Employee Financial Stress is Real. Here's How to Help.

For employees facing money worries, financial wellness programs can help them feel more confident about their futures.

Jane has been losing sleep. Although she works for a midsized firm and is well paid, money worries have been taking a toll. The rising cost of living, concerns about job stability and stock market volatility are all affecting her financial well-being, impacting her mental health, her self-esteem and her relationships at home.


Sound familiar? You might have picked up on similar concerns among your employees, whose worries about their financial security, savings and retirement plans have been mounting in recent years. Nearly 3 in 4 employees (71%) say that financial stress negatively affects both their work and personal lives, according to the second annual State of the Workplace study conducted by Morgan Stanley at Work.1  Their challenges span the gamut, from difficulty paying off debt to concerns about facing a financial crisis to mounting needs to draw on their emergency savings and struggles managing their money.1


In response to these concerns, 62% of employees have reduced contributions to their short- and long-term savings, with 401(k) plans taking the biggest hit (31%).1 Overall, respondents cited a need for help to understand how to maximize their workplace financial benefits, and feel their employers should be more involved in helping them navigate their financial troubles.

How Employers Can Help Employees Manage Financial Stress

While most HR leaders (83%) say they already deliver quality financial benefits, 4 in 5 admit that employees have requested support that their companies do not offer. There also appears to be a disconnect between the benefits employees want and the benefits HR leaders believe they want.


For instance, according to the Morgan Stanley at Work study, 52% of employees want access to a financial advisor. However, only 40% of HR leaders have prioritized access to a financial advisor.1


To close this gap, employers may want to offer new workplace financial tools, such as free access to a financial planning app or website, tools to help with investments, emergency savings with an employer match or even employer contributions toward student loan repayments.  Plus, employers can offer these resources online and make them available remotely.

Most Wanted Financial Wellness Benefits:

Why Employee Financial Wellness Matters

With 87% of HR leaders expressing concern over employees leaving due to unmet needs,1 the call to reassess workplace financial benefits is growing stronger. In fact, 93% of U.S. employees identify retirement planning resources as a priority when choosing where to work.1 This presents organizations with a clear opportunity to help reduce employee financial stress and improve well-being and satisfaction by enhancing their workplace financial wellness programs.


But simply offering holistic employee financial wellness benefits isn’t always enough; these benefits need to be clearly communicated and easy for employees to understand. Without ongoing education, vital resources may be underutilized and underappreciated. 

For benefits teams, easily accessible reporting and metrics can highlight which resources and tools employees are using, as well as where there are opportunities to increase engagement, thereby helping the team focus on where to apply their best efforts.


For your workers, accept that the impact of employee financial stress on productivity and job satisfaction is real. The good news is there are solutions that can help provide relief and boost confidence. By offering a one-stop suite of employee financial wellness solutions, your organization can set itself apart in the marketplace, provide the help people need right now and continue to attract and retain great talent for the long term. 

Related Stories

Discover more unique perspectives to motivate your employees and fuel your business.