According to the most recent PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey1, your employees are struggling with financial stress. In fact, finances cause more stress than their job, health, and relationships combined.
This stress leads to:
- Inability to pay monthly expenses
- Use of payday loans
- Borrowing from retirement funds
- Postponing retirement
It also can impact your bottom line.
Based on the PwC data, employees under financial stress bring that stress to work.
When surveyed, employees admitted to being distracted at work due to their financial situation and were more likely to change jobs to an employer who cares about their financial well-being.
In fact, 75% of employees want their employers to provide more financial wellness resources2.
Despite these numbers, when employers do offer financial wellness, the usage rate tends to be just fifty percent3.
Why Employees Aren’t Using Your Financial Wellness Program
If you are offering a financial wellness program but aren’t getting employees to use the program, there are a few things to consider.
The first is to determine if the plan is the right plan. In other words, does the plan offer what your employees need?
The only way to know this is to survey your employees to find out what they want. Rest assured, however, that most employees want the following:
- Online program with 24/7 access
- Personalization to meet their specific needs
- A wide variety of topics
- Compelling, interactive components like a financial behavior analysis or interactive budgeting tool
- Ability to speak to a financial counselor or coach
Once you have the right program, the biggest reason employees fail to use it is because they do not know it exists.
One Bank of America / Merrill Lynch report4 found that one-third of employees had no idea if their company offered a financial wellness plan or not.
To increase participation, you need to consistently promote the plan. Then, when an employee has a need, they know where to turn.
But how can you ramp up the communication about your company’s financial wellness benefits beyond putting the information into your standard employee communication channels?
Here are four things to consider.
#1: Participation Incentives
Adding an incentive element to your financial wellness program makes participation fun. As an added bonus, incentives work well for companies whose employees are spread out, work from home, or travel extensively.
Things to consider are incentives for:
- Initial enrollment
- Completing the behavioral analysis or another first step
- A financial wellness challenge
The best incentives have two levels. The first level is quick and easy, allowing employees to get almost instant gratification for participation. The second level can be a bit more difficult, such as a 90-day goal.
#2: Messages From a Financial Wellness Champion
Think about your employees and who they might listen to. Then get that person on board and excited about the financial wellness program. This person will be the one championing the benefit to their peers.
It can be one person for the entire organization, or a group of people, each responsible for a segment of your workforce.
What will a financial wellness champion do?
- Be the face of the benefit
- Answer questions
- Encourage participation
Having a champion will boost the visibility of your financial wellness program.
#3 Information Cards
Imagine this scenario. An employee is talking with someone in HR about a 401(k) loan. They are obviously in financial distress.
Because employees are more likely to want to learn about financial wellness when they are experiencing financial distress, the HR professional should tell the employee about the financial wellness benefit.
An easy way to do this is by handing them an information card.
An information card can be nothing more than a business card with the following information:
- Program highlights
- Who to call with questions
#4: Non-Face-to-Face Communications
For many employers, face-to-face interactions with employees is becoming more and more rare, especially post-COVID. However, that doesn’t mean that your employees shouldn’t know about your financial wellness program.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Send text messages to remind them about the program or current incentives
- Post updates in chat rooms
- Provide refrigerator magnets
- A-frames near entrances
The point is to be sure that once you have a financial wellness program that meets your employees’ needs, you then promote the program. A financial wellness program is only beneficial when employers actually get involved.
If you're looking for a better way to promote your financial wellness program, take a look at our Employee Financial Wellness 12-Month Promotion Calendar.
1 - https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/workforce-of-the-future/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html
2 - https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210614005486/en/Franklin-Templetons-Voice-of-the-American-Worker-Study-Reveals-Changing-Concept-of-Retirement
3 - https://www.benefitspro.com/2022/01/11/employers-can-offer-a-path-toward-financial-wellness-but-will-employees-take-it/
4 - https://www.benefitplans.baml.com/publish/content/application/pdf/GWMOL/2018WorkplaceBenefitsReport_ARSRJR96.pdf