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What do health care, food, physical environment, and economic stability have in common? Each is a social determinant of health. If you’re scratching your head, don’t worry — we’ll explain.

The impact of social determinants of health for employers 

Social determinants of health are conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play that affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes.1 Think: access to healthy food, environmental safety, or support systems. These factors make us who we are, so it’s no surprise that, when combined, they can affect health outcomes.

Wellness programs serve as a great tool to increase access to health information and opportunities.  Ask yourself this: Is your wellness program helping employees and their families manage expenses, debt, or medical costs? The connection between financial resources and health outcomes is sometimes forgotten, but personal finances control much of our day-to-day and future plans. Because of this, it can directly impact our health and well-being. In addition to performing their job roles, employees are balancing additional financial pressures. 

Financial Wellness by the Numbers 

According to PwC’s 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Study, 46% of employees cited financial or money matters/challenges as causing them the most stress. The study also found:

 

What Can Employers Do?

There are various resources employers can promote to support their employees – from financial literacy education to personalized financial counseling. Did you know 57% of employers reported feeling that financial education boosted their employees’ productivity?2 Here are a few things to consider as you think about financial wellness offerings:

  • Engage your employees. Consider surveying your employees to learn more about their interests and pain points related to financial wellness. Doing so will inform your decisions and ensure your plans include your employees’ voices.
  • Build on existing programs. Do you already offer education for your 401(k) program? Consider building upon this resource to include other relevant information like short-term and long-term financial planning.
  • Focus on the big picture. Building off of the tip above, it may be tempting to offer a single resource with one focus like retirement, but try offering resources that look at employees overall financial well-being. Remember, social determinants of health don’t live in silos.

Offering financial wellness resources shows your employees that you care about them and support them in their wellness journey. More often than not, employees report feeling empowered, inspired, and motivated at their workplaces as a result. If you’re still feeling hesitant to take the next step, check out this resource from WELCOA!  


Sources:

1 https://www.cdc.gov/socialdeterminants/

2 PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, supra note 5, at 11.

 

Chelsey Boulden

About Chelsey Boulden

Chelsey Boulden is a Rotational Development Associate at Blue Cross NC. In her current role, she helps employers implement wellness programs that fit the needs of their employees. Outside of work, you can find her traveling, exploring restaurants across North Carolina, and spending time with family.

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