Financial Wellness Benefits for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, you may not yet have the budget to offer your employees a fully-fledged benefits program. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the idea of offering your employees additional support, particularly when it comes to their financial wellness.
People at all income levels struggle to meet their day-to-day needs, pay off debt and save for their future. 48% of Canadians say they’ve lost sleep over their finances, and 1 in 3 employees is distracted by their financial situation at work. If your team is stressed out about money, it’ll end up costing your business in the form of decreased productivity, decreased engagement and an increase in your turnover rate.
In that light, we’ve assembled a few suggestions for financial wellness benefits that’ll have a positive impact in helping your employees improve their financial well-being without costing your business a fortune.
Education or resources for your small business's employees
People face financial challenges based on more than just their own personal choices (for example, the rising cost of living). However, without access to financial education, the deck is stacked against your employees. They’ll be more likely to repeat past financial mistakes and miss opportunities to grow their wealth, even if they start earning more money.
There are a variety of ways you can provide financial education to your team, allowing for customization to suit your employees’ needs. This might include offering seminars or webinars on specific topics, access to a library of resources or having content designed specifically for your staff. Ideally, your program could include a few different types of educational materials to suit different learning styles amongst your employees.
Our friends at QUBER, for example, offer a financial wellness benefit that’ll both help your employees grow their savings and improve their financial habits over time. As employees save in a group saving plan, their employer matches with a contribution of their own.
Provide access to professional resources for your employees
Resources and educational components are important, but most only speak in very general terms. As most people’s financial concerns are made complex by their needs, personal history, goals and more, general answers won’t always help tackle your employees’ individual challenges.
Having access to a financial advisor means your employees can get valuable advice from an expert and find comfort in the design of their financial plan (or clarity on where it might need updates). You don’t necessarily need an in-house advisor to make this work for your employees. A familiar advisor can get to know your employees over time, answer questions about their personal challenges and help them make tweaks to their plans as their lives change.
Help offset costs for employees for a more effective small business
Financial wellness benefits don’t need to be directly related to personal finance. Anything that helps your employees offset the fixed costs they’re responsible for in their daily lives can help them save more, get out of debt faster and invest their disposable income more frequently.
The possibilities are endless, but think specifically about the kind of costs your employees are likely to encounter and how you can find ways to lighten their load. For example, by offering your employees the ability to work from home or the chance to work on a flexible schedule, you help reduce their transportation costs, their need for child and/or pet care and their spending on office clothing. These reductions all have a tangible impact on your employees’ financial health and can help other financial benefits you offer become more effective.
What financial wellness means to small businesses and your employees
If you’re not sure about what your employees need, ask them! One of the benefits available to small business owners is that the size of your business allows for a great deal of direct communication between you and your employees. Running a quick financial wellness assessment with your team on their current level of financial literacy, their challenges and more will help you understand where they need the most support.
If resources are tight, start small and pick one component you feel would best suit your team’s current needs - this is where having the results of a wellness assessment can be very insightful. You can then measure the success rate of that program over time, determining if it’s truly helpful for your staff and adjusting as necessary.
It can be tough to find the budget for financial wellness benefits, but their impact on your employees’ lives and your organization’s overall success cannot be underestimated. A happy team of employees is a motivated one, and one that’ll push your business to the next level.
Alina Malicki Casas is the Marketing and Customer Support Lead for QUBER. QUBER is an innovative financial wellness benefit that helps eliminate the effects of financial stress in the workplace by helping employees grow their savings and improve their financial habits. She is based in Kelowna, British Columbia and enjoys getting outside with her dog Ziggy in her spare time.