After an in-depth discussion on employee mental, physical and financial wellness, PwC specialists discuss how employers can balance offering wellness resources with pressures for a proven ROI.
Christine Randazzo: Leveraging the core principles of well-being in a new age
Weighing employee offerings with potential returns on investments is a delicate balance. It’s never been more important to take a hard look at all the vendors, programs and benefits where you are spending money and figure out which of them may no longer be necessary, potentially to make room for investments elsewhere (such as well-being). It’s important to include your employees in the process. Ask them what they want and need, and what they might be willing to trade off. There are multiple mediums to collect this kind of data which can be really useful in building a business case, and could potentially identify cost saving opportunities along the way. The world has turned upside down over the last few months, and what employees value has changed alongside this. I think it’s a really useful time to take a hard look at whether there is a misalignment in how resources for employee programs are being spent.
Kim Jepsen: Disruptive innovation in emotional health
In complete transparency, it is very difficult to assess ROI related to mental health vendors—especially the technology-driven ones. I believe you need to view implementation of these vendors as an investment in your employees and trust that the investment will pay off in the form of increased productivity and presenteeism, as well as potentially lower medical plan costs. Now more than ever, the impact on employees’ mental health is impacting employers. Even by leveraging free or lower cost solutions (or even just by training managers on how to check in with employees or encourage a culture of community), employers may be able to positively impact their workforce during this time.
Cornell Staeger and Aaron Harding: Employees’ financial wellness in times of uncertainty
There is no universally accepted measure of ROI for employee financial well-being because it would be difficult to gain access to data on the many inputs and outcomes that would be required to create one. As a result, our clients each use proxies that are important to their respective organizations when determining the ROI of their financial well-being program. One proxy has been the level of employee financial stress.
We consistently find that when asked what they feel causes them the most stress, more employees cite financial matters than any other life stressor combined. Given that financial stress is such a prevalent issue even in non-pandemic times, it can have a sizable impact on a range of critical business measures like productivity, absenteeism, healthcare costs, employee engagement and turnover.
We also find that the financial wellness programs we implement increase employee utilization of the benefits our clients already offer. For example, when we provide a financial fitness assessment and financial coaching, we’re able to put employer benefit plans into the context of an individual employee’s needs. Employees develop a clear understanding of how to utilize and maximize their existing benefits (retirement plans, HSAs, legal services plans, etc.) as part of their overall financial plan.