Fifty years ago, if you asked someone about a financial wellness program, you would have been met with confusion and blank stares.
Now, financial wellness programs are not just popular; they are one of the most desired employee benefits for 2021.
86% of employees say they would participate in a financial wellness program if one were offered through their company.1
The financial wellness benefits market is expected to grow 13% between 2021 and 2026.2
So, with the explosion of interest in financial wellness, how do you choose the right program for you?
Here are 5 key elements to look for when selecting an employee financial wellness program.
The number one key to engaging employees with a financial education program is through personalization.
A one-size-fits-all program is simply not possible when it comes to finance. At least 40% of employees specified that they wanted advice tailored to their age range.1
Considering that employee ages can span fifty or sixty years, financial needs can vary widely.
PWC conducts an annual survey on employee financial wellness. Their survey has discovered differences in needs between Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomer workers. Millennials and Gen X are most likely to worry about having enough money for an unforeseen expense. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, are worried about being able to retire on time.3
Millennials are five times as likely to be carrying student loan debt as Baby Boomers, and 80% of those Millennials say their loans are having a significant impact on their finances.
One thing all generations agree on: financial matters cause them the most stress in their lives.3
So when choosing a financial wellness program, it's critical to look for one that can be personalized to each individual’s needs.
Related article: How Financial Wellness Programs Reduce Employee Financial Stress
2. Performance Reporting
To have a successful program, you need to know what is working and what is not working.
Choose a financial wellness program that offers comprehensive performance analytics. These reports can show you things like return log-in rates and page views per visit.
This can help you gauge how interested employees are in the program and certain topics.
Another helpful metric is time spent on the site. If your wellness program is engaging and easy to interact with, you will see more time spent on the site. A program that is not interesting or not personalized will see people leave with little to no engagement.
To learn more about engagement, check out What is a Good Engagement Level for a Financial Wellness Program?
3. Financial Behavior Assessment
To improve financial wellbeing, it is important to know where you are starting from. Choose a financial wellness program that offers a financial behavior assessment.
Two of the main barriers employees cited as keeping them from improving financial behavior were “I need help identifying my goals,” and “Don’t know how, where to start, or what to do.”1 Financial wellness is a vast and wide-ranging topic. It can be intimidating.
A financial behavior assessment helps employees know where to begin.
It may be easy to slap a financial wellness program on the end of a benefits package and call it a day. But a successful program should be well integrated into company culture.
Integration increases participation by putting the wellness program in front of faces more often. It also helps keep progress on track by prompting reminders to workers.
A stand-alone program is easy to ignore, but a program that is integrated with a health care plan or other benefits will lead to better employee engagement. Try pairing your financial wellness initiatives with health-related challenges like step count contests.
5. An Ongoing Experience
One-time financial education seminars or workshops have been shown to be less effective than an ongoing learning experience.
One study found that repeating interactive exercises and tests helps to increase long term retention.5
Rather than try to teach lifetime financial habits in a single educational workshop, choose a financial wellness program that provides an ongoing interactive experience and is proven to create positive behavior changes.
As with integration and personalization, this makes a big difference in the level of engagement with the program. As a user learns more or their life situation changes, the wellness program should adapt and continue to provide new, relevant information in the changing situation.
Financial wellness programs have become one of the hottest commodities in the workplace benefits market.
Benefits are no longer just pension plans and free coffee. Employees are more stressed about money than ever, and that makes financial wellness a top priority for employers.
When choosing a workplace financial wellness program for your company, make sure to consider these key elements.
Financially secure employees are less stressed, more productive, and happier at their jobs.
1 - https://www.benefitplans.baml.com/publish/content/application/pdf/GWMOL/2017_WBR_ExternalPresentation_R1_060217.pdf
2 - https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2021/02/02/2168153/0/en/The-U-S-financial-wellness-benefits-market-by-revenue-is-expected-to-grow-at-a-CAGR-of-approx-13-during-the-period-2021-2026.html