Employee stress about money, particularly among Millennials, is on the rise. This strains companies too because it often leads to distraction, lost productivity and staff turnover. According to a Society for Human Resource Management survey, 83% of HR professionals say financial stress in employees negatively impacts work performance.
Effectively addressing these stresses through financial wellness programs can help reverse the trend. A 2014 report by the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that every dollar spent on employee financial wellness brings a return on investment of three dollars.
But to be successful, these programs require going beyond introducing new or improved benefits, such as matching pension contributions, profit sharing, and maternity and paternity leave. Crucially, any wellness program must identify, understand and address employees’ particular financial challenges.
Employers must recognize that one size does not fit all, and different generations have very different concerns. Perhaps the most specific worries about financial security are carried by Millennials.
The Millennial challenge
Higher education tuition and fees in the US have surged over the past three decades, especially since 2000, according to 2015 data from the College Board.
According to The Institute for College Access & Success, nearly seven in 10 seniors from public or nonprofit US universities graduated with student debt — totaling a staggering $28,950 per student on average. The cost of attending university is also on the rise in other countries, such as the UK, where fees have gone from zero in 2010 to £9,000 a year currently.