The Joseph Group

Financial Wellness as a Benefit

March 13, 2024

We have likely heard the latest phrase in the news “forever labor shortage” or perhaps you are even experiencing this right now in a hiring process. To some, it certainly feels like the economy is humming along and creating jobs, but finding the right candidate to fill a role is becoming increasingly difficult. To others, it may feel like it’s a time to hunker down and focus on keeping the employees you can and protecting the business. However you are experiencing the current job market, the focus on attracting and retaining talent seems to be shifting towards a top priority.

So, what are companies doing to stand out in the crowd in this regard? What are employees looking for in a future employer if they’re going to take the leap and leave their current place of employment? Charles Schwab recently released a survey showing the list of things an employee “must have” in terms of benefits in order to consider accepting a position. Below are the top 5 results of that survey.

  • Health Insurance: 90%
  • 401(k) Plan: 88%
  • Life Insurance: 46%
  • Disability Insurance: 43%
  • Flexible Work Hours/Location: 41%

In other words, 9 out of 10 prospective employees won’t entertain an offer without Health Insurance or a 401(k) Plan. Meanwhile, 5/10 would consider the role with or without life insurance. The list goes on but seeing the 401(k) so high in terms of priority is a relatively recent development. Deep down, this seems to address two very basic things employees want/need. They want to keep living (preferably healthy) and eventually stop working.  No one wants the below conversation.

As Retirement Plan Consultants, we’ll focus on the retirement plan side of the equation. What are things that employers can do to stand out among the crowd? We see three key approaches to evaluate and/or enhance your retirement plan that would make tangible changes in the company’s ability to attract and retain top industry talent.

  1. Making plan changes that match or exceed the top tier competitors in your space. This requires some research and knowledge of both your industry and competitors, something The Joseph Group can help you navigate.
  2. Paying all or certain 401(k) fees on behalf of your employees. This looks different for every company and depends on the flexibility of your providers. A fee benchmarking is a critical first step to making sure your plan’s fees are reasonable for services provided. This is something we can assist with at no cost.
  3. Including or introducing a wellness program that covers physical health and wellness, as well as financial wellness.

As we’ve discussed the first two options previously, let’s focus on the Financial Wellness aspect of the equation. We’ve seen a lot of recent success particularly with introducing a holistic wellness program that includes financial wellness as it pertains to recruiting new employees. There are numerous reasons this is a good idea, but if you look at just overall employee health it makes sense. When employees are confident in their financial situation, they tend to have less stress. When stress is reduced, people typically have lower blood pressure, better heart health, better sleep habits and more energy. Now, if you can provide resources for your employees that encourage them to participate in their own financial wellness then over time, your team will start exhibiting healthy financial habits. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon.

One of the amplifiers of this program is if you have a wellness program where employees can “earn points” by doing various healthy activities such as walking, having a wellness exam, etc. If that is a current part of your benefit, then why shouldn’t employees also get points for attending a seminar on financial wellness and/or having a one-on-one meeting with someone who can help them with their overall finances. These two aspects of wellness pair together perfectly to encourage your team to live great lives.

This is a bit of a shift we have seen lately, especially in small to medium sized businesses. We have internally started to refer to companies getting ahead of this shift as Destination Employers. Which means these are companies that prospective employees are seeking out and applying for at higher clips with the intention of being hired and never looking back.

Whether you think now is a good time to rethink your Company’s 401(k) plan design, need to benchmark your plan’s fees, or even want to talk about ways to launch a holistic wellness program, we’re here to help. We’ve been a part of many wellness programs over the years and are happy to help you build a program that best suits your team.





Written by Matt Kruckenberg, Manager of Retirement Plan Services. Matt can be reached at 614-907-8639 or matt.kruckenberg@josephgroup.com