financial wellness

I work with a lot of recruiters, and many of them are complaining about job seekers who have inflated and unrealistic salary expectations.

That’s not a new complaint. When people are in a position to negotiate for a new salary, they negotiate. If you don’t start strong, you end up weak. That’s just math. But recruiters and hiring managers don’t like pushy negotiators, and some people are even punished for negotiating at all.

Does it seem like job seekers can’t win?

Well, I think it’s important for recruiters and HR professionals to remember that people are worried about money now more than ever. America was hit hard by the Great Recession. Our savings rates are low. Student loan debt is high. We don’t contribute enough to retirement accounts. According to Prudential, nearly a quarter of employees say that personal finance issues are nagging at them while they work, and 39% spend three hours or more each week dealing with issues related to money.

I think one of the ways we can keep salary expectations in check is by offering our employees access to financial wellness programs.

So what’s included in a financial wellness program?

Financial literacy.

Some employers are offering courses and consultants who are available to answer basic financial questions.

What’s the difference between whole and term life insurance? What’s the difference between a 401(k) and a Roth IRA? Do you need long-term disability insurance? Do you have a living will? Should you put your assets in a trust? Should you open a CD or a savings account? How much interest will you pay on your student loan debt over the life of the loan?

Being an adult is hard, and most of us enter adulthood knowing more about celebrity gossip than finance. Want to help your employees and future employees understand how much money they need to earn and how to spend it? Start here.

Retirement planning.

It is a no-brainer. Most retirement sessions are boring and built for old people who are close to retirement. With five generations in the workforce, it’s time to work with a team that can help you make the case to your employees for saving and investing. It’s also important to fund your retirement plans. You can’t tell your employees to save for retirement if you’re not matching some part of their contributions.

Self-assessments and coaching.

Let’s face it. Some people survived the recession by taking on a ton of credit card debt. While Trump claimed bankruptcy a million times, job seekers and employees slogged through high-interest payments and tried to meet their financial obligations. But debt is debilitating. There are technology platforms and apps that can help an employee understand the holistic picture of her finances. If your company can’t offer any tech solutions, you can partner with a credit union to provide coaching and financial crisis management.

Identity theft protection.

Identity theft is a nightmare. If you think your employees are wasting time at work on a typical day, try managing someone who is in the midst of a horrific experience like that. Identity theft insurance isn’t an expensive addition to your total rewards package. Combined with other financial wellness incentives, you can fulfill your employer branding commitments and meet the needs of your employees.

Financial wellness is trendy, right now.

I normally tell people not to jump on trends, but as American job seekers pull themselves out of debt, I think it’s important for employers to offer any assistance that’s available. Want to stop a 25-year-old kid from asking for $90,000 a year to be a social media manager? Maybe hire him at $50,000 and teach him how to manage his money.