Stress-related absences are now the leading cause of employee disability in Canada but that doesn’t necessarily mean their anxiety is work-related – in fact, personal finances are the top worry for today’s average Canadian.
A survey by the Financial Planning Standards Council found that money is by far the leading source of stress among Canadians – significantly outdoing personal health and relationships – with 51 per cent of women and 41 per cent of men losing sleep over the subject.
Nancy Inberg, director of compensation and benefits at Aon, told HRM that many employees now expect their employer to play a bigger role in ensuring financial wellness.
“We did a colleague wellness survey last fall and that’s exactly what our colleagues were interested in – was the company supporting financial wellbeing? Yes, emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing are important – and continue to be important – but they were really interested in ways that they could save money,” she revealed.
“That was the number one thing that came back from the survey,” added total rewards specialist Jimmy Chen.
The feedback pushed the pair to introduce a new employee perks program – Venngo’s WorkPerks
, which offers in excess of 1,200 discounts across 19 categories, including travel, technology, entertainment, and health and wellness.
“We cover virtually everything,” confirms Venngo representative Joe Parent. “If you’re going away for a weekend, you need a hotel, you need flights, you need car rental, you want to go to dinner, you want to go to the theatre – it’s all there.”
The program doesn’t just alleviate the cost of a much-needed, stress-busting weekend – it also covers the big, unavoidable expenses that can hit employees hard, no matter what stage of life they’re in.
“Whether you want to insure your house, buy a car, send your child to university or even just get their back-to-school wardrobe, the platform can help with that,” says Parent, who insists the current economy means it’s more important than ever for employers to support their employees.
“People are going through difficult times, they’re seeing their colleagues lose their jobs, they’re being asked to do more with less, their dollar isn’t going as far because prices are escalating, it’s more expensive to take that family vacation or to get away for the weekend – this is a great way to show the employees that you still care about them,” he told HRM.
“You can’t afford to give everybody a $1,000 raise but you can certainly afford to do this and it’s the equivalent to doing that,” he added, noting that the average user easily saves $1,000 every year.
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