A financial wellness program is executed with the objective of educating employees at the ultimate goal of increasing their financial well being. This is supplemental to the standard employee benefits that goes beyond retirement planning and investing information. They help the employee feel financially secure, with a properly devised plan based on how and when they can be managing their finances for both the present and future. Employees reportedly spend approximately 150 work hours annually worrying about money. That’s almost four weeks of work time!
A recent study from Financial Finesse indicated that a company with 50,000 employees could save around $33 million to $49 million annually just by increasing their financial wellness score of its workforce by one point on a 10-point scale.
Google offers its workers financial wellness resources, such as access to financial advisors and financial planning services. In addition to this, the company is the most well-known example that goes to great lengths to keep its employees happy with free lunches, snack kitchens, happy hours, casual dress code, commuter shuttles, on-site laundry service with the belief that perks are a critical weapon in the war to recruit top talent.
But not all employees are attracted to frills and perks.
Glassdoor’s recent employment confidence survey shined light on the priorities of its employees. It revealed that just one-in-five employees rate office perks as important. These fringe benefits in fact, were rated ninth in a ranking of what mattered most to their employees. An individual more concerned about mounting debts or chronic illnesses has little interest in unlimited coffee or happy hours. No surprises then, that medical coverage, retirement plans, and wellness programs rank significantly higher and are supposedly crucial benefits that serve to reduce stress outside of the workplace.
Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank launched a financial education program called Momentum onUp geared towards improving their employees’ financial health. With the use of videos, modules and other learning activities, its motive is to boost user confidence in personal finance. Employees were also offered classes on financial education, projected account balance statements, retirement income calculators, online resources and personal consultation services.
Multinational professional services company Accenture, had a slightly different take on financial wellness programs – stating that simply creating a digital platform with a horde of content would not really gather the interest nor help the employees understand what they could use from the information available. In fact, too much information pointing at different directions could confuse the individual. A mix of this content while using the principles of behavioural finance would help companies to cover every element of the financial education in a holistic way while offering information in logically sequenced, digestible chunks. Today’s technology could take it to another level using artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, taking personalisation that the employees expect to a more definite route. Analytics can help differentiate between types and categories of employees keeping in mind life events and stages as well.
Understanding the employee’s specific financial needs so that those needs can be more accurately met is the key to a successful financial wellness program. Workshops on subjects like personal and household budgeting, consumer credit building, spending behaviours and consumer attitudes and financial goal setting can go a long way in helping an individual understand the process and the future of their financial wellness. It’s important to factor in employees’ spending needs and their ability to grasp financial education concepts. These are what make a strong financial wellness program, and therefore, a strong organisation.