10 December 2019

Three Missteps of Many Financial Wellness Programs

If employees aren’t taking advantage of your programs, the problem may not be what you’re offering, but how you’re offering it. Ask yourself a few questions to know.

1. How Are You Telling Them?

If you tout your financial wellness program during Open Enrollment but then let it sit as a link online somewhere, you’re assuming they’ll find it. You’re giving employees information without any interaction.

You need a multi-channel approach. Find creative “in the moment” ways to alert employees to the many facets of your financial wellness program.

  • Reach out to those going through a life event, such as getting married or adding a child. Offer a free financial counseling session as a “congratulations.”
  • Give a 15-second commercial of your financial wellness program in your other benefits communications. Provide a handout or “coupon” for the program during all-employee meetings.
  • Update your email signature line to include a one-liner about your financial wellness program with a link to learn more.

2. Who Is Telling Them?

A top-down approach to financial education isn’t the most effective way to communicate to all employees. An employee on the assembly line probably doesn’t relate to the company’s CFO, so likely wouldn’t connect with the CFO’s financial advice.

Many financial wellness providers are also financial service providers. Their salespeople aren’t the right messengers for promoting your program. Employees want advice, not a sales pitch.

To offer a true benefit to your employees, your provider should be an unbiased resource of financial guidance. A 2018 PwC study found that access to unbiased financial counselors was the most sought-after financial benefit among all age groups.

3. What Are You Telling Them?

Most financial wellness programs offer guidance on a range of topics. But an employee with student loan debt isn’t prioritizing retirement, and most 55-year-olds aren’t worried about their student loans (anymore).

Planning a financial future is not a one-size-fits-all exercise. Instead of blanketing your entire workforce with canned, identical messages, personalize the educational opportunities for groups based on age, life stages, and income.

The best financial wellness programs are part of the company culture, not an add-on that people hear about a couple times a year. Expand your company’s definition of wellness. Today more than ever, financial health plays a big role in physical and emotional health.