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What Makes the Best Financial Wellness Programs?

How do you know a good solution when you see one? And what does your company and its employee base uniquely require from a financial wellness program? These are questions we hope to answer by the end of the article. 

December 1, 2022

Benefits that support long-term employee health, wellness, and wellbeing are quickly rising to the top of most desirable organizational advantages among the modern US workforce. Among these benefits, financial wellness programs – initiatives that promote and facilitate financial literacy, planning and management – are being accessed for the increased security, reduced stress, and long-term stability they provide to individual workers and their families. 

If you haven’t already engaged a financial wellness solution for your organization, the time to start shopping is now. But despite the relatively recent popularity of these programs, there are already a number on the market to choose from, making the process of selection a less-than-intuitive undertaking. How do you know a good solution when you see one? And what does your company and its employee base uniquely require from a financial wellness program? These are questions we hope to answer by the end of the article. 

Searching for the best financial wellness programs for employees?

Financial benefits cannot exist in a silo away from other aspects of employer-provided support, but should be factored into the holistic picture of what an organization is offering to truly promote continued success and stability for your workforce. 

One critical piece of criteria you should look for in a financial wellness solution is this idea of an integrated view of benefits. Retirement, healthcare, and other insurance benefits all factor into employee financial management, and it’s important that your program is able to do this for you. 

Other criteria you should look for when shopping for your solution include:

  • Accessibility and inclusivity: tools and resources should be easy to navigate for everyone on your team.
  • An emphasis on education: a shiny dashboard is not enough. Financial wellness programs should help to build financial literacy for your employees, first and foremost. 
  • Flexibility: the program you choose should personalize every employee’s experience so they can access it in a way that works for their unique financial situation.

Features of the best financial wellness programs

Let’s get a little more specific. 

Here are a few of the top-priority features modern financial wellness solutions should have, and organizations should look for. 

  1. Person-to-person financial planning. Real financial counselors set your employees up for success on the road to financial literacy and stability.

  2. Navigable digital financial literacy education resources. Engaging educational resources can help drive home some of the lessons that will make your employees better personal finance strategists.

  3. Accessible, easy-to-use tools. Solutions should have integrated implements for handling money management, financial planning, savings, investments, and more.

  4. Integration of personal finance and total rewards. Healthcare, insurance, education, and other financially relevant benefits should be considered alongside your employee’s income. 

The best financial wellness programs work with your goals

Like most employee benefits, financial wellness programming can be leveraged to drive organizational goals. With the right solution in your toolkit, you can support numerous human objectives for your company, including:

  • Improved productivity.
  • Improved employee engagement.
  • Decreased absenteeism.
  • Increased retention.
  • Increased employee satisfaction and happiness.

Recent research shows that 64% of adults suffer from finance-related stress. And a study from 2017 demonstrated that 56% of respondents can be categorized as “financially unhealthy.” Both stress and poor finances and financial literacy can have a detrimental effect on the workforce, leading to more sick days taken, shorter employee tenure, and lost organizational productivity and performance overall. 

But the right financial wellness program will help your organization fight these statistics with comprehensive and meaningful support offering long-term solutions to employee financial problems that help them not only survive but thrive in the face of economic uncertainty. 

A comprehensive solution helps to reduce employee stress and health incidents by empowering them to manage and plan their personal finances, minimize and overcome debt, and plan for the future through financial education and resourcing.

Getting started with financial wellness programs

Implementing your new financial wellness program takes a little more than simply clicking a button. To give your new programming its best chance of success, there are a few bricks you need to lay, first.

  1. Establish success metrics. Launching any new program risks a few bumps along the way. Deciding what metrics to track before you set off will help you more easily address any problems which may arise, track ROI, make adjustments, and measure the positive impact of program successes.

  2. Get stakeholder buy-in. C-suite support will be critical to implementing a new benefit, and should be achievable through a thorough demonstration of the business case for financial wellness programming. Other stakeholders you need to convince are team leads and employees themselves to ensure engagement and cultural facilitation.

  3. Communicate with your employees. Perhaps the most vital step – you need to let your workforce know this benefit is available, how they can access it, and what the advantages are to engaging in this supportive new program.

    Learn how to effectively communicate about benefits to current and future employees:
    How to Communicate Employee Benefits

Showcasing your new financial wellness programs to employees

According to Gallup, Millennial engagement was critically improved in 2021 in part due to increased transparency on the part of the employer. Engaging a similar strategy for implementation of new benefits can help to garner workforce interest and ensure a smooth rollout. 

  • Once the program has been greenlit, start communications with employees as early as possible: try to get them familiarized with the goals and intention of the program, the advantages they will gain, and how it can be accessed. 
  • Upon launch, offer trainings that help to familiarize your workforce with platform functionality and navigation. If your solution offers one-on-one appointments with financial planners, sign workers up for an initial tour that will help them get started. Make sure all trainings and orientations to the program happen on-the-clock to make it as accessible as possible. 
  • You can give employees the option of working with a manager or expert for guided enrollment. Also consider setting incentives which reward employees for taking this important step on their journey to financial wellness.

Measuring the impact of your financial wellness program

Tracking the success of your financial wellness programming will require a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. 

You should commit to tracking the metrics you set at the beginning. This can include things like improved retention, reduced absenteeism, fewer withdrawals from 401K accounts, etc. 

If the ultimate goal however is reduced employee stress and increased financial confidence and literacy, you need to gather anecdotal evidence from your workers to track these changes. 

Issuing a survey regarding employee opinion, experience, and satisfaction over the course of their relationship with the program will give you critical insight into how your financial wellness program is impacting the lives of your workers. 

Click here to learn more about building a benefits survey.

Adding Origin to enhance your best-in-class employee benefits programs

Origin is a financial wellness solution that takes a holistic approach to money management, savings, financial strategy, benefits, and more to help your workforce build a better financial future for themselves and their families. Offering comprehensive access to financial education resources, accessible tools, and Certified Financial Planners, Origin wants to help your company reach its goals by supporting a healthier and empowered employee base. 

See what else Origin can do for you by signing up for a free demo today.

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