Monday, June 17, 2024

Study: Pinoy workers seeking financial wellness, benefits from employers

Even for Filipino employees earning an income, attaining financial wellbeing or the state of being able to meet ongoing financial obligations, reach financial goals, and secure future financial stability seems unreachable. In fact, according to a recently released study, most Filipino workers want their employer’s help managing their money.

Last May 3, microlending fintech company Plentina released a survey on Filipinos’ financial wellbeing in the workplace that shows nine out ten Filipinos expect their employers to provide them with financial benefits as part of their company’s rewards and compensation.

“We are very excited to share these findings as this is one of the few surveys done in our country that tackles this particular issue and our hope is that we get to empower employees, employers, and corporations to focus on this very important aspect that impacts employees’ lives and wellbeing,” said Kat Valencia, Plentina customer retention head, during the study’s online launch.

Plentina’s study revealed that finances are Filipino employees’ biggest stressor. The top drivers of Filipino’s financial worries are unexpected expenses due to medical or repair needs, paying debt or needing to resort to debt for daily necessities, and inadequate savings. 

Notably, the study highlighted that employees perceived their employers as one of the most accessible resources for financial education and services to alleviate these stresses.

From their employers, Filipinos are hoping to hone skills such as budgeting, managing bills, and spending responsibly. They also are requesting guidance on how to build emergency savings, plan for the long-term, and start making investments.

Besides education, the study reported that Filipinos also want their employers to provide them with solutions for low-cost loans that can be paid automatically via their payroll, emergency savings accounts with employer matching, retirement plans, and stock market investing.

While these employee expectations seem like a tall order for employers — financial wellness programs require a large investment and on top of this cost, most employers don’t know how to begin implementing such programs — Plentina pointed out that boosting employees’ financial wellbeing could also benefit employers.

Eight out of ten employees surveyed in the study confessed that their financial woes were impacting their work performance, with the admitted consequences ranging from low productivity, poor quality of work, and in the worst cases, tardiness and absenteeism. So, by addressing employees’ financial stress, employers can potentially improve their employees’ productivity and overall success.

Moreover, offering financial wellness education and services may not only increase employee productivity, the study found that it may also improve employee loyalty and retention. 89% of the study’s respondents recorded that they will likely stay in a company if financial benefits were provided.

“Employers have a vested interest in the financial stability of their employees…When employees feel supported by their employers, they’re more likely to feel motivated to do their best work and remain committed to their role and the company,” Valencia asserted.

“Prioritizing employee financial wellness isn’t just the right thing to do; it makes good business sense too,” she added.

To get companies started, Plentina recommended a few ways employers could begin incorporating financial wellness into their company benefits. These methods cover offering investing or retirement plans, flexible spending accounts deductible from their employees payroll, and emergency savings accounts.

Other initiatives that can contribute to employees’ financial wellness include conducting a financial wellness survey to assess employee needs, offering financial education and resources, providing access to financial education and coaching services, as well as creating a culture of transparency and openness around personal finance so employees will be encouraged to obtain support for their financial challenges.

Related to the last initiative, Plentina cofounder and chief business officer Earl Valencia commented that despite the fact that most Filipinos find discussing their personal money challenges difficult, “[Filipinos] trust their employers… Most employees are asking that employers help them.”

Plentina’s study was conducted in March 2023 and it involved sending an online survey to 1,600 Filipino employees from Metro Manila and Region IV-A.

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