It’s easy to immediately think of fitness and healthcare-related benefits when it comes to corporate wellness programs. However, financial independence and preparedness are just as essential to an individual’s wellness as their physical fitness.
While many companies recognize the need for a financial wellness program, according to this Forbes article, companies aren’t always offering the kind of financial wellness initiatives that are most beneficial. Lisa Margeson, Head of Retirement Client Experience and Communications for Bank of America Merrill Lynch said, "The disconnect between employer financial wellness offerings and what employees wanted was one of the ‘ahas’ in the firm’s workplace benefit report. Employers are focused on ‘tactical answers,’ while employees are ‘more aspirational’ for help reaching good financial health." Margeson’s takeaway: ‘Employers need to be sure they’re speaking the language of their employees.’
Ironically, 70% of companies who have financial wellness programs don’t have formal measurements to assess the value of those programs. The lack of measurement for ROI and engagement on financial programs is leading to a disconnect between what companies are offering and what employees want. However, with greater focus on what employees need and a commitment to track the success of those programs, companies are in a unique position to help individuals be financially healthy.
Financial Wellness Benefits
“[Financial wellness] is the glue that drives how employees feel about and use their compensation and benefits to achieve their financial goals. It’s also a major indicator of your culture and commitment to your employees. The financial wellness benefit you decide to offer to your employees helps define what kind of company you really are underneath the marketing messages and what you really stand for and believe in,” says Liz Davidson of Financial Finesse Contributor Group and Forbes contributor.
Financial Wellness Programs
The following are aspects of effective financial wellness programs that employees are looking for to improve their lives:
1. Expert financial planning for the here and now
Effective guidance and training in budgeting, saving, debt elimination and other financial foundational topics can be an incredible resource for all employees — especially those who are new to the workforce or find themselves in a new financial situation. Providing in-person and hands-on help for individuals from financial experts can help individuals become financially steady and confident so they are prepared to look into the future for retirement planning.
2. Expert financial planning for the future
Providing personal access to experienced financial advisors to assist with significant financial obligations is one of the greatest benefits an employer can provide. From college savings for children and retirement planning to wealth management and legacy planning, having expert assistance to manage these important life events provides individuals with the tools needed to feel confident about their future.
3. Targeted resources
One of the greatest causes of discontent in corporate wellness programs is the lack of tailored resources for individuals in different stages of life as well as differing experiences across gender, cultural and situational realities. While it’s difficult to understand each circumstance, providing access to resources that are personalized to different groups with differing needs can be extremely beneficial. This, combined with in-person advising, can help every individual, regardless of background and circumstance, have a chance at financial wellbeing.