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What does financial wellness look like after COVID?

The coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere, jumped from the top rope, and body-slammed the already-vulnerable American employee. Nobody saw it coming. And four months into this thing? Nearly 43 million people have filed for unemployment.

It didn't have to be like this for them. They could have had enough in savings to get them through a layoff. They could have eliminated the debt that's eating into their ability to financially survive something like this. They could have had the peace of mind that comes with following a budget.

Before coronavirus, too many companies viewed financial wellness as a nice add-on benefit—strictly optional. But now? Well, America's 40 million furloughed and laid-off employees prove that it is essential. The time for just checking the financial wellness box or putting it off is over.

Squaring up to employees' situations

The coronavirus put a magnifying glass on a huge problem: Americans aren't financially prepared to handle even an average emergency, let alone a global pandemic.

Before it all hit, many Americans were drowning in debt and spent more than they earned. They didn't have enough in savings or for retirement. As a result, the pandemic was like a gut punch to people who were already doubled over with debt and falling behind. And many of them were or are your employees. We're all too familiar with these alarming statistics:

  • 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck
  • 39% can't even cover a $400 emergency
  • 48% have less than $10,000 saved for retirement
  • 40% of Americans spend up to half their income paying toward debt

It's painfully obvious that employees need financial wellness now more than ever. So, as they come back to work over the next few weeks and months, employers need to face reality: Their employees need to be better prepared for the unexpected.

What can you do to help?

As an employer, you don't need to hear that your employees are the engine that makes your company run. But you do need to hear that helping them achieve financial wellness after a legitimate financial crisis is one of the best ways to make sure both your employees and your business fully recover. Why? Because employees who are stressed about money cost your company in lost productivity, absenteeism and turnover. They need guidance as they move forward from this. And they need to know that you care.

Make a plan

Look, a lot of employees are scared they're going to lose their jobs. And a lot of employers are wondering if they'll be able to keep their doors open. Nobody is really sure how long all this is going to last. So, the best thing you can do for your team is give them the tools and resources they need to be financially prepared for the unexpected. That gives them hope in an uncertain time like this.

People are asking what the future looks like after COVID-19. But in many ways, the future will be what you make it. As an employer right now, if you're not learning about your employees and how to help them in the midst of a financial crisis, then you won't be able to give them what they need. They need to hear "We will get through this" from you. And the best way to say it is through a financial wellness program that meets them where they are and walks with them every step of the way to putting the pandemic in the past.

This article was written by Emily Payne from BenefitsPro and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

 

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