access can help alleviate these issues.

401(k) matching

Consider adding a 401(k) matching contribution to your employee's financial wellness package. It can be a great tool in helping you recruit (and retain) the best quality talent you can find. A retirement plan can empower employees to save for the future in increments, giving them the security and tax benefits of contributing to a 401(k). Some companies even offer restaurant-tailored 401(k) plans designed to suit their staff’s specific needs.

Financial literacy workshops 

Workshops are a simple tool to educate employees about their finances, and can be relatively low-cost, or even free. You can invite guest speakers to run workshops on budget planning, reducing debt, or saving for retirement. Depending on the size and organizational structure of your restaurant, you could even request a workshop from your finance or accounting department.

Health insurance

A survey by America’s Health Insurance Plan showed that 46% of employees said health insurance was a deciding factor or major influence in selecting an employer. And over 50% of U.S. adults said the quality of their health insurance program is a key factor in deciding to stay at their current job. Needless to say, this makes health insurance a critical component of any financial wellness program. Not only does it help keep your staff healthy, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and boost overall productivity, providing health insurance means your staff will be less likely to hesitate to go to the doctor when they’re ill, which keeps your entire team healthy. 

Paid time off

Paid time off may seem like a luxurious benefit, but it can have far-reaching and positive effects for your staff. Employers who provide paid time off are likely to be faced with fewer unscheduled absences. In addition, when staff are offered (and are allowed to take) vacation and personal days, they can be more transparent with their reasons for taking time off. If possible,  consider a paid sabbatical for tenured employees, offering employees time to focus on learning new professional skills. 

Financial wellness is becoming an increasing priority among employees. With tools such as financial literacy workshops, estate planning, 401(k) matching, and early wage access, employers can increase employee retention, and ensure that their staff actually looks forward to coming to work.

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