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55 Best Employee Financial Wellness Benefits

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10 Things Candidates Are Looking for From Employers

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Last Update: June 3, 2024

The war for talent is raging. In today's competitive job market, HR departments and benefits managers constantly seek ways to attract and retain top performers. It's no longer just about a paycheck. Employees want a comprehensive work experience that fosters growth, financial well-being, and a sense of purpose.

Attracting and retaining top performers requires a strategic approach in this competitive talent market. Understanding what truly matters to candidates is key to building a strong employer brand and securing the best minds for your organization.

This article examines the top 10 things candidates seek from their employers in 2024. The modern workforce has a new set of priorities. While competitive salaries and traditional benefits remain important, attracting and retaining top talent requires a deeper understanding of what truly matters to today's job seekers.

We'll explore a wide range of factors, from company culture and work-life balance to career development opportunities and a sense of belonging.

By understanding these key motivators, you can tailor your recruitment strategies and employee value proposition (EVP) to resonate with the modern workforce. 

#1: Financial Wellness

Financial stress is a pervasive issue impacting employees across all demographics. Student loan debt, rising living costs, and an uncertain economic future all weigh heavily on their minds. 

Studies consistently show a strong correlation between financial stress and decreased productivity, higher absenteeism, and increased employee turnover. On the other hand, financially secure employees are more engaged, focused, and loyal to their employers.

#2: Student Loan Repayment Assistance

Student loan debt is a major financial burden for millions of Americans. According to the Education Data Initiative, the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States has surpassed $1.7 trillion.1 This enormous debt load can significantly impact career choices, delay homeownership, and postpone important life milestones.

#3: Competitive Retirement Benefits

Many job seekers prioritize a comfortable retirement, making a robust retirement plan a crucial factor in attracting and retaining employees focused on their long-term financial security. 

As an employer, you can enhance your retirement offerings by implementing strategies such as: 

  • Matching contributions
  • Automatic enrollment
  • Financial planning resources

Matching contributions refers to matching a portion of employee contributions to a 401(k) plan. It is a standard benefit that shows your commitment to helping employees save for retirement. 

Automatic enrollment involves enrolling employees in a retirement plan with a pre-determined contribution rate, which ensures they start saving early, even if they don't actively participate initially. This 'opt-out' approach encourages participation while allowing employees to adjust their contribution levels as needed. 

#4: Financial Stress Reduction Initiatives

When employees experience financial stress, it can harm their well-being and productivity. To help alleviate this stress, it's important to provide benefits and resources that can help reduce financial anxiety. 

Here are some options to consider:

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Many EAPs offer access to counselors or financial advisors who can help employees manage stress related to debt, budgeting, and other financial concerns.
  • Financial wellness workshops: Workshops focused on stress management, mindfulness techniques, and strategies for work-life balance can help employees cope with financial anxieties.
  • Flexible work arrangements: Providing flexible work schedules, remote work options, or compressed workweeks can give employees more control over their time, which can reduce stress and improve work-life balance.

#5: Thriving Culture

It's becoming increasingly common for job seekers to prioritize company culture when searching for new job opportunities. In today's workforce, employees want workplaces that cultivate a sense of belonging, respect, and ethical conduct.

An important aspect of a thriving company culture is creating a respectful environment where employees feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions. Foster a work environment free from discrimination, harassment, or bullying. 

Open communication and a culture of psychological safety are essential in building a work environment where employees feel welcome and supported.

Employees respect leaders who act with integrity and make decisions based on strong moral principles. Ethical leadership fosters trust and transparency, creating a positive work environment where employees feel empowered and motivated.

#6: Remote Work Option

The traditional nine-to-five workday is changing as more people seek remote opportunities for better work-life balance and increased flexibility. Offering remote work can benefit your organization in several ways. 

First, it enables you to attract top talent regardless of location, widening your talent pool. Studies have shown that remote employees can be just as productive, if not more so, than their office-based counterparts.2 And by eliminating the overhead associated with office space for some employees, you can also reduce costs. 

However, clear communication and collaboration strategies are crucial to ensure seamless information sharing and teamwork despite the physical distance. You must invest in the necessary technology and tools to enable effective remote work. 

You also need to establish clear goals and objectives for remote employees to ensure effective perfrmance management practices. 

#7: Charting Career Growth

Many job seekers are motivated by the prospect of career advancement. They want to know that they will have opportunities to learn, grow, and develop new skills within their roles. 

One way to foster career growth is through mentorship programs, where new employees are connected with experienced mentors who can provide guidance and support. 

Another way is offering professional development opportunities, such as training programs, workshops, and conferences to help employees develop new skills. 

Additionally, companies can show their commitment to continuous learning by offering tuition reimbursement programs for pursuing relevant educational credentials. Investing in career growth has several benefits, such as increased employee retention, enhanced employee engagement, and an improved talent pipeline. 

#8: Empowering Employees With Technology

In today's digital age, cutting-edge technology is a necessity. Employees crave the latest tools and software to be efficient, productive, and innovative. 

Equipping your workforce with the right tech has a ripple effect throughout your organization, not just in terms of core job functions but also for their financial well-being.

Up-to-date technology can significantly enhance productivity. The right tools can streamline workflows, automate tasks, and free up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic initiatives. 

Technology like cloud-based platforms and communication tools (video conferencing, instant messaging) can facilitate seamless communication and teamwork between teams, both within the office and for a remote workforce.

Financial wellness platforms are a prime example of how technology can empower employees holistically. Platforms like Enrich provide employees with easy access to financial education resources, budgeting tools, and even personalized financial coaching – all delivered conveniently through a user-friendly online interface.

These resources can equip employees with the knowledge and tools they need to make informed financial decisions, reduce stress, and achieve their financial goals.

#9: Prioritizing Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a critical factor for many job seekers, especially as the lines between work and personal life blur in a digitally connected world. Organizations that offer initiatives promoting well-being can significantly impact employee morale and productivity.

One way to prioritize work-life balance is by offering flexible work arrangements. Remote work options, flexible schedules, and compressed workweeks can give employees greater control over their time and reduce work-related stress. Additionally, generous paid time off (PTO) policies are essential. 

Employees need time to disconnect, recharge, and spend time with loved ones. Offer competitive PTO packages and encourage employees to use them. You’ll see that fostering a healthy workplace culture goes a long way. 

Discourage presenteeism and overtime. Instead, create a culture that respects personal time and promotes healthy boundaries between work and personal life. 

By prioritizing work-life balance, you demonstrate your commitment to employee well-being and create a work environment that allows employees to thrive both personally and professionally.

#10: Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives

Companies that value diversity attract a wider range of talent and foster a more innovative and inclusive work environment.

To prioritize diversity and inclusion, consider implementing the following initiatives:

  • Diverse recruitment strategies: Actively seek out diverse talent through partnerships with diverse organizations, attending job fairs targeted towards underrepresented groups, and utilizing diverse job boards.
  • Employee resource groups: Establish employee resource groups (ERGs) focused on different aspects of diversity (e.g., race, gender, LGBTQ+) to provide support, networking, and mentorship opportunities for employees from marginalized backgrounds.
  • Training and education: Offer diversity and inclusion training programs for all employees to promote awareness, empathy, and cultural competence. Encourage open dialogues about unconscious bias and systemic inequalities.
  • Equal opportunities for advancement: Ensure all employees have equal access to career growth and advancement opportunities, regardless of background. Implement transparent promotion processes and mentorship programs to support diverse talent.

By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, you create a more equitable workplace and attract top talent who value a culture of respect, belonging, and diversity.

Go Beyond Traditional Benefits

The modern workforce seeks a comprehensive employee experience that goes beyond traditional benefits packages. Today's job seekers prioritize financial security, work-life balance, and opportunities for growth. 

By offering a robust financial wellness program alongside a positive company culture, career development opportunities, and flexible work arrangements, you can create a compelling employer brand that attracts and retains top talent.

Why Focus on Financial Wellness?

Financial stress is a pervasive concern impacting employee well-being, productivity, and, ultimately, your bottom line. Studies consistently show a strong correlation between financial anxiety and decreased engagement, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates. 

On the opposite side, employees who feel financially secure are more focused, productive, and loyal to their employers.

By prioritizing financial well-being, you're not just offering a perk; you're investing in the overall health and success of your workforce. Financial wellness programs can significantly improve morale, reduce stress, and ultimately lead to a more productive and successful organization.

Remember, financial wellness is just one piece of the puzzle. A holistic approach that integrates financial security with a positive work environment, career growth opportunities, and a focus on well-being will position you as a top employer and give you a competitive edge in today's dynamic talent market.


1 - Education Data Initiative

2 - Vox

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