TORONTO, Canada — According to Eckler’s recent national survey on financial wellness in the workplace, more than half (54 percent) of employees feel some degree of stress about their finances, and close to one-third (32 percent) would describe it as a high degree of stress.
A large majority of employees (80 percent) want some type of financial education at work.
“The amount of stress Canadians face today is unprecedented. Lack of focus at work, increasing amounts of time spent managing personal finances and increased use of employee benefit plans to manage stress-related illnesses is now commonplace,” said Janice Holman, principal, Eckler Ltd. “As employers continue to look to financial wellness programs as the prescription for mitigating both the personal and workplace impacts of financial stress, designing a program that fits the symptoms and is offered with the right treatment plan is critical to improving outcomes.”
Frank Wiginton, consultant, Eckler Ltd. noted, “As the baby boom generation moves through the workforce, there is a desire for a more personal approach as they get close to retirement. This is a critical time in their lives, and financial decisions can have a significant impact on their retirement lifestyle.”
Survey respondents had strong opinions about who should deliver the financial education. A large majority (84 percent of employers and 90 percent of employees) want their third-party educator to be unbiased, and 85 percent of companies and 84 percent of employees want their education programs to be provided by a third party that is experienced. An equally large majority (more than 80 percent of employers and 74 percent of employees) say third-party accreditation is important.
Wiginton added, “Who delivers the financial education plays an important role in how the messaging is perceived and accepted. If the source of education is not trusted, motivation for employees to take action based on the information provided will be low. Receiving information from an unbiased source was the most highly ranked answer in the survey and is key to employees engaging with the education they receive.”
According to the survey, while a good number of employers are offering financial education programs, progress can be made in three critical areas: making connections between organizational objectives and the impact of employee financial stress, program alignment with employee needs and preferences, program assessment and measurement.
Holman concluded: Almost half of working Canadians admit that stress related to personal finances has had an impact on their performance at work. Providing financial education empowers employees to gain control of their finances and fosters more commitment to the organization.”
The 2019 Eckler Survey on Financial Wellness in the workplace was conducted between February and March 2019 across Canada and was completed by a total of 500 employers and 1,000 employees. The respondents represent a broad cross-section of all major industry sectors and geographies.
With Eckler’s Guided OutcomesTM (GO), employees get the tools and insights they need to set, plan and attain their financial goals. Employers get the analytics they need to make strategic decisions that support employee financial health and achieve organizational objectives.
Eckler is Canada’s largest independent actuarial and consulting firm. Based in Canada and the Caribbean, [we have been] providing solutions and insights to help manage risks and leverage opportunities for more than 90 years.