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Where (and how) to help millennial employees with their financial wellness

Published by: LifeWorks,

Despite being a part of the workforce for a few years now, Brie is still living paycheck to paycheck. Some months, she can’t even afford to pay her student loan, as a result of unforeseen expenses. She thought by this time in her life, she’d have a little more stability.

Brie is just one of many millennial employees who stress about money. The 2017 Workplace Benefits Report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that about 67 percent of millennials say financial stress interferes with work, compared to just 32 percent of Baby Boomers.

What’s more, nearly six in 10 employees surveyed feel that stress negatively impacts their health. This makes it not only a personal issue, but an HR issue.

To keep finances from affecting your millennial employees’ health and well-being, you need to understand their main sources of financial stress.

Top Financial Stressors

Stress destroys employee well-being and becomes costly by raising healthcare expenses, increasing absenteeism and disengagement, and even upping turnover rates.

Here are the top financial stressors millennials need help addressing:

Adding to Their Savings

The 2017 Workplace Benefits Report found that 43 percent of millennials say the top issue they need help with is saving for retirement. The good news is that your young employees actually listen to your advice — 76 percent say their employer was influential in getting them to save for retirement.

However, it’s not just retirement they’re worried about. The Bank of America 2018 Better Money Habits Millennial Report found that 35 percent worry about not saving enough in general. That means they’re concerned about building a big enough emergency fund and savings to handle unexpected expenses.

Not Affording a Home

The Bank of America’s 2018 report also found that 20 percent of millennials say they’re worried about not being about to afford a home. Putting money away for property requires consistency and dedication, but it’s hard to accomplish if millennials get stuck in the paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle.

Their Career Path

This major stressor is indirectly tied to financial wellness. According to the 2018 Bank of America report, 24 percent of millennials are worried about their career path, and 69 percent wish for better work-life balance.

Finding this balance is essential to employee well-being. When people feel overworked, they burn out and are far less productive.

How to Educate Them

While personal finances tend to be thought of as a private matter, when it affects employee well-being, it needs to be talked about. Build a culture where employees feel comfortable addressing these sensitive topics.

The good news is that a whopping 92 percent of millennials say they would participate in a financial education program provided by their employer, according to the 2017 Workplace Benefits Report.

In fact, despite the stigma, millennials find it encouraging when you take an interest in their financial wellness. The 2017 Workplace Benefits Report also revealed that employees would assume a more active role in their financial situation if they had an annual or regularly scheduled financial review (47 percent of millennials) and had a personalized action plan (45 percent of millennials).

Our latest survey found a similar takeaway — financial wellness programs are among the most interesting initiatives for millennials.

To actually improve employee well-being and address financial health with your younger employees, create a financial wellness program that consists of these elements:

Interactive

Provide hands-on training that is engaging. Slideshows and lectures only go so far in impacting and educating millennial employees. Instead, host interactive experiences, like a budgeting workshop or money management training program. Connect employees with financial experts and get them to take action during the workshop.

For example, assign them to a money coach to help them create a savings plan that contributes to retirement, emergency funds, and real estate investments.

Tech

Incorporate digital experiences as well. Millennials are incredibly tech savvy, so including digital elements in your program speaks their language.

Start delivering educational content, like e-books, articles, and online courses. One of the most preferred methods of wellness communications is email, according to our survey.

Distribute a weekly ‘millennial money’ email, where you offer tips and share employee testimonials to promote your financial wellness program.

Also, promote career planning resources, like access to an online career coach, to help them set clear professional goals. This way, they know how they want to grow with you.

Visuals

Promoting employee well-being initiatives can be tricky. You have to think like a marketer and determine what promotional materials resonate with your audience.

Our survey found that nearly eight out of 10 employees say visuals are important in wellness program promotional materials. Therefore, if you simply hang text-heavy posters, your employees will likely overlook them.

Instead, incorporate photos and other visuals when you’re promoting financial wellness initiatives. These are more engaging and break up text in your content. Visuals are also more memorable than text.

Don’t overlook the ubiquity of humorous memes and gifs in the millennial culture. They respond well to these tactics, so use them in ways that are both fun and informative.

Social

Building a culture around employee well-being is your biggest advantage. If you get your team excited about financial wellness, they’re going to encourage others to do the same.

Our survey found that 64 percent of employees say their employer is ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ at getting employees excited about participating in a wellness program. Of those who agree, a whopping 87 percent currently participate. This is what we call ‘The Excitement Effect.’

Get millennials enthusiastic about managing their finances by building a social community in your culture. After all, they grew up during the advent of social media. They gravitate toward communities both on and offline.

Appoint ambassadors to help spread the word, create accountability groups and host weekly money chats to share the latest insights in a group environment.

Millennials are the future of your organization. Invest in their well-being and empower them to take charge of their finances today.

Make your employees feel loved