Building a Healthy Workplace Through a Focus on Financial Health

Nov 22 | 2018

Moolah. Cheddar. Dough.

Money has its own language and it’s not always the easiest to understand. Between stock portfolios and investment accounts, compound interest, and retirement savings, things can get complicated quickly. However, it’s important to cut through the noise and focus on building strong, sustainable and understandable financial health.

Building Financial Health into Your Workplace

It’s been proven that poor financial health has a negative impact on a person’s overall health, and that those with a high level of debt and poor finances report being more stressed out. Employers looking to keep employees healthy will need to look at financial wellness as well as physical and mental wellness.

But how do you know if employees are financially stressed? Unlike physical wellness, which has many methods of determining if someone is in good vs. poor health, financial wellness is more difficult to measure. It’s also a daunting topic for many, and with the stigma in workplaces and homes about discussing finances, it’s a difficult subject to address.

Here are a few ideas to get the conversations going:

#1. Build Up Savings (And Consider Matching RRSP Contributions)

We’ll admit, this seems like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning as upwards of 90% of Canadians don’t have a formal plan to reach their retirement savings goal. Educating employees on the importance of saving for retirement is powerful, and encouraging them to do so through matching Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions incentivizes them to do it.

For example, BBD employees contributing to a Group Retirement Savings Plan (GRSP) will receive matching employer contributions (up to 3% of their salary). That’s free money for setting aside just a small percentage of income, and who’s going to turn down free money?

#2. Get to Know Your Benefits (And Be Sure Your Employees Do Too!)

Knowing what’s covered and utilizing their plan appropriately, employees can avoid paying out-of-pocket for covered expenses.

Employees with multiple benefits plans should be encouraged to keep an eye out for overlapping coverage. Examine each plan closely and decide if scaling one back a bit is in order. Depending on the workplace and plan, you can opt in and out of certain coverage if it’s covered elsewhere and avoid doubling up!

#3. Utilize Additional Benefits and Perks

Every little bit helps when it comes to finances. At Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc., we noticed that our employees had a variety of hobbies and interests, outside of work, that we wanted to encourage. We offer a Health and Wellness subsidy and Hobby subsidy as part of our Total Rewards Program that employees can use towards purchases for their interests, whether that be a gym membership or art supplies.

Employers offering an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) are able to provide their employees with even more assistance for their financial wellness! EAPs like Arete® HR Inc.’s Arive® offer telephone counselling for financial struggles, including personal money management, budgeting, and debt reduction, and are a great resource for employees looking to improve their financial health.

Take Time to Reflect

When it comes to the the topic of financial wellness, how does it make you feel? Anxious? Proud? Unsure? Having a healthy emotional relationship with your finances is a great place to start. Reflect on where your finances are at right now, and then think about what your goals are and develop a plan to get there.

Not sure where to start? Try the Government of Canada’s Retirement Income Calculator!

Try the Calculator