What do large employers want in a financial wellness program?
Typically, plan sponsors want a successful track record of working with other companies of similar size and type, as well as long-term customer relationships. (Photo: © mnimage – stock.adobe.com)
Offering a financial wellness program is a great way for performance professionals to add value to their clients and differentiate themselves from their peers.
According to the February 2020 MassMutual Financial Wellness Trends Study, 42% of employers offer one or more financial wellness benefits, 19% have started implementing a new program, and nearly 20% plan to roll out a financial wellness program for employees within three years.
Kris Alban is executive vice president of iGrad, a San Diego-based financial technology company that provides financial wellness solutions with artificial intelligence to employers, financial institutions, colleges and universities.
Related: Why Employers Are Advised To Educate Yourself About Their Financial Culture
Offering the right financial wellness program is essential. In exploring options, advisors should educate themselves about their clients’ specific needs and what is most important to both the sponsor and the participants. Typically, plan sponsors want a successful track record of working with other companies of similar size and type, as well as long-term customer relationships. A financial wellbeing survey can reveal what plan participants want and need most.
Some key features are typically prioritized by larger plan sponsors considering a financial wellness program:
Plan sponsors often have specific visions and goals that may relate to:
- Employee demographics: age, gender, race, income and educational level, etc.
- Employee distribution: For example, the percentage of executives, middle management and young professionals
- Corporate vision or mission statement
- Goals of Pension Participation
- Retention goals
The only way a financial wellness program can meet the unique needs of all employees is to offer a high level of configurability to reach employees in all demographics and at all levels of the organization. A highly customizable program will appeal to a much higher percentage of plan sponsor customers.
Many plan sponsors point out the importance of helping employees control their financial well-being by making better financial decisions and taking specific actions to improve financial literacy.
A study by Charles Schwab shows that 60% of employers say the best way to support this is to build financial wellbeing into existing benefits. Unfortunately, this is not the rule. The same study found that 46% of employers say the option is available and 30% are in favor of participating, but only 24% have full integration.
Full integration includes such things as:
- Single Sign-On: Employees can access all of their advantages with one login.
- Cross-border content: Financial problems do not exist in a vacuum. Large companies want financial wellness content that addresses issues such as stress, mental health, and physical wellbeing.
- Cross-tracking data: Technical integration of programs to enable data comparisons to identify trends, such as B. Reducing stress leads to better health indicators.
- Incentives integration: Larger companies often have an employee incentive program and simply want to integrate new benefits into it. APIs or built-in reporting are usually preferred to make this easier.
- Custom Calls to Action: When employees are on the Financial Wellness platform, they should be able to navigate directly to the plan sponsor’s other related service providers. Custom calls-to-action can make this easier by directing users to their 401 (k), health plan options, and EAP services.
Integration enables organizations to link action with education. Integration skills are important not only for planning sponsors, but also for consultants who want to combine the program’s value proposition with their own.
3. Demonstrable effectiveness
Offering services with a negative return on investment makes no sense, nor does offering a benefit whose return cannot be determined.
Companies that offer financial wellness programs want to know if the program is working and achieving its goals. Specifically, they want programs that do the following:
- Positive behavior change, ie more employees have sufficient emergency savings funds or fewer employees take out payday loans
- High engagement rates High satisfaction rates
Several financial wellness programs have released data on the positive behavioral changes that result from their resolution. Consultants should look for a behavior change data program that aligns with both their goals and the goals of their clients.
4. A holistic approach
Financial wellness programs that take a holistic approach address all aspects of a plan participant’s life.
Unlike employee financial benefits in the past, which focused entirely on retirement benefits and the use of the company’s 401 (k) program, financial wellness programs today address the financial needs and concerns of employees so that they are over Have the information and skills necessary for creating a healthy relationship with money.
In addition to retirement planning, financial wellness programs can also provide training and assistance for things like personal budgeting; Building loan; Debt reduction, including student loan repayment, emergency and long-term savings strategies; Spending attitudes and behavior; financial goal setting; Understanding the financial implications of choosing their health plan; and dealing with a financial crisis.
Holistic Financial Wellness, with a variety of content, tools, and courses, provides employees with the information and skills they need to develop new patterns of behavior that affect all aspects of their lives. A holistic and comprehensive program will be more attractive to a wider range of plan sponsors.
5. Established track record
Large companies want to see that the service provider is a profitable company with no financial concerns. These plan sponsors are investing significant resources in this initiative to ensure the company survives in economic downturns.