Some things catch your attention. Others can make you gasp.
For an example of the latter, consider this week’s announcement from OnShift: Senior living employees using its Wallet app likely will tap into more than $30 million in wages this year before actually being paid. (Full disclosure: OnShift advertises with McKnight’s.)
On the one hand, it’s nice that employees can use this tool to better manage their living costs. On the other hand, holy cow! There sure seem to be a lot of people in this field who can’t survive from paycheck to paycheck.
Not that senior living has a monopoly on workers living on the fiscal edge. A recent Commonwealth survey found that four in 10 hourly workers have less than $400 in savings set aside for things such as emergencies, accidents or unexpected expenses.
So what’s to be done? The obvious answer, of course, is to pay workers more money. But economic reality makes that a nonstarter for many senior living communities. Labor costs already are the biggest expense in this sector, and many operators are in no position to make things even more lopsided.
To be sure, there is no silver bullet here. But the same survey found that an incremental step might make a big difference. Namely, offer a savings intervention at the time of a raise. One way to do this is to divert the additional pay into a savings account where it can grow, rather than into an existing checking account, where it surely will perish.
Three-quarters of the surveyed workers said that if their employer offered savings options at the time of a raise, then they would be less stressed and feel more confident about their finances.
The survey didn’t address this matter, but I have to believe less-stressed employees will help your community in two important ways.
The first is that they will probably do their jobs better. The second is that they will be less likely to look for employment elsewhere.