What’s the top employee benefit for 2017? Financial wellness programs seem to be at the top of the list this year.
It used to be enough incentive for businesses to offer their employees a 401K or some sort of qualified retirement plan. Today’s employees are looking for more and employers are investigating new options.
Aon Hewitt’s Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing Survey is an annual benchmarking report that examines employers’ financial benefit focus areas for the upcoming year. The 2017 version marks the 13th installment of the report and is based on survey responses from roughly 250 employers covering nearly 9 million workers.
This year’s study discovered that financial wellness programs are rapidly becoming a top HR initiative. Over 90% of employers say that they are likely to focus on financial wellness programs in the days to come. 60% say that the importance of financial wellness programs has increased from last year.
At least half of the companies surveyed are already building financial wellness programs and providing tools to encourage workers to set goals for their financial wellbeing. The 58% of businesses currently offering at least one financial wellness program is expected to top 80% by the end of this year.
Why are financial wellness initiatives so important?
Employers have begun acknowledging that financial stress and strain can be linked to the physical health of their employees. Missed work days or lack of full participation in their jobs due to health issues cost a business in more ways than one, so it makes sense that smart business owners are concerned with the physical as well as financial health of their employees. Employees are recognizing this too and are eager to participate in plans that will benefit them now as well as in the future.
Most financial wellness programs are designed to prepare employees for retirement. Yet, only 10% of those businesses polled say that their employees are fully knowledgeable about their retirement savings needs and their options for meeting those needs. Appropriately, 87% of employers indicated that they would take action this year to help their employees meet their retirement goals
In addition, employers are investigating ways to assure that their pension plans will have the necessary funds when their employees are ready to retire. They are looking for ways to bulletproof their pension programs to protect them against the vulnerability of the stock market.
Read about further insights gathered in this report, which can be downloaded for free from Aon Hewitt.