“Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”- Anne M. Mulcahy former Xerox CEO and board member of Johnson & Johnson, Target Corporation.
You won't find it in many mission statements but, being profitable is, of course, at the foundation of a company's purpose. And, to be profitable, one must have satisfied employees that are motivated to consistently do the things that lead to success for a company. To attract, motivate, and retain these types of employees, it's pertinent that a company have the right culture and adequate benefits in place.
To understand how to tailor your benefits to attract the top talent, let's first look at the possible financial pain points of an employee and secondly examine what an employee expects from an employer.With wages rising at a percentage just a tick above inflation and substantially lower than the rate of student loan growth, employees-especially of the Millennial and X generations- are being forced to make increasingly tougher financial decisions just to make ends meet at the end of the month. Having to make a choice between contributing to their 401(k) vs. paying down student loan debt or paying for medical insurance vs. saving for their first home are the real life options being weighed by millions of cash-strapped Americans each paycheck. Although a company cannot simply give each employee a raise in salary, two steps can be taken administratively to help current employees better deal with their finances along with enticing prospective employees to choose your company over another one.
- Give employees options: With 55% of Millennials stating that they prefer to pay off their student loan debt vs. contribute to their health care benefits, it's apparent that employees covet options in the workplace. It makes sense for both the employee and the employer to have available a choice to pay down debt instead of contributing to health care each month when the average worker between 18-34 only visits the doctor .5 times a year. No matter how well conceived a company's benefits package is, if the benefits are not adequately helping the employees they intend to, they become less valuable and less attractive to current and potential employees. A flexible outlook to benefits is one that directly empowers employees to make the decisions in their lives that are best for them and their families.
- Financial education: With the negative impact of financial stress on employee performance in mind (e.g., absenteeism, workplace turnover), it makes sense to offer education to employees on everything from how to deal with their finances to managing the stress that may arise from making ends meet. According to a SHRM survey on financial wellness in the workplace, 72% of HR professionals- who indicated their organization provides financial education- reported that "their education initiative has been somewhat or very effective in improving their employees’ financial wellness." In many cases, we find that employees have financial questions that go beyond the scope of what an HR professional can answer for them. In these cases, absent a financial advisor, financial education provides the most value. A financially-literate employee is less likely to be stressed at work about finances and more likely to be productive and maintain a positive attitude for the company.
A flexible benefits package that gives employees the power to choose and control their finances along with the education to make sound decisions are keys to an empowered and satisfied employee that lead to satisfied customers and ultimately profitability.