The Society for Human Resource Management
Can You Attract Talent with Financial Well-Being Benefits?

Can You Attract Talent with Financial Well-Being Benefits?

Sept. 14, 2021
“Employees who have greater control over their personal finances are more productive and engaged,” said Krystal Barker, head of Financial Wellness for Morgan Stanley at Work.

I will be the first to admit, that prior to reading this new survey from SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management) and Morgan Stanley at Work, I did not know that there was a term called financial well-being. 

 While the competition for talent is fierce and wages always play a role, the fact that employers need to offer financial benefits to both retain and attract talent is new to me.

 “Our research shows a massive gulf between the financial well-being of working and unemployed Americans. But even amongst those who are working, there is a significant divide,” said SHRM Chief Knowledge Officer Alex Alonso, at a conference held last week. “Women continue to bear a heavier financial burden during this ‘she-cession’ and people at various stages of their careers are experiencing the impacts differently. These nuances are important for employers to understand so they can proactively implement changes that will boost employee retention and attraction.”

Key gender findings from the new research include:

  • While 61% of working Americans rate their financial well-being as excellent or good, men are more likely (69%) than women (52%) to do so.
  • Working women are more likely than their male counterparts to indicate their financial health has suffered due to COVID-19 (35% vs. 23%).
  • While 31% of working Americans indicate that their finances have caused them anxiety since the beginning of the pandemic, working women (40%) are more likely to say so versus their male counterparts (23%).
  • Unemployed men (45%) are more likely to rate their financial well-being as excellent or good compared to unemployed women (27%).
  • Unemployed women (68%) are more likely to indicate that their financial health has suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to unemployed men (55%).

Key generational findings from the new research include:

  • Unemployed Boomers (85%) are most likely to report a decline in financial health since COVID-19 began as compared to younger generations.
  • Employed Gen Z (65%) indicate that the personalization of financial education is important to them. 
  • Unemployed Gen X (67%) indicate that the personalization of financial coaching is important to them.
  • Unemployed Millennials (76%) and Gen X (72%) indicate that the personalization of financial planning is important to them.

 In addition, working Americans who are Black (63%), Hispanic or Latin (61%) or other races and ethnicities (65%) are more likely to indicate that the personalization of financial coaching is important to them as compared to working Americans who are White (48%).

Like emotional well-being, “financial well-being is not only good for an employee’s peace of mind but it also can help drive bottom-line results,” said Krystal Barker, head of Financial Wellness for Morgan Stanley at Work. “Employees who have greater control over their personal finances are more productive and engaged.”

The report suggests tapping into Employee Resource Groups to determine the needs and then tailor benefit programs.

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