Question: We are considering adding a financial wellness program as part of our retirement plan benefit program. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot in the budget to work with right now. Any ideas on how we might approach it?
Answer: As you probably know, workers are becoming increasingly interested in financial wellness education that can help reduce financial stress and prepare them for economic uncertainty. In fact, a recent survey by Brightplan revealed that when employees ranked employer-sponsored benefits, “financial wellness” was consistently ranked higher than workplace standards like healthcare and vacation time — and was only surpassed by “salary.”
Here are two activities to consider before launching a financial wellness education program in the workplace:
Conduct an employee survey. Employees should be formally surveyed to get a sense of what they need to feel supported as they continue to return to their prepandemic lives. Employees should be specifically asked in which areas of their personal finances they would most value employer support — such as building an emergency savings account or reducing debt.
Quantify your numbers to justify funding the program. Employers should consider quantifying how financial stress impacts their bottom line through factors such as lower productivity, absenteeism or medical costs. They may also want to consider identifying and targeting groups of employees who need the most help and focus initial financial wellness education efforts on them.