The intersection of money, stress, and productivity.

HR Technologist | Rhucha Kulkarni | Financial Wellness is Key to Employee Productivity

employee health financial wellness financial health

HR leaders are constantly debating the best means to get the best out of their talent. Be it driving employee productivity or engaging and retaining employees for the long term, a number of best practices are being laid out in all walks of HR. An arena that is gaining much attention these days is that of employee wellness.

Considered to be a critical benefit that can have a distinct positive impact, employee wellness is generally thought of in terms of physical wellness, emotional / mental wellness, financial wellness and spiritual wellness. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conference also saw much attention being focused on the financial wellness domain, because finances are often a leading stressor for most employees.

Here are key excerpts and thoughts from the conclave that are sure to outline the future of financial wellness:

A holistic approach works well

Only catering to financial wellness is not the ideal solution. Each of the above mentioned four elements are interrelated. For example, financial stress may lead to mental stress, and can manifest as physical symptoms. Organizations must therefore refrain from catering to only one element, and consider employee well being as a holistic employee benefit.

Financial stress kills productivity

Bank of America recently conducted a survey on financial well being, and found that a whopping 56% of employees feel stressed about their financial situation. More worrying is the fact that 50% of these felt that financial stressors were affecting their productivity at work. A financially stressed employee is thus, a liability to an employer, and employers must do their best to alleviate the stress levels of their people, their most important assets. It is high time that HR not view financial wellness initiatives as an optional benefit, but must make it an integral part of the employee value proposition.

Evolve as per needs

Every employee’s financial needs are unique, and changing as per changing times. The employee financial wellness program that you have put in place must evolve too, to meet future needs. Personalized guidance and advice related to making savings, planning for retirement, buying a home and other personal milestones can go a long way in building financial confidence in people. Another important aspect in the program design is to make it scalable, to be able to cater to growing needs as the company grows in size. In short, a commitment to wellness is not a one-time affair, but an ever-evolving process.

Include current benefit offerings

Financial wellness cannot be treated as a standalone intervention, it must be integrated into the rewards process. Include all of your company’s benefits offerings in the plan, this will give the employee a holistic view of what to expect and avail of. Designing the financial wellness program in accordance with other HR areas such as engagement, rewards, recognitions, etc. is a more effective way of ensuring impact.

Track engagement

A wellness program must be able to engage and empower employees, and hence it is important to measure its impact on how well employees are retained and engaged. The engagement assessment process / survey should include questions and / or discussions around financial stress. This will help HR leaders showcase the ROI of the wellness program, and get the required leadership buy-in to take these programs through to completion and sustenance.


Investing in the wellbeing of employees is fast catching on. SHRM found that more than 70% of organizations offer some type of employee wellness program. The key to its success, is not just the number of people being included in these program, but whether their unique needs are being met in the way they truly need.