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Finance & Investment
Chipotle, Chobani, Verizon Among Companies Committing to Financial Health of US Workforce

Member companies will assess the financial security and health of their employees as part of a new effort to address the economic hardships of workers.

Chipotle, Chobani, Even, Prudential Financial, Verizon and other leading companies have joined PayPal and JUST Capital in the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative — a coalition aimed at making workers’ financial security and health a C-suite and investor priority. The initiative elevates worker financial wellbeing to a top priority as business leaders consider solutions to shape a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and take action for racial equity.

Research shows that improving workers’ financial wellness benefits not only workers themselves, but also business outcomes including productivity, innovation, customer satisfaction, and employee turnover and engagement. The Worker Financial Wellness Initiative joins those from a growing number of corporate heavyweights (including AppleStarbucks, EVERFI, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Mastercard and Visa, to name a few) that have turned their attention to improving worker inclusivity and wellbeing — particularly for minorities and women, who have been disproportionately impacted during the pandemic.

PayPal and JUST Capital launched the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative in October 2020, in collaboration with Financial Health Network and Good Jobs Institute. Companies joining the initiative commit to conducting a financial wellness assessment of their workforce to understand their financial vulnerability and identify opportunities to improve their resilience over the long term. Specifically, these companies will complete at least one assessment within a 12-month period, such as an employer-provided benefits assessment, an employee survey, or a living wage assessment.

“If we are going to deliver on the promise of stakeholder capitalism, we need to help more corporate leaders and investors understand that employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and that investing in their well-being will drive long-term financial success,” said JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker. “Through the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative, we’ll continue to build the growing body of evidence demonstrating the connection between the financial security of a company’s workforce and their overall business performance, and refute the anachronistic Wall Street narrative that raising wages destroys value.”

PayPal conducted an assessment on the financial wellness of its hourly and entry-level workforce in 2018 and found that many employees were struggling to pay their bills each month despite market pay alignment. The findings propelled the company to institute several changes to improve its employees’ financial well-being, including lowering the cost of healthcare benefits, making every employee a stockholder, raising wages where appropriate, and offering new financial coaching programs. Since implementing these changes, the company has helped raise the minimum PayPal-defined estimated net disposable income for hourly and entry-level workers in the U.S. to at least 18 percent, making significant progress to reaching its target of 20 percent for all employees globally.

“At Chipotle, we believe in investing in the overall wellness of our employees by offering robust benefits that address physical, mental and financial health,” said chairman and CEO Brian Niccol. “Being a founding company in the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative demonstrates our commitment to being an industry leader and ensuring that we’re truly assessing the comprehensive needs of our workforce. Joining forces with other leading organizations and using our collective voices will shed greater visibility on this important matter — impacting not only our individual companies, but potentially the economy as a whole.”

Participants in the initiative will have access to a wealth of resources — including quarterly webinars highlighting company best practices, and guidance on developing and deploying financial wellness assessments. Companies interested in more specialized tools and resources can receive tailored recommendations from initiative partners based on their assessment results, as well as enhanced peer learning workshops for HR teams. The partner organizations will also continue to share case studies, business case analysis and best-practice insights to help educate, inform and catalyze the wider business community.

With the first cohort representing approximately 260,000 US workers across a range of industries, the program presents a unique opportunity to demonstrate what companies can accomplish when they come together with a shared goal of improving the financial health and resilience of workers across the nation.

"It's no secret that it is getting harder to recruit and retain talent at all levels, especially with hourly employees," said Jon Schlossberg, co-founder and executive chairman with on-demand pay platform Even — which PayPal recently enlisted to help it improve the financial health of its own workforce. “During a time where keeping a productive and loyal workforce is crucial, Even provides employees with the tools they need to improve their financial health; and in return employers are rewarded with a more productive, engaged and loyal workforce. We're proud to be part of this initiative and look forward to partnering with this coalition to raise the importance for all employers to play an active role in the financial health of their workforce."

Companies interested in joining the Worker Financial Wellness Initiative can learn more here.