More than half (54%) of employees feel some degree of stress about their finances, and close to one-third (32%) would describe it as a high degree of stress. A large majority of employees (80%) want some type of financial education at work.
That’s according to the new 2019 Eckler Survey on Financial Wellness in the Workplace.
“The amount of stress Canadians face today is unprecedented. Lack of focus at work, increasing amounts of time spent managing personal finances and increased use of employee benefit plans to manage stress-related illnesses is now commonplace,” said Janice Holman, Principal, Eckler Ltd. “As employers continue to look to financial wellness programs as the prescription for mitigating both the personal and workplace impacts of financial stress, designing a program that fits the symptoms and is offered with the right treatment plan is critical to improving outcomes.”
Survey respondents had strong opinions about who should deliver the financial education. A large majority (84% of employers and 90% of employees) want their third-party educator to be unbiased, and 85% of companies and 84% of employees want their education programs to be provided by a third party that is experienced. An equally large majority (more than 80% of employers and 74% of employees) say third-party accreditation is important.
As the baby boom generation moves through the workforce, there is a desire for a more personal approach as they get close to retirement. The survey showed that employees aged 55 and above cited an almost equal preference for one-to-one coaching over for live seminars. This presents a key opportunity to employers. However, according to the survey, only one-quarter (26%) offer one-to-one coaching.
The survey also revealed that employees of all age groups ranked online/self-taught methods among their least preferred methods, yet one-third of employers (32%) rely on this method for delivery of their financial education programs.
While a good number of employers are offering financial education programs, progress can be made in three critical areas: making connections between organizational objectives and the impact of employee financial stress, program alignment with employee needs and preferences, program assessment and measurement.