We are often asked by business leaders, “what do you believe are the key ingredients to a well-run financial wellness program for employees?”. We felt it was such a relevant question that we should put together a list of The FIVE ESSENTIALS for a World-class Financial Wellness Program
I hope you find this helpful!
1. Comprehensive and Unbiased
Employer-provided group benefits are a terrific thing, but one thing they are not, is a wellness program. A Financial Wellness program should augment your current group benefits, not compete against them. The term “comprehensive” is probably over-used these days, but when we use this term, we really mean it. Comprehensive financial wellness should include basic, intermediate and advanced level topics and concepts.
Once a comprehensive curriculum has been achieved, organizations and wellness champions must make certain that they remove as much bias as possible. This can be a challenge as we all have our own experiences, beliefs and preferences in the world of personal finance. The first and easiest bias to remove can be as simple as not having the insurance carrier or investment company representative deliver the curriculum. Even with the purest of intentions, employees fear they might be getting pointed in the direction of a financial product that is good for the representative; not necessarily best for them and their family.
This may seem obvious, but it is one of the top concerns of employers and one of the primary reasons employers might hesitate to offer financial wellness to their employees. If a financial product is being sold, promoted, endorsed or solicited in any manner, it stops being financial wellness education and starts being a sales pitch.
As employees, our defensive mechanisms are up and running and for good reason! We are being advertised to and solicited on what seems to be a minute-to-minute basis from the time we turn on our radio on the drive into to work, until we finally turn off all our electronics at the end of the night.
Offer non-solicitous financial wellness education and watch employees turn into raving fans!
3. Relevant and Goal-based
What good is it if we deliver top-notch education if it is not what our people want or need to hear?
Let’s not assume we know what the people in our organizations need to hear, but instead do some very basic data gathering. Polls, surveys, interviews, water cooler conversations all suffice. Truly, anything is better than nothing.
Find out what their biggest challenges are, what’s keeping them up at night, what has them distracted and worried the deliver financial wellness curriculum that meets them at their place of greatest need.
A goal-based philosophy keeps the attention and focus on what our people most need to accomplish versus us just checking the box that we have offered the most popular financial wellness class topics. Goals should be personal; goals should be meaningful; goals should be inspiring!
Make your financial wellness program about what’s most important to your people and their dreams of living in financial wellness!
4. Behavior Change
Too often, education without action is merely entertainment. We should set our sights on encouraging and supporting healthy behavior change as we deliver financial wellness. For some time now behavior change modeling has been the cornerstone of a well-run and effective wellness programs. Nothing changes just because we are talking about financial wellness!
Some people will be ready to make changes to their financial behaviors, but some will not and that’s OK. Our job is to create a safe environment with terrific content and a clear path for people to take a first step in replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones.
Financial wellness relies upon healthy behavior, healthy behavior relies upon healthy thinking and beliefs about our finances. These three interrelated components are essential in sustainable financial wellness.
5. Measurable ROI/Analytics
How do we know if we’re winning if no one is keeping score?
For years now, studies have shown the positive financial returns to employers whom invest in their employees’ financial wellness, but as individual organizations – what are we measuring?
The results are there, we just need to capture the data and turn it into meaningful and measurable analytics that can be used to improve and expand future financial wellness initiatives.
Much like we encourage individuals to pursue their personal financial wellness with a goal-based approach, we as employers and wellness champions should do the same with our financial wellness programs.
What are the top pains we are trying to eliminate and what are the top gains we are trying to obtain?
What results do we need to see for a financial wellness program to be considered effective and profitable to everyone involved?
What data needs to be captured and when and how should it be reported?
These are questions that’ll help you get a better understanding of the processes that are essential for developing a world class financial wellness program for your employees.
I hope you found these FIVE ESSENTIALS for a World-class Financial Wellness Program to be informative, inspiring, and action-oriented!
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