PayFlex Engage Culture, communication and caring during COVID
Boost your employees’ well-being
As we find new ways to live and work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, many employees might be feeling more financial stress that can have a negative impact on their productivity. Luckily, you can help! Here are three ways employers can empower their employees by expanding their “financial literacy” to include health and overall wellness.
Strategy #1: Help employees feel secure every day
Companies can make a big impact by helping employees feel more secure and confident at work. This comes in the form of a healthy and supportive company culture. Employees who feel a high level of trust in their companies do so because the company has set a precedent of trusting them. It’s a circle of productivity, retention and health that benefits everyone. Here are some tangible steps to create a culture of well-being:
- Conduct regular employee surveys, have “town hall” events and be open about the results of employee feedback. Transparency builds trust.
- Highlight leaders (management and staff) in the company who embody the desired philosophy and effectively “walk the talk” of the company culture.
- Offer the right mix of benefits, programs and services that align with employees’ needs.
Strategy #2: Communication and life stages: right message, right time
Getting the right information to your employees at the right time is crucial. While employees might understand that timing is everything, taking action can still be difficult. Make sure that employees are informed of the full spectrum of benefits offered.
In addition, tailoring communication about benefits to different life stages is a smart move. Here are some examples of aligning benefits to life stages:
- Starting a career: Employees early in their career may not yet have larger expenses such as home ownership or children — a great time to set the savings habit. Help maximize their purchasing power by encouraging automatic savings into a 401(k). Encourage eligible employees to understand the savings power of a Health Savings Account (HSA) and direct them to any company reimbursement programs, such as your tuition assistance benefit.
- Starting to think about mid-life health: Employees taking care of their health through mid-life can maximize their purchasing power by reducing their costs through the use of tax-advantaged accounts like FSAs, employee discounts or a post-tax well-being reimbursement account. With it, employers can contribute a fixed dollar amount or contribution-based dollars to be used by employees each year. You choose which products and services are eligible for reimbursement – such as gym memberships, financial planning, pet adoption and nutrition counseling.
- Starting to think about retirement: Employees preparing for retirement are often very eager to save as much as they can. Connect them to planning tools, calculators and resources. Consider adding financial planning services to your benefits package. And encourage eligible employees to take advantage of the annual HSA catch-up contribution, for individuals age 55 or older. Under the current IRS guidelines, that’s an extra $1,000 pre-tax that can really help grow employees’ retirement nest egg – especially if they’re leveraging their HSA’s investment features.
Strategy #3: Help increase purchasing power for a better future
Human resources professionals and benefits managers can make a big impact by helping employees increase their purchasing power, and plan and save for health care costs and life events.
- Plan for Expected Health Care Costs: Health care is a major reason for bankruptcy1. Simple planning can help alleviate some financial worries. First, help employees determine their annual health care costs using a simple cost calculator. Then, guide them through the open enrollment process with interactive tools and information.
- Plan for Unexpected Health Care Costs: When unexpected costs do occur, pre-tax health care accounts, like health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and HSAs can help employees have the funds when these costs inevitably come up.
- Save for Big Life Events: Help employees develop a savings mindset. Big life events like starting a family, college expenses, and retirement are expensive. Encouraging savings strategies across your multigenerational workforce can set employees up for success by promoting long-term purchasing power.
Helping employees better prepare for their future can alleviate stress that hurts productivity.
Read our full white paper on how increasing employees’ purchasing power is good for business
1 Medical Bankruptcy: Still Common Despite the Affordable Care Act. American Journal of Public Health (March 2019). Retrieved August 14, 2020 from https://ajph.aphapublications. org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304901?journalCode=ajph&