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.

Download the study



Source for all statistics cited is The Guardian Workplace Benefits Studysm: Fourth Annual, 2016