Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria

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Has the Loonie Got Your Employees Feeling Down?

financial-stress-300x168With the media reporting an impending recession, housing and food prices on the rise, and the Canadian loonie at an all-time low, many Canadians are feeling the financial stress of having to make their dollar go further.

As an employer, you know that financially stressed-out employees tend to be less productive and less engaged, and can even raise employer health care costs.

So what can you do as an employer? You can launch a financial well-being program for your employees. Employees will welcome your help to improve the state of their current and future financial fitness. I’ve outlined below a few programs you might consider offering your employees to help them flip that loonie into a brighter future!

Offer Financial Education Services

Offer your employees one-on-one meetings with financial consultants. Check with your EAP provider as this may be something that is included or offered by them as a specialized service. Financial education goes a long way in improving personal finance habits. You could also gauge interest in this by offering on-site financial planning seminars on topics like budgeting, dollar-cost averaging, asset allocation and retirement planning.

Incorporate Financial Well-being into your Wellness Program

To improve your employees overall well-being, go beyond traditional fitness, nutrition, stress and sleep programs. Help them get on the right track by offering financial challenges within your wellness program. Be sure to clearly outline what they need to do and reward employees for their actions.

  • Attend an on-site financial education seminar
  • Provide opportunities to learn about your company’s financial benefits and EAP services (online resources, webinars, or in-person meetings)
  • Set a weekly/monthly/yearly savings goal
  • Coffee or lunch challenge – employees are challenged to bring coffee/lunch to work for a month and see how much money they can save. The employee who saves the most wins!

Provide an Employee Discount Program

Depending on the size of your company and resources, you may be able to offer your employees discounts on car and home insurance, technology or even local attractions. If your company is a member of a Board of Trade or offers employee group benefits, check into their discount opportunities for insurance discounts, etc.

Build a Top Performer Program

Make note of your most productive people as there is a strong correlation between stress and productivity, and they may need a stress-relieving vacation the most. Consider creating a bonus system with these employees that could include salary increases, benefits, extra vacation, etc., and may be the best way to align your business goals with the financial goals of your top performers.

When companies focus on both employee health AND financial well-being, it results in increased productivity, a competitive edge in the marketplace, and an improved ability to attract and retain talent.  With the right program in place, you can help your employees prepare for a brighter financial future and secure retirement, reducing the negativity associated with financial stress.

With the focus on Canada’s economy, do you see a growing need for financial educational services? Do you have an internal plan to address employee concerns in this area?

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Engage Your Employees This Summer and Have Some Fun

businessman-on-beachIt’s summer – the sun on your face, a balmy breeze and a cool drink are a few reasons we all love summer, but as an employer it can be difficult to keep staff engaged in their work. How can you compete with the allure of summer?

Apply the old expression “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Seize this opportunity to engage staff with your own “summer perks” plan that will make them feel more supported, appreciated, and inspired at work.

I have outlined below several ways you can help make your work environment more enjoyable and healthy for your employees during the summer months.

  1. Summer hours – consider offering summer hours for employees. Ask them to come in an hour earlier each day for 4 days and then they can leave at 1pm every Friday.
  2. Relaxed office dress codes – you may want to consider giving your staff some leeway on your dress code in the summer, including wearing golf shirts, casual sleeveless shirts, etc. The more comfortable employees feel while in the office, the more their heads will be in the game.
  3. Special Summer Events– You might want to consider hosting special events throughout the summer to celebrate your employees’ devotion while maintaining their engagement. You could offer anything from a smoothie machine once a week, to chair massages, ice cream treats, or an employee gathering outside of work hours. These efforts can go a long way toward showing your appreciation.
  4. Sponsored Events – depending on the size of your company, you could also consider arranging discounts with local businesses like sports teams or amusement parks, so your employees can enjoy some summer fun at a discount.

As the owner of an EAP company, I know that sunshine has positive effects on people’s sense of well-being. This can decrease possible incidents of depression, boost motivation levels, relieve tension and generally make everything seem more fun.

Have fun making your employees smile this summer!

What is your company doing to celebrate summer? Any tips on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in helping create a summer perks plan for your employees? I look forward to hearing about your perk plans and successes.