Stress plays a huge role in the productivity and focus of employees. Stressed employees can lose the ability to be attentive in the workplace, which is a necessary skill in work environments that are dependent on customer service, such as restaurants.
While the restaurant sector has shown growth and strength over the last few years, a recent study conducted by scientists at Southern Medical University suggested being a waiter or waitress is one of the most stressful jobs and can be detrimental to employees’ health. Coupled with PwC’s findings that 1 in 3 employees are stressed about their personal finances and bring those stresses to the workplace, employers should focus their attention to dealing both with employees’ workplace and personal stressors.
Programs like targeted financial wellness to help restaurant employees better handle their finances can not only improve employee health but also reduce turnover rates and directly impact annual revenues.
To better understand how financial wellness education and tools can address restaurant employees’ needs, it’s important to first understand the nature of the stress employees face that affects their performance and overall happiness.
Here are some of the sources of restaurant workplace stress, and some solutions to improve your brand's workplace.
One of the leading stressors affecting restaurant employees is low wages for many young and entry-level employees. According to PayScale, the median salary for a waiter in the United States is $5.25 per hour (not adjusted for tips).
For restaurant employees, part-time work is generally common. Also common is weekend and evening work, as well as increased shifts during the holiday season. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, these irregular work schedules can tie directly into employee stress.
Employee demographics and personas can help employers better understand the financial wellness tools that can address their employees’ stresses. Every employee’s financial journey is different, so understanding how different cohorts behave can help employers tailor plans to best meet those needs. Here are some broad examples of major employment groups and how their financial needs may differ.
Across the board, younger workers pose a unique situation for employers. Young employees tend to forego retirement planning in favor of more short-term goals like paying off student debt and focusing on their current bills. In fact, close to 70 percent of millennials say they haven’t saved anything for retirement yet, according to a survey from Earnest.
In contrast, older employees are likely thinking about retirement, increased healthcare costs, and sending their children to college. These financial needs mean that the education and resources older employees need to manage their personal finances will differ from their millennial counterparts.
Although wellness benefits like retirement plans are the go-to solution for many employers, they’re rarely a one-size-fits-all solution. Restaurant employers should instead focus on providing individualized benefits to each of their key employee personas to help them better address employees’ needs. Access to financial wellness tools like education and planning can help employees of all income levels and demographics address their own personal financial needs.
In addition to being able to provide customized guidance to employee groups based on their needs, financial wellness programs often feature communication tools that help employers communicate with employees in different ways. Older employees may prefer on-demand access to resources, while younger employees may want frequent digital communications about changes to their benefits.
Financial wellness solutions can often give employers the upper hand when encouraging employees to interact with their personal finances based on their habits and preferences.
Even if an organization is unable to afford adding additional benefits to their roster, financial wellness can provide the education employees need to understand their next financial steps for a typically low cost. The ROI for employers who utilize financial wellness education can be as high as $7 for every $1 invested.
From younger employees not yet focused on retirement who need help paying down student loans to older employees thinking about retirement, taking a holistic approach to financial education and wellness can let restaurant employers give their employees the knowledge and resources they need to address their own financial goals and plans without taking a cookie-cutter approach.
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.