So, we’ve talked about the need for financial wellness programs and supporting statistics, where to get started, and how to build the program and educate employees. In this fifth installment of the Financial Wellness Series, we will examine some best practices of a financial wellness program to ensure everyone is getting the most out of them!
Financial wellness program best practices include consulting with experts and using a confidential employee financial stress assessment survey to start moving employees through the Employee Financial Wellness Cycle.
Employee Stress Assessment Survey: A confidential employee financial wellness assessment survey is the first step. It lets employees assess their own economic situation and provides a baseline for employee stress levels. It can be done on a yearly basis to measure the impact of your financial wellness education. The survey questions should reflect the employee base.
Sample Stress Assessment Questions:
1. How happy are you with your personal financial situation?
2. How often do you think about money?
3. On a scale from 1 to 10, how stressed do you feel about your economic situation?
4. How confident do you feel about having enough money for retirement?
5. How would you like to learn? Online or in-person?
6. Which topics would you like to learn more about:
Employee Financial Wellness Cycle: A well-tuned Employee Financial Wellness Cycle can help ensure more employees achieve financial wellness faster. Engage with experts to determine the best employee approach for optimal success.
Engage with experts to help:
1. Assess employee stress levels.
2. Develop program that meets employee needs focusing on awareness and financial education.
3. Enable employees to easily engage in a program that motivates them to succeed. Offer one-on-one access to a financial advisor to those that want help.
4. Measure program success to constantly improve.
Key Financial Wellness Program Considerations: There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to a financial wellness program. The key is to implement a program that works for your employees and view the program as a long-term investment in your business. There are key elements to consider when choosing a program and include ensuring the program is:
- Confidential and offers financial wellness screening.
- Objective and unbiased.
- Clear on the implementation process.
- Linked to existing employee benefit programs.
- Embraced by management and becomes part of the company culture.
- Reflective and responsive to employee demographics.
- Easy for employees to engage.
- Within budget.
- Flexible, needs-driven, and meaningful, and meets employees where they are, when they are.
- Custom and takes into consideration partners, credit scores, major life events.
- Motivating and includes incentives.
- Effectively, continuously, and consistently communicates using a variety of digital and in-person channels.
- Full of A-Z comprehensive, holistic financial information and education.
- Continuously measured, providing tangible ways for employees to succeed and constantly improve.
Participation Barriers: Of all the barriers to financial wellness program participation, 69% of employees say the biggest is lack of information and awareness. Relevant and consistent employee communication is vital and there are key steps to take on the path to a successful employee financial wellness education program.
Tip: 68% of plan sponsors feel targeted employee communications works best and 66% say group meetings are most effective.
Technology: Technology has evolved to the point where gathering data and tracking trends is allowing advisors to help employers quantify the impact of these key employee benefits and participant behaviors over time and use the information to constantly improve. New technologies also allow for more cost-effective delivery methods and customization of financial education and wellness support. Today there are several options for interactive financial planning and aggregation software available that can be useful while implementing or improving a financial wellness program.
Costs: A financial wellness program does not need to be complicated or expensive. Programs with the highest success rates are independent and incorporate the best practices listed above. Employee progress through the Employee Financial Wellness Cycle can help determine and measure value for the services provided. And financial wellness programs can be a more cost-effective way of delivering the benefit education you are already giving your employees – with better results.
When it comes to costs just remember, it’s not how much you pay for your financial wellness program that will make the difference for your employees, it’s what’s delivered to them. Providing information in an objective way, on a consistent basis, will have the most impact and provide the most value.
By implementing these best practices and keeping the considerations at the forefront of your employee financial wellness program, you can ensure a successful program whose effectiveness can measured each year. To get started on learning more about this, reach out to your local AssuredPartners Employee Benefits representative today to find the best options for your organization.
 “Engage Me”, Study by HealthFitness, 2016.
 Annual Defined Contribution Benchmarking Survey, Ease of Use Drives Engagement in Saving for Retirement, 2015, Deloitte.