How The Great Resignation Is Changing Companies’ Approach To Financial Wellness

Matt is the CEO & co-founder of Origin, where he is working to solve employees’ number one source of stress: money.

By now, you’re probably familiar with the Great Resignation. But while most conversations have revolved around why the Great Resignation is happening, I want to shift the focus to understand how employers are responding to this movement. Specifically, I want to explore how the Great Resignation is affecting the way companies approach financial wellness — and what leaders can learn from these responses.

The first change we’ve seen is with the employees themselves. Covid-19 has negatively affected people’s finances, especially those in younger generations. In fact, 59% of people ages 18 to 34 said they had to put off a major milestone due to the pandemic, whether delaying the purchase of a home or pausing opportunities for career advancement.

As a result, employees are turning to their employers for financial support. In a 2021 employee financial wellness survey, 72% of workers who faced increased financial setbacks during the pandemic said they would be attracted to a company that cared more about their financial well-being than their current employer.

The second change we’ve seen is companies responding to this demand. In 2021, 46% of employers offered financial wellness programs, compared to 40% in 2020. We’ve even witnessed a mindset shift, with a Bank of America report finding that 62% of employers in 2020 felt “extremely responsible” for the financial wellness of their employees — compared to only 13% who did in 2013.

Taking Action On Lessons From The Great Resignation

Here’s what I believe corporate leaders need to do when it comes to their financial wellness efforts, based on what we’re seeing during the Great Resignation.

1. Be Proactive

It may be tempting to say that now isn’t the right time to introduce financial wellness benefits. Maybe you’ve even surveyed your employees and found that financial stress levels are relatively low across the board. But what we’ve learned from the Great Resignation is that proactivity is key. The companies hit the hardest by this movement have been the ones that acted too late in giving their employees what they want — whether that’s better benefits, a supportive culture or more empathetic leadership.

The same concept applies to financial wellness. You want to help employees avoid getting into debt or falling behind on payments, rather than help them after they dig themselves into a financial hole. There’s a reason why 57% of workers who haven’t faced increased financial stress would still consider leaving their current employer for one who cares more about their financial wellness.

2. Diversify Your Program

Historically, financial benefits have focused solely on retirement. But between the pandemic and the Great Resignation, it’s become abundantly clear that every employee has unique goals, circumstances and approaches when it comes to their finances. In response, employers are expanding their financial wellness programs to address a broader range of topics, including:

• Budgeting

• Debt management

• Healthcare costs

• Saving for milestones

• Preparing taxes

This means that your employees are looking for a holistic financial wellness offering. So when designing your program, you need to go beyond the basics if you want to retain and attract top talent.

3. Offer Guidance

Something else we’ve learned during the Great Resignation is that, in addition to diverse offerings, employees are hungry for more financial guidance. Now that financial problems are at the forefront of your employees’ minds, there’s urgency around taking action to address them.

So what’s stopping them? When the Bank of America survey asked employees what prevents them from making more progress towards their financial goals, they often cited a lack of access to guidance. If you’re not sure what type of guidance to provide, keep these statistics from the survey in mind:

• 41% of employees rated advice from a professional, such as a financial advisor, planner or accountant, as the most important financial resource

• 28% of employees rated access to financial products or services as the most important

• 27% of employees rated developing financial skills and good financial habits as the most important

While the Great Resignation can be a scary idea for many employers, it also presents a unique opportunity to create a better workplace for employees moving forward. As an employer, you can do your part by giving your workforce the financial help they want and need during this time of transition. I’m heartened to see so many companies responding to the rising need for financial support — and I strongly believe it’ll change the state of financial wellness for the better.

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