Every day, it seems the news includes a story or two about the economy and whether or not a recession is coming.
At the same time, with interest rates, inflation and day-to-day costs rising, employees may already be feeling anxious about their ability to meet their financial obligations.
Some employees will be feeling concerned about what’s to come, others will be rethinking their retirement plans and still others will be worried about the security of their jobs. And while everyone’s situation is different, as an employer, there are ways to assist workers during this uncertain time.
- Promote financial literacy
Now is the time for employers to ramp up promotion of any financial wellness programs they have in place. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has a library of free resources available for both organizations and individual Canadians. Employers that offer a retirement savings program can leverage financial wellness information from their retirement consultant or record keeper to help employees navigate market volatility, create a budget and understand the impacts of pausing contributions or cashing in registered retirement savings plans.
Employee assistance program providers can also be a good source for information and financial tools. If financial counselling is an available benefit, employers should promote its availability and make it easy for employees to access this resource.
- Take stock of mental-health programs and benefits
Employers should also review whether their mental-health benefits are still aligned with their objectives as an organization and meet the needs of plan members. Some questions for employers to consider include:
- Are employees able to access practitioners in a reasonable amount of time when they need them?
- Do employees have access to virtual health care options or self-help resources?
- Are the annual or per-visit maximums creating obstacles to getting care by creating too much out-of-pocket spend?
- Do eligible mental-health paramedical practitioners include a wide range of practitioners that can help both increase access and stretch the amount of benefit provided go further?
- Does the benefits program include any flexibility, either through choice or a spending account?
Employers can also make access easier for employees by creating an online hub for mental-health resources that lists all available programs in one spot.
- Target employees nearing retirement
Employees that are nearing retirement may be reconsidering what their runway looks like as they see their retirement savings eroded. Employers can provide extra supports for this particular group with webinars and information to help them make decisions and to plan ahead.
- Increase communication from leadership
If at all possible, employers should be open and honest about their situation and the steps they’re taking in the face of a recession. More communications will keep employees from guessing about potential cost-cutting or layoffs and help them make good decisions about their own situations.