If you struggle with talking to your employees about personal issues, you’re not alone. Most organizations can handle peripheral discussions around it, but very few have mastered having tough, personal conversations with employees.
This is most noticeable when it comes to personal finances. We have become accustomed to talking around wellness - things like personal leave programs, life insurance, 401(k)s, resources for mental health - but not addressing directly. For healthcare organizations, it’s quite the paradox: organizations built on bettering the lives of others often struggle to do the same for their own employees.
Make no mistake about it: employee financial stress is hurting your organization. According to our survey of nearly 3,000 US workers, half of healthcare employees report experiencing significant financial stress within the past week. This is highly critical to address because the relationship between empathetic care and attention to patient safety has shown to be negatively impacted by financial hardship.
Clearly, it's in the best interest of both healthcare companies and their employees to put in place solutions that can improve employees' financial wellbeing in a measurable, truly impactful way.
Renown Health launches an impactful financial wellness program
Renown Health had those tough conversations. A healthcare leader in northern Nevada, Renown Health is Reno’s only not-for-profit health system, made up of an entire network of hospitals, urgent care centers, lab services, x-ray and imaging services, primary care doctors, and dozens of medical specialties.
With more than 7,200 employees with diverse backgrounds and needs, Renown wanted to implement a benefits program that could meet them where they are. They decided on a free financial wellbeing program from Salary Finance that featured a salary-linked loan product.
If you’re unfamiliar with salary-linked financial wellness benefits, they enable employees to borrow or save money directly through their paycheck. Salary-linked loans allow employees to access affordable credit that they can easily repay through their salary, helping them pay down existing debt or avoid high-interest credit cards, overdraft fees, or, heaven forbid, payday loans. In Nevada, the typical APR on a payday loan is 652 percent, according to the Center for Responsible Lending. Salary Finance employee loans range from 5.9 to 19.9 annual percentage rate (APR), making them more affordable for employees who might otherwise be forced to turn towards higher-cost debt.
The partnership between Renown and Salary Finance helps improve the financial wellbeing of Renown’s employees by accelerating their journey from debt to savings, and providing them an affordable borrowing option in times of need. It also includes a financial education component, which helps employees understand their current level of financial fitness and access a curriculum of financial content specific to their needs.
Following an implementation of less than four weeks, Salary Finance went live with Renown in November 2019. Since launching, over 40 percent of Renown employees have engaged with the Salary Finance offering, and over 500 have accessed affordable credit through Renown's custom-branded Salary Finance Financial Wellbeing Hub.
Said one employee, “It has made a wonderful impact and has lessened my frequent stress regarding my debt."
Consistent with other Salary Finance employer partners, Renown Health employees took out loans mainly to pay down existing debt, as well as other necessary purposes like paying medical bills, rental deposits, and auto repairs. In total, we estimate that Renown employees have saved nearly $275,000 on interest - and that number continues to grow as more employees take advantage of the benefit.
"This loan came at a time when me and my family really needed it, with bills piling up and Christmas right around the corner,” another Renown employee said. “Salary Finance really saved the day.”
Increasingly, the financial wellness of your employees is your business, because of the ramifications it can have on your organization. Like Renown, you can start by understanding benefits that are available and finding ones that will have a measurable impact on employees’ financial wellbeing.