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65 Ways to Measure the Success of Financial Wellness Programs

Employers and Organizations

Employee Financial Wellness Programs: How to Measure Success


Last Update: March 18, 2021

More and more companies offer financial wellness programs to their employees.

A MassMutual survey found that 42 percent of companies offer some kind of financial wellness benefit, with another 38 percent currently starting a program or planning to start a program within three years.¹ 

However, only about one-third of companies with financial wellness programs measure their success.

Without such measurements, companies may be offering programs that:

  • Don’t meet the needs of their employees
  • Need fine-tuning to improve benefits
  • Waste money by not providing the company with the best return on investment

The whole point of offering a financial wellness program is to make an impact on your employee’s lives and your bottom line.

Without measuring the success of the program, you have no idea if you are meeting those goals.

Getting Started

Before you can measure the success of a financial wellness program, there are three steps you need to take.

1. Identify Goals

If you don’t know what you expect to get by offering a financial wellness program, it will be impossible to determine if the program is working. These goals can be such things as decreased absenteeism, higher participation rate in retirement savings plans, or decreased financial stress.

2. Set Targets

Once goals are established, you need to determine what the target goal is for the area and how that goal will be measured. For some goals, the metrics will be straightforward. It is easy to determine current absenteeism now vs the absenteeism after one year with the program. On the other hand, goals like increased morale will be more subjective.

3. Collect Data

Finally, you will need to know where your employees stand before implementing the financial wellness program to establish benchmarks.

Here are some benchmarks to consider:

  • Number of retirement plan loans
  • Percentage of employees with retirement plan loans
  • Average retirement loan balance
  • Average number of loans taken per employee
  • Turnover rate
  • Retirement plan participation rate
  • EAP participation rate
  • Average retirement account balance
  • Average credit card balance
  • Average student loan balance
  • Percentage of employees with student loans
  • Absenteeism

Which Metrics to Consider

It is not feasible to measure every aspect of your employees’ financial health and the financial wellness program you provide.

Additionally, it may be more important at different times of the rollout to focus on different aspects of the program.

Here are six metrics to consider:

1. Financial Wellness Program Engagement

To be effective, your employees will have to know about and engage with your financial wellness program. This metric is very important when you first offer a program, and as you onboard new employees.

Things to measure include:

  • Percent of employees who respond to promotional materials, ie, open promotional emails, respond to the call-to-action, etc
  • Percent of employees who respond to implementation launch, ie attend a booth, participate in a lunch and learn about the program, etc
  • Percent of employees signing up for the program or incentive
  • Percent of employees who engaged with the program, ie, watched a video, started a class, attended a group seminar, etc

To read more on this, check out: What is a Good Engagement Level for a Financial Wellness Program?

2. Employee Benefits Participation

When employees are participating in company retirement and other savings plans, this is a good indicator that employee financial health is high. On the other hand, taking 401(k) or emergency loans may indicate poor financial health. Things to measure include:

  • Retirement plan participation rate
  • Number of retirement loans
  • Percentage of employees with retirement loans
  • Average retirement loan balance
  • HSA participation rate
  • Other savings programs participation rate
  • Number of payday and/or emergency loans
  • Percentage of employees needing payday and/or emergency loans
  • Average emergency loan amount

3. Employee Financial Health

Financial health is tied directly with having financial stability and little financial stress, according to 2020 PWC survey findings².  This included such things as being debt-free (18 percent), having enough savings (16 percent), and meeting monthly expenses (14 percent). Things to measure in this category include:

  • Credit card balances
  • Percentage of employees with an emergency savings fund
  • Percentage of employees with at least 3 months of income in an emergency savings fund
  • Employee stated level of financial stress
  • Percentage of employees able to meet month-to-month financial obligations

It’s a good idea to start with benchmark numbers for these before launching the financial wellness program. For more on this, read “How to Create an Employee Financial Wellness Survey”.

4. Productivity, Absenteeism, and Associated Healthcare Costs Related to Stress

The PWC survey found that almost half of financially stressed employees find their financial issues to be a distraction while on the job.

Additionally, financially stressed employees miss work, spend time dealing with financial issues during work hours, experience stress-related illnesses, and have more accidents.

Therefore, consider measuring such things as:

  • Data on workers’ comp claims
  • Number of claims for stress-related illnesses
  • Number of sick days taken per year
  • Number of workplace accidents
  • Number of hours spent on the job each week on financial worries

5. Employee Loyalty and Turnover

The same PWC survey found that 78 percent of financially stressed employees would change employers if they felt the new employer cared more about their financial well-being. Just as interesting, 63 percent of non-stressed employees felt the same way.

Plus, millennials (46 percent) and members of Gen X (44 percent) state they feel more loyal to companies that appear to care about their financial issues.

Things to measure include:

  • Employee turnover rate
  • Self-reported employee loyalty
  • Time it takes to fill employment vacancies

6. Employee Feedback

Finally, all companies providing a financial wellness program should ask their employees what they think of the program and how it is helping them achieve their financial wellness goals.

Doing so will help organizations understand what works and what does not.  When asking for feedback, look at the satisfaction survey results.

The survey should focus on:

  • Percentage of employees satisfied with the overall program
  • Percentage of employees satisfied with specific aspects of the program such as lunch and learn meetings, online classes, financial counseling, etc
  • Percentage of employees satisfied with the communication of the program
  • Data showing how employees use the program
  • Data showing when employees use the program

Employers are well-positioned to help their employees attain financial health through the use of holistic financial wellness programs.

When these programs meet the needs of employees, everyone wins.

However, the only way to know for sure that this benefit is meeting the needs of your employees is to collect data and measure the program’s success.

For more on this topic, check out “The Definitive Guide to Financial Wellness Program Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)”.



1 - https://retire.massmutual.com/retire/email/business/rs48427.pdf?_ga=2.97591071.1055201769.1603730679-512161864.1603730679

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

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