Helping Hotel Workers Manage Their Financial Stress
March 26, 2018 8:41am
By Chris Whitlow
PwC reports that a third of the American workforce is stressed about their personal financial situation and they bring those frustrations to work. Additionally, the average wage for many employees in the hotel and travel-related industries is about $11 per hour, with many desk and service workers making less. This means that many hotel workers are stretching their paychecks each month to both cover bills and try to plan for their future.
For hotel and hospitality employers, helping their employees better address their financial stresses can not only reduce turnover rates, but also foster a healthier workforce overall.
Where Does Employee Stress Come From?
Before employers can create a plan to address employee financial stress, they first need to understand where it comes from. As mentioned, many service workers are making low hourly wages. Given the hourly wage of many hotel workers, the BLS classifies them among the lowest percentiles of worker compensation. In fact, earning less than $15 per hour puts workers in the lowest third of income earners in the country and that presents some problems.
Earning a low wage means that employees are more likely to use their wages to address short-term financial stressors rather than plan for long-term goals like retirement. For younger employees, this can also mean a larger focus on student loan repayment rather than enrolling in a company retirement plan.
Additionally, low-wage hotel workers are often subject to irregular shift schedules. Not only does this prevent them from earning a higher average annual wage, it also puts stress on their personal lives. Studies have found that on-call and shift workers experience higher stress than full-time employees.
Introducing Financial Wellness Benefits
To better address the financial stress faced by many hotel workers, employers should focus on financial wellness solutions, not necessarily adding additional benefits to the roster. Financial wellness encompasses offering educational resources and tools that address each employees’ specific financial needs rather than trying to find a single financial benefit for the entire organization.
An effective financial wellness program could provide budgeting guidance to younger workers who aren’t sure how to manage their paychecks and prepare them for saving for retirement. Or in the case of hotel and hospitality service workers, financial wellness could help lower wage employees feel more confident about making financial decisions month to month so they can better address their short-term financial goals.
Financial wellness programs also help employees better understand the value of their existing benefits. By educating an employee on how to better utilize their retirement plans, budget, or even interact with their health insurance providers to manage medical costs, employees get a better understanding of not only how their benefits work when they need to use them, but also their additional value outside of their paycheck compensation.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that for most low-wage workers, nearly 90% of them aren’t utilizing a long-term retirement benefit, but both health and life insurance adoption and utilization rates are much higher. What does this mean? For employers, this means that by offering more relevant benefits to their employees to help them address their actual needs, employees will utilize them.
Reducing financial stress among hotel workers of all income levels can yield long-term gains, both financially and for employee wellbeing. Financial wellness platforms and solutions can help organizations of all sizes address individual employee financial needs and create a healthier culture overall.
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Chris Whitlow is the founder and CEO of Edukate, a workplace financial wellness provider with a mission to give every person access to expert financial guidance. Chris works with the Edukate team to solve problems that ease the financial stress most Americans experience each day. Edukate helps employers provide the best financial wellness benefits, thus helping employees manage their financial stress, increase their productivity, and live happier, healthier lives.
Contact: Chris Whitlow
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