In a new blog from CEO Trey Loughran, all of us have seen the toll - both financially and emotionally - that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on our own lives, on family, on friends, and on fellow employees. From layoffs and furloughs to the current labor shortage, the past year and a half has had rippling effects on business operations as well as most everyone’s household budgets. Many of these challenges create a perfect storm of financial stress, affecting productivity at work and further impacting company performance.

As we all look for answers to these important issues, HR teams and other business leaders are asking themselves: What are employees worried about today; what do they expect their financial situation to be like in January; and how can employers assist their team members and increase retention via impactful financial well-being benefits?

These questions and more are answered in The State of Employee Finances: 2021, a Harris Poll survey report conducted on behalf of Purchasing Power. We commissioned this survey due to the elevated expectation from employees that employers offer holistic benefits that understand and assist with their financial stress and well-being. The results paint a clear picture of what employees’ financial situation and financial stress levels are today and are anticipated to be in January 2022.

A key finding from the Harris Poll is that household income levels don’t discriminate. Since the pandemic started, full-time employees at all household income levels have been affected, with many reporting now living paycheck to paycheck, barely covering monthly living expenses such as housing, transportation and utilities. In fact, 35% of those surveyed making over $100,000 reported themselves in this situation.

We also learned that what worries employees the most that make less than $100,000 is having enough in emergency savings to cover unexpected expenses that might come up, such as car repair, home repair or a broken appliance.

Some positive news from the survey is that the majority of employees said they expect their financial situation to be better in January of 2022. However, they believe that their financial stress level will be the same – or even worse – than it is now.

Furthermore, they readily admit their financial stress negatively affects their work. Employees reported that their financial stress disrupts their physical health, their ability to focus and their productivity at work, and their job satisfaction. This confirms that employee financial stress impacts the employers’ bottom line through increased healthcare coverage costs, loss of productivity and employee retention rates.

Employees say that one way for employers to show they care is the benefits they provide – especially financial well-being benefits:

  • 78% of employees reported that they can tell how much their employer cares about their financial well-being by the benefits they offer.
  • 79% of employees surveyed say they would be more likely to stay with their present employer if they offered more financial well-being benefits.

The message from employees is clear: financial well-being benefits matter. Review the findings in the full report: The State of Employee Finances: 2021. Employers who implement robust financial wellness benefits will gain from increased employee performance and retention.

Written by: Trey Loughran, Purchasing Power CEO