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?