Worcester Business Journal

Three Assumption University graduates were included in the Worcester Business Journal 40 Under Forty annual list. This list includes entrepreneurs, creators and influencers from the Worcester and Central Massachusetts regions. The list this year was remarkable because of how these people were able not only to persevere but also thrive despite the hardships caused by the pandemic.

Allison James ’05 was the chief operating officer and COVID-19 manger of Girls Inc. of Worcester. She worked tirelessly to ensure that services and operations were maintained throughout the pandemic. Girls Inc. continues to meet its goal of double the number of girls it serves under James’s direction. It currently supports 1,000 girls per year, most of whom are girls of color from low-to moderate income families.

Paul Lincoln G’12 is a sales auditor for TJX Companies. He also owns Lincoln Crafted which sells candles made of recycled craft beer cans and seltzer bottles. Lincoln gives a portion of his monthly profits to local charities and is active with the Jimmy Fund, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass, and Worcester Business Journal.

Kat Stevens, LMHC G’12 was the CEO of Recovery Centers of America at Westminster. She helped provide safe spaces for thousands of patients during this pandemic. WBJ reports that RCA’s bed capacity has increased by nearly 100 percent under her leadership.

The next frontier in Employee Benefits

Many workers have been inspired by the pandemic to reevaluate their job search and are now calling it The Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million people left their jobs in August 2021. This is almost 3% of America’s workforce. Worcester Business Journal surveyed more than half of respondents (55%) who said they were likely to search for a job within the next year. This is significant, considering that it costs 33% to replace a worker if they quit.

Employers often look at ways to improve work-life balance and offer employees the opportunity to work remotely when trying to attract and retain workers. Some employers offer health insurance plans that include health incentives and health benefits for employees who exercise or begin a new diet.

Many employers don’t give financial wellbeing the same attention as physical health to their employees. They should. Financial stress costs employers $4.7 billion per week. Bright Plan surveyed 1,500 workers and found that 55% of them said their financial situation has deteriorated since the pandemic. 46% of those workers have experienced lower productivity. MetLife Employee Benefit Trends found that people who worry less about their finances are more productive. According to a MetLife Employee Benefit Trends study, 85% of financially well-off workers felt more productive at work.

What if employers offered workers the opportunity to improve their financial health in addition to other Worcester Business Journal benefits? It’s more than just sending financial literacy information to your employees or connecting you with a webinar on how to plan your personal budget. It involves connecting them to a qualified financial coach who can meet one-on-one with them. A great coach will not judge, make excuses, or sell products. They are available to answer your questions and give the support and tools that will enable you to make smart decisions no matter where you may be at this stage in your life. Participants will have less stress about money and more satisfaction in their jobs, which could lead to lower health care costs.

Workers Credit Union’s Workers Way at Work program gives Massachusetts employers free access to financial coaches that they can offer to their employees as an added benefit. This additional benefit can increase productivity and retention. Employees will be more focused on their jobs if they are not distracted by worries about how they will pay their bills each month or buy the tires they need in time for winter. Financial wellness benefits can strengthen corporate culture and increase participation in company retirement plans. It shows employees that the company they work for values their financial well-being, and is willing to work with them in order to help them succeed.

Worcester Business Journal

Worcester Business Journal is a biweekly regional publication that serves Central Massachusetts. WBJ was founded in 1990 and is the most trusted source of regional business news. WBJ publishes a biweekly print lifestyle magazine, targeted daily and weekly emails, as well as 12 annual events and a special publications division. WBJ is part of New England Business Media. It also owns and runs the Hartford Business Journal, Mainebiz and Mainebiz.