One of the most effective ways to keep your business profitable is to help your workers be as productive as possible. After all, employees who work hard and efficiently are the key to selling more products and services. When you have highly productive workers, you get a good financial return on the salaries and benefits you invest in them.
But keeping employees productive is about more than giving them clear job descriptions and encouraging them to use timesaving work techniques. Productive employees also show up consistently and on time, stay focused on their key tasks, and actually care about doing good work.
One of the best ways to build a productive workforce: Expand the financially related benefits you offer your workers. Why financial benefits, specifically? Studies show that money-related worries significantly distract employees from doing their best work and even increase their chances of calling in sick.
For instance, a 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that nearly half of employees who worry about personal financial issues miss work to deal with them. These workers also report that they’re less productive while at work and that they regularly use about three hours of work time each week dealing with money-related issues.
To help reduce your employees’ financial stress and bring their attention back to their jobs, consider offering these kinds of financial benefits:
This can be the umbrella term for all of a company’s financial benefits. However, some companies make a direct link between physical and fiscal wellness, says the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). These employers do so by offering health insurance premium discounts to employees who take financial wellness assessments or enroll in certain financial wellness programs.
Student loan repayment
Time calls helping workers pay off their student loans “one of the hottest employee benefits.” Also, about four out of five young workers in an American Student Assistance survey say they would commit to staying with an employer for five years in exchange for help paying off their student loans. You can work with professional providers, such as Gradifi, to offer this benefit.
Paying for employees to attend college or technical training can be a significant way to attract and keep your most productive workers, according to SHRM. For example, the health services company Cigna found that for every $1 they invested in reimbursing employees for tuition costs, they saved $1.29 in talent-search costs. How: the company saw less employee turnover among employees who took advantage of the tuition-reimbursement program. Those employees were also more likely to be promoted within the company.
Kids’ college savings
Employees aren’t just worried about their own student loans: they’re also nervous about their kids’ upcoming college costs. According to a recent Gallup poll of workers who have kids under age 18, affording college for their children is their number-one financial worry. A solution: contribute to a 529 college savings plan your workers set up for their kids, such as Gradifi’s College SaveUp. By doing so, you may discourage your best workers from diluting their work energy with second jobs or side gigs.
Short-term loans and accrued wage advances
These benefits can help employees deal with financial challenges by making short-term credit or cash available through your workplace. This kind of program can help prevent workers from turning to predatory “payday” lenders. Those companies tend to charge high fees and interest rates, and may add to employees’ financial stress and distraction.
This benefit could include one-on-one counseling with trained professionals or online education about issues such as budgeting, paying off debt, building an emergency savings fund, and maintaining good credit. Your company’s benefits providers—or local banks and investment organizations—may offer free or low-cost programs.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
These financial programs help employees make better use of their money (with tax breaks, employer matches and more). By reducing their health and dependent care costs, employees may then have more money available to put toward other goals, such as paying off student loans or saving to buy a house. In turn, workers may be better able to focus on work rather than on ways to resolve money challenges.
Your employees’ productivity is a key factor in building a successful business. By adding one or more of these often low-cost financial benefits, you can increase your chances of keeping your workers’ attention where it belongs: on doing top-quality work.