Fast Company

by Gwen Moran / June 2, 2015

Some employee benefits pay off for employers, too. Here are some that deliver for the company while making employees’ lives better.

Calculating the exact return on investment for specific employee benefits can be tricky. After all, it’s tough to know whether that weekly yoga class had an actual impact on morale or if shifting the work day a couple of hours had a measurable impact on productivity.

But the bigger-picture numbers are sobering. The American Institute of Stress pegs the business cost of employee stress in the U.S. at $300 billion annually. The cost of replacing an employee who left ranges from one-fifth to more than one-and-a-half times the employee’s salary, depending on various factors.

Employees who are stressed out and distracted about money and retirement savings aren’t the most productive. According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2014 Employee Benefits report, relatively few companies offer financial advice online (19%), in person (17%), or in group or classroom settings (14%). But they should consider it, says Ken Matos, senior director of research at New York City-based Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to work-life-balance research and initiatives.

A 2015 study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business found that one-off sessions may have little benefit, but long-term access to financial education and follow-up can have a significant impact. Workers who received financial education when they were 40, along with regular follow-ups, increased wealth in retirement by 10%.

Matos says it’s important to make these sessions positive and not make it seem like the employees can’t handle their money. If that’s the case, the stigma will keep them way, he ways.

Overall, relieving stress and making work and life integrate better is an important consideration when providing benefits, Matos says. Think about the challenges that your employees are facing, and help solve them.
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