Are you considering adding a financial wellness component to your employee wellness program, but haven’t yet taken the leap? Then consider these facts:

  • 49% of employees are concerned about their finances1
  • 46% state that finances are their top stressor 
  • 48% of those with financial concerns are distracted at work
  • 16% say financial stress affects their health2

However, employees want to be financially fit. The 16th Annual Benefit Trends Study from MetLife3 shows that 84% of employees would use a financial wellness program. Nonetheless, not just any financial wellness program will do. Your company must first find out what your employees want and need so that the program you offer can address their concerns. 

Why is a needs assessment important?

The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans recently produced a study4 entitled Financial Education for Today’s Workforce. In it, they show that for organizations offering financial wellness benefit plans, conducting a needs assessment is a strong indicator of a successful program. 

However, a needs assessment is often overlooked and is one of the three key elements in a financial wellness program that most organizations overlook (See the full article detailing all three elements here).  In fact, of the unsuccessful programs evaluated, not one had started with a needs assessment. 

The best way to determine what your employees need is to ask them by conducting a needs assessment. This is simply a set of questions that will help you identify the needs of your employees as a whole so that you can focus your financial wellness program on the most important items and those with the most impact.

In addition to learning in-depth about what your employees need, you can also:

  • Find out about needs you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. For instance, most companies understand an employee’s need to save for retirement, but on the national level, 25% of employees wish their employers also offered identity theft and credit protection5.
  • Document the needs of your specific employees rather than relying on national studies of workers. The IFEBP survey6 shows that many organizations rely on generic information aimed at generic groups resulting in low participation. 
  • Take actions that are in line with what your employees need so you all reap the rewards. A recent report7 shows that absenteeism caused by stress costs US companies $118 billion each year. 

What to Include in an Assessment

The point of a financial wellness assessment is to determine the wants and needs for your financial wellness program. So, getting at those wants and needs is very important. To do this, you need to ask both objective and subjective questions.

Objective questions include financial measures such as:

  • What is your level of debt?
  • Do you own a home?
  • Do you have an emergency savings plan? If so, how much have you saved? 
  • What is your current credit score?
  • Do you create and live by a budget?
  • And more

Subjective measures include things like:

  • Self-reported financial stress levels
  • How does the employee feel about savings? Spending?
  • What does financial wellness mean to them?
  • How confident are they in making financial decisions?
  • And more

Financial wellness surveys should also include at least one open-ended question that allows employees to state what they want and need the most help with. 

Keep in mind that you will get better results if the survey is done online and is anonymous because your employees are more likely to be honest and objective. However, it is important that your survey classify respondents into groups such as employee departments or executives and non-executives. Without this understanding, the answers you receive may not help you determine what your employees really need and at which levels.

Understanding What You Find

Once you have your employee’s answers, it is time to determine if your organization’s goals for the financial wellness imitative support your employees’ goals. Of course, the overarching goal of any financial wellness program is to increase employee financial health.

However, your company needs to have both short-term and long-term goals that are specific and measurable. These goals need to help employees with current stressors such as credit card debt with future needs such as retirement savings. By doing so, you can create organizational goals that meet the goals of the employees you wish to serve. This will create a program that works.

>>For more information on how Enrich leverages user feedback to personalize the financial wellness learning experience for employees, watch our demo video here.

1 MetLife’s 15th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study

2 2017 PWC Employee Financial Wellness Survey

3 MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study

4 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans - Financial Education for Today's Workforce: 2016 Survey

5 2018 PWC Employee Financial Wellness Survey

6 International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans - Financial Education for Today's Workforce: 2016 Survey

7 Financial Literacy and Workplace Outcomes: Presenteeism and Absenteeism