The latest threat to workplace productivity: employees worried about finances.
According to Morgan Stanley’s State of the Workplace report released Tuesday, 83% of HR leaders say they're concerned that employees’ financial issues could negatively affect their productivity. And employees agree—66% say financial stress affects their work and personal lives.
“The lines between our financial and work lives have really blurred because the workplace is where we derive most of the resources to help make life possible,” says Krystal Barker Buissereth, head of executive financial services at Morgan Stanley. “When life becomes more challenging and complicated, we start looking back at those resources in our workplace and ask, 'Is it really doing everything that it can for me?'"
It’s an issue prompting some HR leaders to think more creatively about augmenting their financial health benefit offerings, especially as employees scrutinize what their employers are willing to provide. Almost 79% of survey respondents say they’re paying more attention to reviewing their financial benefits this year, up nine percentage points from 2022. And 89% say they would stay at their company for the right financial benefits package.
Providing additional financial wellness benefits can be a hard sell for HR leaders as companies cut costs. About 25% of HR leaders confirmed that their organizations are rolling back several financial benefits to prepare for a recession. But Barker Buissereth says employers can still pull some levers without overextending themselves, starting by listening to employees to narrow down the financial resources they need.
One in-demand financial wellness benefit is more valuable than several ineffective offerings that don’t meet a workforce’s needs.
According to the report, some of the most desired resources by employees include financial wellness programs (like educational courses, workshops, and access to webinars), retirement assistance, and financial advisors. Barker Buissereth says a sizable gap exists in understanding the financial wellness programs that matter to employees. Most programs only provide basic education, particularly on retirement.
“Where companies can start to match and close that gap is by starting to think about providing not only education but an opportunity to really give people the ability to speak to someone like a finance professional to help them navigate through what is a very increasingly complex economic environment,” she says.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com
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