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Employee Retention Archives - Harbor America

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A Realistic Approach to Employee Retention

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“A staggering 83% of employers believe attracting and retaining talent”(1) is one of the primary challenges for their recruiting and hiring teams.

For this reason, a realistic lens must be used when viewing or creating an employee retention strategy. As the lifespan of employees shortens, HR teams are faced with the challenge of turning employee retention best practice plans.

To take a realistic approach to employee retention, successful businesses focus energies and efforts on the hiring process, conducting regular pay analysis, and enabling growth and development within the organization.

Starting at the very beginning with the application, hiring process, and talent management, organizations who have been able to create and uphold realistic employee retention strategies are those where the leaders are creative and inspired, and the employees are motivated and feel valued. Ensure the hiring process includes the vetting of candidates in terms of whether they are a good fit culturally. Workplace culture, or the lack thereof, could be one of the primary factors behind higher attrition at your company.

Regular review of employee salaries and pay analysis is necessary to ensure all employees are paid within the industry standard, in addition to what is appropriate based on their skill set and responsibilities. Every organization differs in terms of amount, how positions are paid, and the responsibilities that make up each position. These are necessary elements when reviewing pay structure and roles. The end goal, however, is to pay employees fairly and keep them engaged and motivated.

Employees find growth and development to be a major factor in staying motivated and in showing professional progress toward their next career goal. Consider including opportunities for the adoption of new hard skills, the refinement of specific soft skills, job shadowing in complementary roles, or giving employees the ability to broaden their knowledge in an area of their choosing. Regardless of the method, it’s important that the organization supports the employees’ desire to achieve a goal and stay motivated.

Job satisfaction and employee engagement feed directly into employee retention. This, in addition to refining your existing hiring process, conducting a regular pay analysis, and enabling employee growth and development will aid in improving employee retention, overall. Contact Harbor America to learn how integrated HR technology can reduce employee turnover and accelerate organizational growth.

 

1 HRDive: Survey: Applicant Quality Continues to Plague Employers

As seen originally on VensureHR Blog: July 2, 2019.

Promoting Stress Management

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As a leading contributor to a number of health problems, stress and the workplace is not a great combination. Lowering stress can, in turn, reduce the risk of major medical conditions and improve employee health and productivity day-to-day. Here are our tips for promoting stress management within your workplace. To learn more about reducing employee stress and improving morale, contact Harbor America.

Take steps to ensure the workplace is not contributing to employee stress.  Address negative actions immediately.  Do not tolerate bullying, discrimination, or similar behaviors.  Proper training can help to ensure employees are not overwhelmed with tasks or workloads.  Regularly recognize Employee contributions and successes to positively affect company culture. Contact Harbor America to reduce employee stress and improve morale.

Implementing a Qualified Transportation Benefit Program

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Commuting for work is a normal part of life for most employees. But shockingly, only nine percent[1] of workers carpool with one other person.

Qualified transportation benefits (QTB) or commuter tax benefits is a comprehensive way for employers to extend benefits to employees, and save on federal income taxes. As an employer-sponsored benefit program employees are able to set aside pre-tax income to help pay for commute-related costs, including mass transit, vanpooling, and parking expenses.

QTB, however, is subject to a monthly maximum contribution cap. In 2019, for example, the cap is $265 per month for parking and $265 for transit passes and vanpooling (combined). This is a five-dollar increase from the 2018 contribution cap. There are no reimbursement options for bicycle commuting.

Environmental benefits include:

  • Reduced congestion on surface streets and highway systems.
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improved quality of life for employees and surrounding communities.

To start a QTB program for your employees, consider the following steps:

  • Compile a team of stakeholders and employee members who are interested in assisting with the design and structure of the QTB program. Use this pre-announcement time to decide if the program will cover all transit passes or if employees will be limited to a specific transit system or payment method.
  • Communicate the QTB program’s why’s and how’s clearly and effectively. Post the same information in a public spot where employees can easily locate and reference the material, such as your company intranet.
  • Offer payroll deductions as a simple way of contributing to the QTB program.

Organizations that have adopted a QTB program have found improved job satisfaction among employee participants, along with healthier and more productive employees who are experiencing reduced stress. The QTB program gives employees a financial incentive to spend less time driving, and more time focusing on their lives and personal health.

In addition to standard employee benefits like medical and dental insurance, life insurance, and 401(k), Harbor America can assist you in offering your clients additional supplementary or voluntary benefits. Contact us to find out what else you can start offering to your employees. They deserve it.

[1] US News: How Commuting is Changing

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Considering the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

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Aside from ensuring employee safety, employee happiness and morale is one of the most important elements of any business. It may seem like helping manage your employees’ personal happiness is outside of your realm of responsibility as an employer, however, personal issues may impact an employee’s performance, productivity, and focus.

Employee assistance programs (EAP) are delivered as a no-cost workplace wellness program that offers services to help employees deal with any personal problems they may be facing. This includes substance abuse, stress management, financial problems, and more.

Most EAPs offer 24/7 phone access to trained counselors. The counselors are trained to discuss sensitive issues while maintaining employee confidentiality. The EAP offers direct counseling and treatment rather than just referrals to other practitioners.

Employers will also find benefit from the EAP as they have provided employees access to a resource that can help to remedy personal issues that could cause a decrease in productivity, absenteeism, or eventually abandoning their position.

Harbor America’s EAP includes access to highly-trained and experienced clinical providers, financial consultants, and elder care or child care specialists. With the goal of assisting employees to resolve issues before they get worse, Harbor America has the best interest in mind for you and your business. Contact us today to add EAP to your employee benefits program.

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Preventing Workplace Turnover

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The top four industries with the highest turnover rates are Technology/software (13.2%), Retail (13%), Media/Entertainment (11.4%), and Professional Services (11.4%)[1].

Regardless of the reason, the percentage of workplace turnover tells employees and potential candidates a lot about your industry and your business. From changing technologies in a volatile industry to unmanageable workloads and poor management, it is up to the organization to truly understand the “why” behind their high turnover rate.

Here are some tips for retaining valued employees while reducing turnover:

Hire the Right People

Before putting up your “help wanted” sign, start by first outlining your organization’s culture and behavioral elements. Use these aspects to construct quality behavioral interview questions using the candidate’s response as an indicator of how they would react and engage in certain situations. In the interview process, be honest about the workplace culture. In most cases, candidates who do not fit the mold will eliminate themselves if they won’t fit in well.

Lean In

Show employees that they are valued assets within the organization. Say it loud, and say it often. For those who are under-performing, be honest with them in where they are not meeting expectations and what they can do to improve.

Promote Diversity and Inclusivity

In addition to being an unbiased employer in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, hire individuals of varying ages, marital and parental statuses, educational backgrounds, and communication styles. This will create a completely diverse environment in which all employees can learn from one another and thrive.

Right-size Compensation and Benefits

Complete a salary analysis consistent with the pay grades for the industry in your area. Compensation, as we know, is a huge motivator for holding employees accountable for their work and job performance. Additionally, take into consideration new benefits in the industry or in your region of the country. Tailored benefits packages are becoming more popular as employers are discovering that employees appreciate solutions that are individualized rather than one-size-fits-all.

Employee turnover is not something you can always avoid. Some people may become simply uninterested in the work, decide to become a stay-at-home parent, or go back to school. Harbor America is your partner in everything employment, from start to finish. From employee on-boarding to unemployment claims, we have you covered. Contact us today to learn more.

[1] https://learning.linkedin.com/blog/engaging-your-workforce/see-the-industries-with-the-highest-turnover–and-why-it-s-so-hi

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8 Ideas for Boosting Employee Loyalty and Retention

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Fortune called it the biggest problem facing employers in 2017: employee retention. The truth is, considering the high cost of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new talent, this is a timeless concern that followed us into 2018—and will follow us beyond this year.

When an employee doesn’t feel loyal to your company, you get, at best, a lackluster effort that results in low productivity. You may even find you’re paying someone to browse job listings for a few hours a day. When that employee has finally had enough and leaves, you’re stuck: you need to devote time and resources to finding the right person and then getting him or her up to speed on the job duties. And there’s an unfortunate chance that person might not work out, either.

Even though a PEO can help you with recruiting and hiring, it’s much wiser to retain the employees you have. Here are eight ways to help you do that:

Invest in Employee Development

Your top talent wants to continue to learn and grow. When you offer opportunities to do that, whether via in-house training, seminars, and conventions, or even an allowance for purchasing books or online courses, your employees learn skills that will help them be better at their jobs. They also know you value them enough to provide such opportunities.

Respect Their “Other” Lives

They are more than just workers: your employees are human beings with families, hobbies, and goals that have nothing to do with the workplace. Offering benefits and perks that acknowledge this is one way to build their loyalty to your company. People striving for a work/life balance are inspired to work for someone who gives them space to achieve this. This could mean onsite childcare, flexible work hours, the option to telecommute, wellness programs (which could include gym memberships, healthy workplace snacks, etc.), and more.

Put Safety First

This seems obvious, but a lack of concern about safety is immediately felt by employees. It’s hard for them to trust you if you’re not looking out for their health and well-being, and it makes sense for them to move on to another job if they feel like they’re putting themselves at risk every day.

Provide a Career Path

There should be opportunities within your company for promotions and raises as merited. Those who have the ambition to climb higher should understand the path to do so. When that path is murky or littered with unexpected roadblocks, morale drops quickly.

Pay Them What They’re Worth

A higher salary for the same job somewhere else is an easy choice for someone who’s already dissatisfied with his or her working situation. Provide a competitive salary and top-notch benefits to encourage top talent to stay with you.

Trust Them

They’re adults, and you hired them for a reason. Micromanaging is deflating. If you don’t trust their work, you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.

Have a plan in place for when someone’s work starts to slip. An appropriate warning and a game plan to help them get back on track shows them you care about the work they do, and you want to keep them around to do it.

The “trust” theme may also include keeping employees up-to-speed on company developments, even the difficult ones. When it’s time to make changes within the company, ask your employees for suggestions and include them in the decision-making process when appropriate.

Give Back

Many employees today want their employers to be environmentally and socially responsible. It’s a source of pride for an employee to say, “Look how much my company cares,” and they enjoy getting involved in the process. Get involved in your community, and look for opportunities to give back in ways that align with your vision.

Show Your Appreciation

Don’t assume your employees know what a good job they’re doing. Everyone wants to feel valued and appreciated, and this may be as simple as writing a quick email congratulating someone on a recent sale or a handwritten note thanking someone for coming in early this week to finish a project. Bigger gestures might include surprises like a catered lunch, a party or outing, or a gift.

Building employee loyalty is all about creating a culture of teamwork and appreciation where employees know their work matters. Implementing some of these tips may take time and money initially, but they will save both in the long run when your company is full of happy, longtime employees.

Let Harbor America Help You Boost Employee Loyalty and Respect

Harbor America can help you with employee benefits packages, as well as payroll, HR, and more, so you can spend more time nurturing a positive company culture that encourages retention. Contact us to learn more about our services and how they may help you build employee loyalty while saving time and money.

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5 Steps to Starting a Construction Company Employee Wellness Program

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An employee wellness program has a lot of benefits for your company. Healthier employees miss fewer days at work, are less likely to spread illness, and are overall more productive. Not only that, they’re more likely to stick with your company, since they have a strong incentive for staying with you.

How do you get that important wellness program started? Try some of these key tips:

Step One: Learn What Your Employees Need

Before you design an employee wellness program, you need to get to know your employees! What are their health challenges? What does your company culture look like? If you have employees who are struggling to get healthier due to chronic illness, you may need a different wellness program from a company where employees are overall relatively healthy, but simply need to get moving more frequently. Consider what your employees need most, whether it’s:

  • A company fitness center located on-site
  • Fitness challenges throughout the company
  • Healthy foods offered as company-sponsored meals
  • Flexible lunch periods that allow employees time to cook in the office or take other options

Keep in mind that as a construction company, you may have unique needs with regard to your wellness program. Your employees are often off-site: does that mean that they will benefit more from a discounted gym membership elsewhere than an on-site wellness center? Is there a way to make it easier for your employees to find healthy food options for lunch? Listen to their feedback to learn more about what each employee considers most important and what they face every day.

Step Two: Decide What You Can Afford

Your company might not be able to dive in with a full, big-picture company wellness program immediately. In fact, you might need to start a lot smaller: virtual challenges, healthier food at corporate events, and other options. Take a solid look at your budget before you start your company wellness program, and know what you’re able to spend. Then, prioritize based on what you know your employees need most.

Step Three: Offer Incentives

If you really want to motivate employees to take advantage of your wellness program, offer incentives! You might, for example, offer a reduced-price gym membership for employees who visit the gym at least twice per week. You could conduct a company fitness challenge, where the employees who complete the most steps per week or month are offered a reward. Conversely, you could encourage employees to join you at company events with reduced prices: take a team to a fun 5K race or head out together for an enjoyable hiking challenge, all with rewards for employees who meet specific goals.

Step Four: Spread the Word

Your new wellness program doesn’t do you any good if no one knows about it! While it might be hard to miss the grand opening of a new fitness center, employees who have avoided the vending machines for years might not notice that it’s suddenly been filled with granola bars, nuts, and yogurt. Make sure that you spread the word about your new offerings! This could include:

  • Sending out newsletters
  • Announcing wellness program changes in meetings or at company events
  • Posting memos or signs

The more employees know about the new program, the more likely it is that they’ll take full advantage of it–and that means you get to reap the benefits.

Step Five: Collect Feedback

Your new wellness program is a great idea, and you’ve put plenty of time and effort into planning it. That doesn’t mean, however, that it has no room for improvement. Make sure that you’re taking the time to collect feedback regarding your program. In many cases, this will enable you to make changes that will make it more accessible to or enjoyable for employees.


Your company wellness program can be a big step for your company–especially if you launch it the right way. By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth transition that will allow more of your employees to take full advantage of the program.

Do you want to learn more about the types of benefits that help your company attract and retain the best candidates? Check out this new eBook to learn more about how the right benefits (like a great wellness program) can transform your company. At Harbor America, employee benefits are only one of the many great services we provide.

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The Best Employee Onboarding Tips for Construction Business Owners

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Onboarding new employees is often a time-consuming process. Even if you hire workers who have been in construction for years, they still have to learn the specific procedures that are unique to your business. Employees who aren’t given time and the proper information to adjust to their new position may struggle to complete their job appropriately or fail to note important procedures that will help keep them safe on the job–and it’s even more important that you take the time to properly onboard employees who haven’t worked in the construction industry before.

Tip #1: Assign a Mentor to New Employees

Ideally, you want your mentor to be an employee in a similar position to the new employee, rather than a supervisor or an individual who already has increased responsibilities across the job site. You do, however, want to choose an experienced, responsible employee who will explain things properly to a new hire, rather than hazing them or asking them to accomplish unrealistic things.

Tip #2: Hire a PEO

Working with a PEO can help smooth out the onboarding process and ensure that your employees are in a better position to move easily into their first day on the job site. As you work with your PEO, they’ll take care of the paperwork and basic safety training, freeing your employees up to handle those early days with a new hire on the job site.

Tip #3: Check-In Regularly

In a perfect world, new employees would be willing to come to you whenever they have a question. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Checking in on a weekly basis allows you to get a better idea of how employees are doing, gives them a chance to asks questions, and lets you tackle potential problems before they turn into serious issues.

Tip #4: Provide Appropriate Training

In the construction industry, you’re faced with hazardous activities every day. Because of the nature of the business, it’s important to provide appropriate training to all of your employees. This includes:

  • Strategic review of the company handbook to be sure that new hires understand all of the necessary policies and procedures
  • Specific training in safety regulations
  • Careful training in how to use new equipment or take care of jobs that this particular employee hasn’t done in the past
  • Comprehensive safety and risk management processes

Tip #5: Get to Know New Employees

During the onboarding process, take the time to genuinely get to know new employees. Talk with them to develop a better understanding of their past experience and how that has shaped their current abilities. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the experience that employees already have so they don’t end up with a job that’s over their heads–especially with no one to help.

Tip #6: Observe

Whether you put the superintendent of the job site in charge of observing new employees or check-in yourself, it’s important that you take the time to observe new employees to see how they’re doing on the job. Look for signs of insecurity or that employees are taking unnecessary chances. These observations can be addressed immediately if they are causing safety hazards or left until your weekly meeting if you need more time to discuss how to address your worries.

When you’re onboarding a new employee, you want to make sure that you get it right. Careful attention to the entire process, including assistance from an outside firm or from employees within your organization, can help ensure that you have everything you need on hand, whether you’re onboarding a single employee or working with a cast of dozens thanks to a construction hiring boom.

For more information on how Harbor America can make employee onboarding a snap, contact us today. Our comprehensive HR solutions include recruitment and screening, onboarding, payroll, compliance, and more, allowing you to focus on running your business.

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The Realities and Challenges of a Multi-generational Workforce

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Once upon a time, HR managers preferred to hire the more experienced candidate over the well-educated. These days they are being forced to take education in lieu of experience, leaving a workforce heavy on theory and light on practice. The fact is the steeper learning curve, the less time to get inexperienced team members on board and up to speed. Making the situation even more complex, is the lack of middle management in many organizations. In this article, we will take a look at the demographic reality of today’s workforce, and discuss strategies for hiring, managing, and training those with less experience.

Demographic Reality of the Modern Workforce

  • The majority of today’s workers are either over 50 years of age or under 30.
  • The mid-90s through the early 2000s witnessed a sharp decline in middle-management, due to corporate restructuring.
  • Most companies admit they have not sufficiently addressed the gap in management.
  • Today’s over-burdened middle-managers are suffering from burnout which leads to higher than average numbers of alcoholism, depression and other mental health issues.

5 Common Scenarios and Strategies to Consider

1. You aren’t sure how to hire for your future needs.

Perform workforce projection for all upcoming projects, including succession planning and replacement planning. This is the only way to know where your deficits lie and where they are likely to widen in the future.

2. You have a multigenerational workforce that is not performing as a cohesive team.

Managing and leading a multigenerational team takes patience and understanding. However, if you can help your team overcome the personality clashes that are inherent, you may discover some great mentorship opportunities. When the outgoing staff is motivated to properly to take newcomers under their wing, the bulk of training takes care of itself.

It’s no secret that people are living and working longer and the days of two generations making up a workforce will be a thing of the past. We will likely see three to four generations working together in the near future. The key is to develop methods where the younger and older generations have respect for one another and cultivate an environment or culture where they all learn from each other, working together to create a  productive workplace.

3. You don’t know how to engage your new millennial workforce.

Let’s face it, this generation is different. They are not only very well-educated, but they also have ideas and values that set them apart. We have discussed previously, how best to attract, engage, motivate, and keep millennials by responding to their deep need for purpose and place within your organization.

4. You need to have your new hires up to speed faster, but you don’t have the HR support that you need.

Consider outsourcing part of your human resources operations. This simple step can eliminate much of the admin work that weighs down your already overworked middle management staff. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can help in a wide variety of areas, from sourcing and pre-screening candidates to complete onboarding and even initial training.

Another important consideration is the different styles of learning. Here are a few tips to help differentiate the generational learning preferences:

Veterans: Prefer classroom setting with little ambiguity and clear direction.

Baby Boomers: Generally they are team-oriented but like to have the opportunity to practice new skills alone before proficiency is checked.

Gen-X: Typically pragmatic, like succinct and clear instruction with less emphasis on non-value added activities, have little tolerance for incompetent instructors. Hands-on learning should be conducted in small breakout sessions.

Gen-Y or Millennials: Accustomed to group work. Requires more instruction, structure, and supervision. They appreciate highly visual displays and digital media. They do not like to reach out for help, meaning it is important to be proactive when offering guidance.

“Encourage your employees to take advantage of specialized training to enhance their skills, and access promotions.” – Important HR Tips for Small Business Owners

5. You lack management bench strength.

Focus on hiring for the mid-term instead of the long-term. This may seem counter-intuitive. Of course, you’re told to target enthusiastic go-getters who will disrupt and innovate your organization. However, with a lack of leadership and experience, that may not be the best strategy.

As a business owner, you want to focus on running your company but you know that hiring the right team is critical —because every bad hire is costly and risks damaging the morale and continuity of your workforce. Fortunately, we can help. Harbor America is a leader in the Professional Employer Organization space. From HR, payroll, and benefits administration to training, risk management, and compliance, we leverage our technology and know-how to expertly hire and onboard your crew. Get started today with a free consultation.

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Financial Wellness Benefits: Should You Offer Them to Your Employees?

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The 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 53% of employees are stressed about their financial situation, and only 45% say they would be able to meet their basic expenses if they were unemployed for an extended time. Their financial concerns affect everything from their health to their relationships to their productivity at work.

That is a big concern to you as an employer.

A distracted, worried employee may become an unhappy or unhealthy employee, which comes with enormous costs to your company. If the employee is constantly concerned about money, she may be putting that ahead of her job–and your vision for the future of the company. If another job came along that offered more money, she may be more likely to take it to help ease some of those financial concerns.

Taking these financial concerns into consideration, you might be wondering if you should offer financial wellness benefits to your employees.

What Are Financial Wellness Benefits?

Many people simply don’t know how to manage their money, or what their options are for investing and saving for their futures. Financial wellness might include workshops on budgeting, managing debt, or preparing for retirement. Here are a few examples of financial wellness benefits you could offer your employees:

  • Confidential Financial Assessment
  • Retirement Planning
  • Healthcare Cost Planning
  • Tracking Tools to Meet Financial Goals
  • Investment Planning
  • Customized Financial Education
  • Saving for College
  • Paying Off Debt
  • Daily Budgeting
  • Financial Wellness Guest Speakers or Conferences

The Growing Popularity of Financial Wellness Benefits

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) suggested that 2017 was the year of financial wellness benefits (although USA Today noticed the trend back in 2014), noting that such programs can reduce employee stress and increase productivity. While retirement has long been a part of traditional benefits programs, today’s focus on financial wellness includes student loan management, security, and more.

Still, companies that offer a particular benefit are not the majority: SHRM’s 2016 Employee Benefits survey indicated that 27% of companies offer one-on-one financial advice while 22% offer a classroom learning opportunity. The PwC survey says 40% of employees work for a company that offers some type of financial advice service. There’s plenty of room for growth–and space for you to differentiate your company as one who is concerned about the financial wellness of its employees.

Good for Employees, Good for Your Company

The PwC survey showed that financial wellness means different things to different people: for some, it’s about not being in debt or having to worry about unexpected expenses; for others, it’s about being able to enjoy life and retire when they want to.

As an employer, you’re in a position to help them experience that wellness, no matter what it means to them. It’s a nice thing to do, but it’s more than that: it can improve your bottom line.

The Financial Wellness at Work Report points out that financial stress is, of course, stress, and stress can lead to health problems. That could mean missed days at work, decreased retention, and higher health care costs.

Financial wellness benefits can also increase employee engagement and loyalty. Everyone wants to feel they are appreciated and their work matters. When they feel cared for by the company, they’re more likely to stay in the position–a great thing when you know the cost of turnover. These types of benefits are one more way a company can say, “We care about you, not just about what you do in the office. We want you to live well. Let us help.”

More good news: these programs are affordable for you as the employer. There are many ways to implement these types of benefits, from in-person and online classes to gamified programs that encourage employees to keep learning for the gratification of earning points or badges and mastering “levels.”

Given the financial worries weighing on the minds of the majority of employees, it’s not a question of whether or not you should offer financial benefits–it’s a matter of deciding which ones to offer.