Mind, Body, and Wallet – The Impact to Employee Well-Being
This research brief from Guardian's 4th Annual Workplace Benefit Study reveals that working Americans' sense of their overall health and well-being is declining. This finding is based on Guardian's new Workforce Well-Being IndexTM (WWBI), which measures consumer attitudes in three core areas: financial wellness, physical wellness, and emotional wellness.
Americans are not feeling so well
The average WWBI is only 3.26 out of 5 — barely a passing grade. What brings the number down is the financial wellness index, which accounts for 40% of the total WWBI score. And scored on its own, financial wellness was the weakest of the three indices, getting only 3.19 out of 5. Working Americans are worried about money — and their concern is growing.
A climate of financial anxiety prevails
American workers feel less confident about achieving their financial goals than they did two years ago. In fact, success self-ratings have worsened by nearly 15%-30% on key measures such as:
- Saving for college education (-27%)
- Replacing income if seriously ill or injured (-24%)
- Saving for retirement (-20%)
- Protecting family with adequate life insurance (-17%)
Financial and health concerns are leading causes of emotional stress
Working Americans cite money as their #1 worry, followed by family health (#3) and personal health (#5). Yet few indicate healthy habits: only 26% eat well; just 26% exercise; and only 10% participate in employee assistance programs (EAPs) designed to help with emotional wellness and work-life balance.
Nevertheless, a higher overall employee well-being index is attainable
Employers are finding that they can achieve better results by taking a more holistic approach to managing workforce well-being, one that includes a strong financial foundation. Opportunities include:
- Supporting financial wellness with a variety of efforts including broad insurance benefit options for more adequate protection, college tuition savings plans, financial education, and benefits enrollment support
- Supporting emotional wellness with EAPs and work-life balance initiatives like tele-commuting, flexible work schedules, and paid family leave
- Supporting physical wellness with incentive programs, on-site medical centers, and return-to-work accommodations
To be effective, these efforts must be supported by clear, consistent communications that raise awareness and encourage employee participation.