Many workers face financial challenges. Some are living paycheck to paycheck. Others are trying to buy houses, send their kids to college or save for retirement. Still others are managing credit card debt accumulated during the recession or paying off medical expenses.

Changing the workforce

Anxiety over finances is a growing source of stress among employees. The majority of human resource professionals across the U.S. say that personal financial challenges impact employees’ performance at work. As a result of this stress, some workers are unable to focus on work, while others are tardy or absent.

"By providing money management strategies, employers are expanding the definition of a healthy work-life strategy to include financial health."

With HR professionals saying that many employees are facing more personal financial challenges than early in the recession, employee well-being must include financial wellness.

Relevant benefits

To contribute to the well-being of employees, more than one-half of employers now offer financial education in the workplace. According to a recent survey, 79 percent of these employers offer retirement planning and 56 percent provide financial investment planning.

Workers of the baby boom generation are most interested in retirement planning, while Generation X and millennial employees want investment planning. Effective organizations determine what topics are of most interest to their employees—and why—and tailor workplace programs to appeal to different age groups. These organizations also encourage their employees to participate in financial education programs, sometimes with incentives and other times through competitions.

Creating financial health

Some organizations encourage employers to meet the challenges of the changing demographics of today’s workforce by offering general budgeting advice and health care cost planning as ways to help employees deal with student loans and medical expenses.

By providing money management strategies, employers are expanding the definition of a healthy work-life strategy to include financial health.

Financial fitness is within reach for workers when they:

  • Understand what benefits an employer provides and take advantage of those that make sense for them
  • Participate in employer-sponsored financial education classes, webinars and programs
  • Contribute the maximum to a 401(k) to take full advantage of an employer’s matching contribution
  • Use their vacation time; taking a vacation allows workers to relax and put things into perspective

Know that the HR department can provide tools that are useful as you work on your financial goals. An HR department offers education not only about what benefits are available to employees but also about how those benefits can positively impact them and their financial future.