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How to Integrate Financial Wellness into an Employee Health and Wellness Program


Last Update: May 18, 2020

Employee financial wellness is a hot topic as organization leaders examine ways to improve the bottom line. Studies from Fidelity1 and PWC2, among others, have shaped the financial wellness conversation with statistics such as:

  • Financial stress distracts as many as 35 percent of an organization’s employees.
  • Nearly 50 percent of financially distracted employees spend three or more hours at work dealing with personal financial issues.
  • Employees with high debt are two times more likely to miss work than those with little debt.
  • Financially stressed employees are 10 times as likely to be dissatisfied with their job and 2.2 times more likely to look for a new job.
  • Employees under financial stress lose 23 to 31 days of productive work per year. 

With such numbers, it is no wonder that smart companies look to financial wellness programs, shown to have an ROI of at least $1 to $3 per employee.  

Some employers worry that adding a financial wellness program on top of their health and wellness program may be confusing or overwhelming to their employees. However, that doesn’t have to be the case.  

Health and Wellness Go Hand-in-Hand

Although there has traditionally been a separation between financial wellness and health, these two programs have a natural relationship. Studies have shown that financial stress affects health, and poor health affects finances.

For example, according to Fidelity1, financially stressed employees are two times less likely to:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get a flu shot
  • Eat healthily
  • Have regular visits to the doctor and dentist
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid tobacco use

All of this leads to being less healthy and earning less money due to stress-related illness. A study by The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association suggests that between 75 percent and 90 percent of all visits to primary care doctors are for stress-related medical issues. Fidelity found that some of the biggest stressors are financial.

Given the natural relationship between health and financial wellness, employees yearn for a holistic wellness program that looks at both.

Check to See if Your Current Health Wellness Program has an Financial Wellness Upgrade

Enrich Financial Wellness has integrated with several health wellness programs, including Castlight Health, WebMD Health Services, Virgin Pulse, and Anthem Engage.

Different But the Same

On the technical side, even though the health wellness and financial wellness may be different programs offered by different platforms, they do not have to feel different to employees.

Single Sign-On: Many financial wellness programs offer a single sign-on, in which employees have one set of credentials to login onto both programs.

Platform Customization: Enrich offers customization that allows organizations to match the branding of their health and wellness program. With a simple click of a button, the employee moves effortlessly from health to financial, not even realizing they have changed tools.

Tracking: The technical integration of both programs should include tracking that uses data to help companies compare financial stress to health. At Enrich, we’ve found that as financial stress goes down, good health indicators, such as seeing a doctor for checkups and maintaining an exercise program, go up. 

Cross-Boundary Content

Financial issues affect more than finances and health issues affect more than physical health. Yet, the content for many health and wellness programs never touches on financial wellness, and many financial wellness programs never talk about health. Since both of these life components do not exist in a vacuum, it makes sense for both to contain information about the other.

This type of “crossover” content is one of the most impactful “best practices” for driving employee engagement for your financial wellbeing program.

Healthcare is one of the biggest expenses an employee faces, yet many employees have no idea how to pick an appropriate health plan. When open enrollment comes around, they pick a plan with no real understanding and then deal with the financial burdens if they chose incorrectly.

Enrich provides a tool that helps employees understand their different healthcare options based on:

  • Family size and make-up
  • Ages of family members
  • Current medical conditions

Employees can then determine the most cost-effective way to cover their medical expenses based on their unique needs.

Don’t Overcomplicate Things

Finally, the key is to keep things simple, especially for financially-stressed employees. Someone who is having trouble paying their bills on time is not likely to want a 12-hour seminar on retirement investing. Instead, think of the old-age question, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

Avoid programs that focus mainly on audits, workshops, retirement readiness, consultation and visits with a certified financial planner. Instead, keep it simple with financial wellness surveys, budgets, videos, checkups and access to counselors.

Employee financial wellness doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, your employees will get more out of it if you find ways to integrate the program into something they already know and use. Then, as employee financial stress decreases and health improves, you’ll see your company’s bottom line improve as well.

For more information about this topic, download this “Effects of Financial Literacy on Health” white paper.




1 - https://www.fidelity.com/bin-public/060_www_fidelity_com/documents/press-release/Fidelity-Well-Being-Survey-041819.pdf

2 - https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industries/private-company-services/library/financial-well-being-retirement-survey.html

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