When conducting a financial-needs assessment, employers should gather demographic data — generation, life-stage, family structure, and financial circumstances — and analyze existing benefit plan data — such as retirement plan contributions and loans and disability claims — to assess the financial health and coverage of employees.
This quantifiable data can help employers define their financial wellness program objectives and tailor benefits accordingly to best help their employees.
2. Ensure a personalized approach
Because today’s workforce is diverse and multi-generational, often with unique career paths, employers need to offer and communicate solutions in a way that meet employees’ individual needs and support their whole selves.
Boomers who are behind in retirement may need personalized guidance to help them get on track to meet their goals. Gen X employees sandwiched between caring for children and aging loved ones may have a higher need for both child and elder-care. Millennials starting families and buying homes may need education on how life insurance can provide financial protection and how some legal solutions could assist with real estate matters and wills. Gen Z employees, more recently out of college, may value student-debt reduction programs.
3. Make it easy and enticing for employees to participate
Employers must consider a multi-channel approach, giving employees the flexibility to choose how and when they want to engage and take action — whether it’s online at their own pace, or in-person or on the phone with trained professionals. Ideally, solutions should integrate existing employee benefits to deliver cohesive education and coaching across multiple channels.
An effective program also breaks down suggested actions into attainable, goal-based steps. Communications should also be optimized with clearly defined action steps to support ongoing engagement.
4. Measure the impact and value of such programs
The most successful financial wellness programs allow employers to understand the impact they have on the workforce so they can gain insights into employees’ financial health and the return on their offerings. And because employees are constantly evolving, it’s a good idea for employers to continuously review and evaluate their workforce and its needs and desires — and simultaneously implement a measurement program that helps evaluate their programs’ effectiveness.
Increasingly, companies are using value-of-investment (VOI) to evaluate workplace financial wellness programs. VOI considers more than just hard-dollar savings — measuring elements such as employee productivity, engagement, overall job satisfaction, as well as costs associated with absenteeism, disability claims, and turnover. Key stakeholders across the company should work together to determine what metrics should be evaluated to assess program success.