Four workplace programs to improve your employees' lives and your finances

By Sue Griffith, SVP, Human Resources

Approximately 80 percent of CEOs surveyed stated that they believed in the 21st century, success for a business will be defined by more than financial profit.

You know when it comes to business, the bottom line is important. However, in a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, approximately 80 percent of CEOs surveyed stated that they believed in the 21st century, success for a business will be defined by more than financial profit. Many CEOs believe that a successful business will be a purpose-driven organization that enriches the lives of its employees beyond money alone.

Here are several programs you can institute within your workplace that can improve the lives of your employees as well as your company’s finances.

1. Fitness Reimbursement
Pay a percentage of any gym or health club membership your employees sign up for. Even a relatively small reimbursement, $20 a month, has been shown to increase participation in exercise programs drastically per consulting firm Healthy Contributions.

How it benefits your employees: Employees will love that you’re looking out for their health and taking steps to invest in their well-being.

How it benefits your bottom line: Happier, healthier employees are more productive and miss less time at work. In a study by the Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, researchers showed that 70 percent of the cost of poor employee health stems from productivity loss from said poor health conditions. Taking preventative steps like encouraging exercise can help ease this financial burden.

2. Financial Wellness Programs
Programs within the workplace that teach employees effective ways to budget, and invest their money. A recent Aon Hewitt survey showed that 77 percent of midsize to large employers plan to offer a financial wellness program by the end of 2016.

How it benefits your employees: A financial wellness program teaches your employees how to spend their money more frugally and make more money through savvy investing.

How it benefits your bottom line: According to a study by Willis Towers Watson, financial stress can lead to “presenteeism” in which you are at work but not fully functional because of stress. Employees with less money stress are better at their jobs and better for your business.

One Fortune 500 company studied by BenefitsPro saw a 21.57 percent savings in healthcare premiums among heavy users of their financial wellness program.

3. Paid Parental Leave
When an employee has a baby, they are paid their regular salary while they are on leave recovering and caring for that child. This can prevent turnover. Losing an employee can cost an employer 16 percent to 213 percent of that employee’s salary according to the Center for American Progress.

How it benefits your employees: The employee has more time to spend with their new family member and less worry about money.

How it benefits your bottom line: Paid parental leave can help you keep key employees. Per the National Partnership for Women and Families new mothers who take paid leave are more likely than mothers who don’t take leave to be working 9 to 12 months after giving birth and are more likely to be working for the same employer.

An employee stock ownership plan allows employees to invest in the stock of their employers.

How it benefits your employees: If your company is successful, employees’ stock will rise in value enriching them as well as your business.

How it benefits your bottom line: Employees who feel they have a real stake in the success of your business will work harder and contribute more to your business. A study by Rutgers University showed that ESOPs improve sales over time by an average of between 2.3 percent and 2.4 percent per year over what would be expected from a non-ESOP organization. 

Not every solution is right for every business, but one or a combination of these programs could lead to happier employees and potentially a more profitable business.