Getting the Most Out of Your Financial Wellness Program

Employers spend millions each year trying to help their employees manage their personal finances through financial wellness programs implemented in the workplace. While these financial wellness programs can often yield high returns for employers that implement them, they’re not without hurdles.

After rolling out a financial wellness program, the biggest challenge employers face is getting their employees to continually engage. These tools will help you get the most out of your financial wellness programs.

Personas. Before you try to rework your financial wellness program, start by better understanding who your employees are and their specific needs and goals. When you create employee personas to help you understand who your employees are, you can segment your engagement campaigns throughout the year to address the specific needs of each employee group.

For example, younger employees may prefer email and digital communications about open enrollment season, while older employees may prefer handouts and in-person training to understand changes to their benefits. When open enrollment comes around again, you can tailor your communication strategy to best engage both of these groups.

If you’ve never created employee personas, aim to create 3 or 4 for starters and adapt them as you learn more.

Email. While email is still the most ubiquitous communication tool at work, with employees spending an average of 20 hours a week in their inboxes, many businesses still don’t know how to communicate effectively with the tool. Revisit how you’re sending emails about wellness programs to encourage engagement and boost adoption rates of new wellness initiatives.

Free email marketing tools like Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor can help you schedule campaigns, segment employees by persona group, and get insights into how employees are engaging with your emails.

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Revisit Your Other Benefits. When was the last time you revisited your 401(k) or health benefits to see if they’re still a good fit for your employees? Employees’ personal financial stresses can often be tied to stresses in other areas of their lives like their personal health or retirement goals. Health benefits plans that don’t fit changes in lifestyle, family size or 401(k) programs that take too long to vest or are too restrictive can put even more pressure on these pain points.

Revisit your other benefits programs continually, even if it’s outside of open-enrollment season, to see if your employees are satisfied and engaging with the benefits available to them—you may find that some of your existing benefits programs are causing financial stress.

Ongoing Campaigns. The best way to get employees to engage with their financial wellness benefits is to create ongoing campaigns that not only remind them about what’s available to them, but how these programs can make a direct impact on their lives.

Financial wellness programs often live in an out-of-sight-out-of-mind space when they go unused for periods of time, but taking the time to remind your employees about how a financial wellness program can help them save more for retirement or achieve their financial goals can make a significant difference in how employees engage with and feel about the benefits offered to them.

You should aim to have 3 or 4 campaigns each year centered around key financial seasons like tax time, holiday shopping, and summer vacation. Send emails and hold info sessions to remind employees about how financial wellness benefits can help them better navigate these stressful times.

Gamification. Introducing elements of gamification to wellness programs isn’t just a trend — it’s here to stay. By making benefits fun to engage with and rewarding employees every time they take steps to make their personal or financial lives better, you’ll see a rise in engagement rates.

When you’re choosing a financial wellness program or are implementing new strategies to drive employee engagement around a campaign, consider introducing contests or point systems to reward employees every time they make progress.

No matter what type of financial wellness program you have in place, remember that it should be continually adapting to your employees’ needs. As your organization grows, make sure your wellness solutions are addressing the changing demographics and goals of your entire organization.

Chris Whitlow

Chris Whitlow
Chris Whitlow is the founder and CEO of Edukate, a workplace financial wellness provider

Chris Whitlow

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