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Employers Expanding Financial Benefits to Satisfy and Retain Workers

Survey finds employers are tending to employees’ financial wellbeing, despite the added cost.

November 9, 2022

The recently published fifth annual Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Financial Wellbeing Employer Survey found that employers are adding or improving financial wellbeing programs to increase worker satisfaction and retention, despite being challenged by the associated costs.

The survey questioned 250 benefits decision makers in June and July 2022. All respondents worked full time at companies with at least 500 employees that were at least interested in offering financial wellness programs.

Participants reported retirement preparedness, health care costs, financial-related stress, and higher cost of living as the top issues with their financial wellness initiatives. Investments and retirement planning were the top-cited primary focus areas, followed by basic financing and education and consulting programs.

When considering the future expansion benefits, companies reported plans to offer tuition reimbursement and/or assistance, basic money management tools, personalized credit and debt counseling, retirement planning education, and child/elder caregiving benefits.

Caregiving benefits were most often proposed as leave policies rather than the direct provision of caregiving. Approximately one-quarter of employers said they plan to offer caregiving benefits in the next one to two years.

Employers used the improvement of worker satisfaction, retention, and productivity as evidence that their financial benefit programs were being successful. Cost-benefit analysis was reported being used by 85% of the companies as the means of evaluating the programs.

The survey also highlighted actions being taken within financial wellness programs to address diversity and its associated needs. Surveying employees was the most common step taken to understand diverse workers’ needs. Offering different types of solutions to accommodate different age groups and ensuring that financial counselors or coaches were diverse in terms of race and ethnicity were the actions taken most often. In contrast, tailoring messaging by gender and for minority populations were the least likely actions.

“It is not surprising that, in the current tight labor market, employers are focusing on expanding and improving financial wellbeing programs. However, employers do want to see that these programs are paying off in terms of increased worker satisfaction and retention considering the cost of these programs. This is why measuring the success of these programs is of increasing importance to employers as well,” explained Craig Copeland, EBRI director of wealth benefits research.

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