Employee perspectives in changing times

Over the past few months, we have faced significant change in our lives. Our workplaces, employees, families and communities have all been affected—but where do we stand now? Findings from recent surveys can help us better understand employees’ experiences and feelings as they navigate a changing world. We’d like to share some of those findings with you.

Overall, Americans are acutely feeling the economic effects of the coronavirus:

More than 6 in 10 say it has already harmed their financial situation.1

More than 1 in 3 say they have lost their job or have seen a cut in their pay or hours.1
Pessimism about the economy in both the short and medium terms is up since March 2020.1
Most (82%) strongly or somewhat agree that the coronavirus will have a financial impact on them and their families.2
The majority (82%) believe it will be at least several months before life gets back to normal or that it may never get back to normal.1

But there are some positive findings:

Two-thirds are at least somewhat confident in reaching their long-term financial goals.2

Americans give high marks for how essential businesses and local institutions are handling the coronavirus.1
Those who are still working rate their employer highly.1

When asked what they would be comfortable doing once the coronavirus restrictions have been lifted:

68% said “go to a restaurant, bar or coffee shop.”1

66% (among parents) responded “send kids back to school.”1
60% said “go to a shopping mall.”1

Attending a concert or sports game, taking a flight or public transportation, and shaking hands were among the least popular activities reported.1

Among those who have an employer-sponsored retirement account, most have not made changes.2 Of the small number who changed their contribution (lowered or stopped), the majority plan to readjust it within the year.2

How we’re using these insights

In this time of change and as we adjust to a new normal, employees will reassess their financial priorities. It is as important as ever to give employees the tools and assistance they need to get and stay on track toward their financial goals. Within this context, we are reviewing our existing suite of educational materials to modify messaging as appropriate. We are developing new resources to help employees manage their financial lives and make informed decisions. One example is a new guide using various investor scenarios, with key considerations and potential impacts of each scenario.

In addition, rolling out this year to all 401(k) plans is our new Financial Wellness Tracker, an innovative digital experience that provides an individual financial wellness score and suggested action plan to help guide employees to healthier financial lives. Participants who have gone through the experience as part of an early adopter program have responded quite positively, stating they identified gaps in their financial wellness and learned about ways to close those gaps.

We’re also exploring virtual events that can deliver “in-person” education to employees in place of onsite sessions. A positive result of the pandemic is how it has dramatically elevated digital engagement, with people interacting online like never before. In fact, the majority of employees (65%) are now using Benefits OnLine® (BOL) app and website versus the Contact Center to request transactions and get answers to their questions—a 30% increase compared with this time last year.3

We’re continuing to invest in making the online experiences—app and website—modern, simplified and engaging. Several exciting enhancements are coming later this year, including the launch of redesigned pages on BOL and new transactional capabilities on the app. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to help employees make the most of these digital channels, and to modify your financial wellness programs as needed to align with the current environment.

Any new products, services, enhancements, and release dates are subject to change based solely on Bank of America decision, including not proceeding with a planned offering.

1 Benenson Strategy Group’s Pulse of America Survey from April 27, 2020, 1,000 respondents.

2 Bank of America online community survey, May 2020, 1,600 respondents.

3 April 30, 2020 vs. April 30, 2019.