Quick look: SMBs know they must offer benefits beyond the traditional 401(k) plan to stay relevant among today’s workforce. Therefore, business leaders are leaning on brokers for ways to expand their portfolios and position them competitively to meet demand. This means offering financial wellness benefits which give equal attention to both money and value.
Companies have long supported 401(k) retirement accounts for employees as part of a comprehensive compensation package. However, employees are facing real-time financial struggles which don’t always leave opportunities to save for the future as they would like. With student loan and credit card debt, rising healthcare costs, and an overall increase in wellness needs (partially due to financial stress), a 401(k) plan alone is not the answer.
According to Betterment at Work’s 2022 Financial Wellness Barometer, 68% of surveyed employees indicate financial wellness benefits are more important to them now than they were a year ago. Therefore, professional employer organization (PEO) brokers are being called upon to expand options for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in new and customized ways. While retirement savings still have importance, this only scratches the surface of what people expect and need when looking for a job. When narrowing down which financial wellness benefits to offer, here’s a good place to get started.
1. 401(k) plans
Traditional financial wellness benefits are still impactful even as new ones emerge and when combined, they can deliver greater value to employees. Data shows 401(k) matching programs topped the list of benefits which would entice employees to leave their existing job in favor of another company. People expect this benefit as a bare minimum and seek out employers who offer a company match. 401(k) plans continue to be the core of what a well-rounded financial wellness benefits package should include and cannot be replaced.
2. Tuition reimbursement
Over the past year, voluntary resignations spiked as workers left their roles in search of better opportunities. Many decided to return to school with advancement goals and/or career changes in mind. As a result, 84% of people name access to tuition assistance as an important factor in their decision to join a company, making it one of the most competitive benefits to offer SMBs.
A tuition reimbursement program highlights the importance of professional development, and in return, strengthens employees’ skills and knowledge. When companies invest in employee growth, job satisfaction goes up and turnover goes down.
3. FSA/HSA plans
Seeking affordable healthcare solutions continues to be a challenge among SMBs and their employees. A flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) are two options PEO brokers can discuss with clients to help their employees save on medical expenses.
To be eligible for a HSA, employees must be part of their company’s high-deductible health plan (HDHP). This incentivizes sign-ups for this benefit versus employees choosing a more comprehensive health insurance plan. Alternatively, a FSA can be a valuable complement to mitigate healthcare costs regardless of what type of insurance plan is offered. Either way, it can serve as a win/win for both employer and employee when it comes to savings.
4. Access to financial training and advisers
Personalized support regarding finances is often an overlooked benefit SMBs value. Most people want to improve their financial situation but aren’t sure where to begin. Money management guidance can support employee efforts in optimizing their finances and promoting their well-being. To feed this growing need, PEO brokers and SMBs can work together to source the right training and/or programs, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
An EAP can provide access to confidential advice and resources to assist with financial struggles, such as creating and maintaining a budget, reducing debt, and investing funds. Meanwhile, lowering the stress accompanying money issues has a direct impact on job satisfaction and can help increase employee focus and productivity at work.
5. Budget and savings tools
Financial education also makes a significant impact on SMBs when it comes to recruiting and retention. There are an endless number of free or low-cost tools and resources available to empower employees. These include budget and savings apps, webinars covering a spectrum of financial topics, and training for how to avoid identity theft and fraud. Making these types of benefits available can steer employees in the right direction and give them the knowledge and confidence to reach their financial goals.
Give SMBs a competitive edge with a PEO partnership
Employee needs are ever-evolving, and brokers must stay agile and proactive to help their clients succeed. Topping the list of workplace demands are solutions to improve financial wellness. Evidence shows financially stressed employees are twice as likely to look for employment elsewhere. Additionally, 73% attribute financial stress as having a severe impact on their productivity at work, and 76% are attracted to competing companies which show they care about employee financial well-being. Thus, ignoring the importance of financial wellness benefits will leave SMBs struggling to recruit and retain employees.
As a PEO broker, helping clients adapt to changing needs is part of what strengthens business relationships long-term. By partnering with ExtensisHR, brokers grant clients access to comprehensive HR services, which include Fortune 500-level benefits such as 401(k) options, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and more. SMB clients also receive the advantage of ExtensisHR’s Work Anywhere® technology platform which includes:
- HRCloud – A proprietary HRIS providing payroll, tax, benefits, and 401(k) information at-a-glance
- Knowledge Cloud – Online platform with on-demand training on a variety of topics including financial wellness
- Employee Solution Center – Dedicated support from a team of HR experts to answer questions and provide guidance regarding benefits, payroll, and more
Through this personalized level of support, technology integration, and hands-on HR administration, it allows SMB leaders to fulfill their business goals and focus on their employees.
Our team of HR experts works with PEO brokers to provide tailored opportunities geared toward success for SMBs. To learn more about personalizing a HR and benefits solution for your clients, contact ExtensisHR today.