Consumers are feeling the pressure of rising inflation, which is outpacing employee pay increases and eroding buying power as concerns continue to grow around COVID-19’s lasting impact on the U.S. economy. Our current environment has people concerned about their financial health – and employers should take note.
We are also in a hypercompetitive talent market – and employers need to think differently about how they retain, attract and engage the best and brightest talent.
There’s a growing body of research that demonstrates a person’s financial health can impact their physical and mental well-being, and it is something businesses need to take into account when thinking about overall employee health and well-being. After all, happy and healthy employees are more productive, engaged, and efficient, which leads to better business outcomes.
“Our employees play a critical role in helping us achieve our mission – to improve the health, well-being, and peace of mind of those we serve."Cindy Ryan, chief human resources officer at Cigna
“The competitive talent market requires that companies continue to actively evaluate employee rewards and support programs to help drive the recruitment and retention of talent," Ryan said. "To that end, we’re committed to providing the best possible experience for our employees – particularly those who are most disproportionately impacted by the current economic climate – while continuing to drive affordability for customers and clients.”
Below we look at some of the ways Cigna is supporting the financial health of our employees during this uncertain economic climate.
Investing in Employee Wages
Cigna is committed to being an employer of choice – and offering fair and competitive pay for our employees is one way we can meet that commitment. That’s why we recently announced we’re increasing our minimum wage rate to $17 per hour, higher in certain locations, across the United States, effective August 1. In connection with these adjustments, we will also be providing salary increases above the $17 per hour rate for certain U.S.-based employees who serve in key, critical, mainly frontline roles. And, we plan to increase our investment into Cigna’s global recognition program, which allows us to continuously reward our employees for excellence.
Helping Employees Stay on Top of Their Finances
Cigna offers benefit-eligible employees in the United States access to Kashable, a socially conscious financing company that helps people borrow money to pay down debt, preserve retirement savings, and cover unexpected expenses with affordable loans that are paid back through payroll.
Additionally, Cigna has added an after-tax contribution (non-Roth) option to our 401(k) plan. These after-tax contributions are eligible for company matching, just like pre-tax and Roth contributions. Employees who save on an after-tax basis now have access to funds for emergencies, and only the earnings are taxable upon withdrawal, unlike traditional qualified hardship withdrawals, which are fully taxable. Saving after-tax contributions also allows employees to save more than the traditional annual IRS limits for combined pre-tax and Roth.
Cigna also offers debt and credit counseling to employees through GreenPath, a nonprofit organization that is committed to helping people regain control of their finances, and we help employees resolve student debt through our partnership with Empower.
Building Education and Awareness Around Financial Health
Over the past two years, we’ve made available a number of resources to help employees facing unexpected expenses or financial hardship. For example, employees can get free unlimited 30-minute virtual coaching sessions with a retirement counselor. They also have access to monthly webinars on a variety of financial topics, such as common account management mistakes, overcoming financial setbacks, and establishing and maintaining savings.
We’ve also developed a financial wellness checklist, which is available to all employees via our company intranet. The checklist helps employees take the first step to plan their financial roadmap, with tips on optimizing workplace benefits, paying down bills, preparing a will, and more.
“Financial health is an essential component of whole-person health and well-being,” Cigna's Ryan said. “Personal financial situations can be a key cause of stress for employees, with the potential for considerable impact on a person’s physical and mental health. We will continue to build on the financial resources and benefits we bring to our employees, to help them and their families build a healthy financial future.”
Cigna's Financial Assistance Resources
Need financial advice? Cigna's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here for you.