Workplace financial wellness programs help reduce employee stress and increase productivity

GO with Eckler

Engaging insights about financial wellness in the workplace.

Welcome to the first edition of GO with Eckler, a quarterly newsletter to help employers and plan sponsors support financial wellness for their employees and plan members.

Money still a main cause of stress for Canadians

Employee financial wellness continues to be an area of focus for leading employers and plan sponsors. According to the 2021 FP Canada™ Canadian Financial Stress Index, money continues to rank as the main cause of stress for Canadians – even during an ongoing public health crisis. Unfortunately, Canadians who are employed in those sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic have been disproportionally impacted are continuing to recover from job loss, reduced hours or lost overtime.

A young Hispanic couple are sitting at the kitchen counter reviewing their finances. The woman is clearly stressed by their financial situation. Even as the economy recovers, many continue to get by on less, putting enormous strain on their families. Employers and plan sponsors will need to support these workers to relieve the level of financial stress that they’re feeling. An employee distracted by financial stress is one who is not performing at his or her fullest. It’s in an employer’s best interest to provide holistic workplace financial wellness programs that can help to reduce this stress and return to peak productivity.

On the flip side of the pandemic, for those Canadians fortunate enough to work remotely, spending less on commuting to the office, eating out less often and spending less on clothes has helped to bolster their savings and decrease their debt. Despite being better off financially, however, the need for financial wellness support remains crucial. They will need help in assessing their financial well-being and understanding how to translate their financial position into resilience against future disruption. Those that find themselves with additional cash may consider investing. Understanding and managing multiple financial assets and obligations is a complex and daunting task that can lead to significant stress.

The good news is employers and plan sponsors are well-positioned to play an important role

While the pandemic caused significant economic turmoil around the world, in Canada, as in many other nations, the economy also continues to adjust to the major macro-economic forces of an aging population. Unfortunately, for many Canadians planning their transition to the next phase of life, they rely on the expertise of a financial services industry where incentives may be misaligned with their best interests. Having largely set up an economic model based on gathering and growing assets, the industry is now forced to pivot to meet the needs of Canadians focused on decumulation and generating lifetime income. The good news is employers and plan sponsors are well-positioned to play an important role in working with plan administrators to provide cost-effective decumulation options and with financial wellness providers to provide independent, objective and personalized education and guidance.

Against this backdrop, with a clear and pressing need for workplace financial wellness, we are excited to launch our quarterly newsletter, GO with Eckler. Having worked with leading organizations and some of the largest pension plans in the country, the newsletter will draw on our knowledge and experience as financial wellness providers. Readers can look forward to case studies to learn how organizations in their industry or sector have designed and implemented programs to meet their objectives and complement their existing employee benefits and workplace culture. We’ll share insights from our internal research and engagement metrics. We’ll also comment on new and topical developments in financial wellness and the financial services industry at large, such as the ongoing work among provincial governments to regulate the title of financial planner. We look forward to covering these topics and much more – we hope that you’ll join us!

For our inaugural issue of GO with Eckler, we share an article that highlights the difficult condition of the long-term care system in Canada. It offers insights on how Canadians can plan ahead and prepare for their own future care needs or that of an aging or elderly loved one.