4 steps to a successful financial well-being program

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Financial well-being is a hot topic nowadays, and as we discussed in our recent post, “Retirement readiness is just the tip of the iceberg,” for very good reasons. Many employers now either offer a financial well-being program to their employees, or at least are planning to in the next few years. With so many related products on the market today, how can employers be sure they are providing their employees with the services and tools that will really help them become financially healthy?

These four steps are crucial in launching a successful program:

"it is important for employers to really take the time to think through what a successful financial well-being program would look like " Chelsea Sellars

“it is important for employers to really take the time to think through what a successful financial well-being program would look like ” Chelsea Sellars, Director, Innovation


Define the scope of the problem. It all starts with understanding your population. You’ll need to understand your employee’s demographics, analyze HR and total rewards data, and conduct employee listening programs in order to create a targeted, and therefore personalized, program that will meet the diverse needs of your workforce. Once you have a good understanding of your demographics, you need to assess these particular groups and really listen to what their financial challenges are. You’ll likely find that Millennials are quite worried about not being able to pay for emergency or unexpected costs, while another segment has to balance costs while taking care of both elderly parents and their children. Focus groups, collecting anecdotal data and offering assessment surveys will help you to better understand your target population and better determine what components your financial wellness plan should incorporate.


Develop your strategic roadmap. A strategic roadmap will help you outline a short- and long-term strategy that fits the needs of your employees and your organization. First, inventory the tools and solutions you currently offer employees to identify which ones are really working and where there are gaps in addressing the problem. Second, you need to create a cohesive vision across the organization. Once you have an understanding of your current toolset and vision, you’ll have an integrated strategic and tactical roadmap to help you plan and launch your financial well-being program


Execute the program. The next step is building and launching the program. Even though each financial well-being program will likely differ across different organizations, it’s important that the program include education, account aggregation, advice, and an engagement strategy to be effective.


Measure for progress. Any new program should be measured to assess its effectiveness and identify where changes would be necessary to improve or enhance the program. Post-launch surveys and tools like an employer dashboard that aggregates improvements and engagement among your employees can help you to see what’s working, what isn’t, and how to address changes that are needed.

There is no one solution that fits all in the case of financial well-being, because each employee has unique challenges in this area, while each employer has a unique set of goals and objectives. Because of this, it is important for employers to really take the time to think through what a successful financial well-being program would look like for their employees and their organization. It is tempting to want to jump on board the financial well-being train and implement different solutions or tools that could help employees in certain ways. However, depending on your employee population, it is possible those tools and solutions don’t even scratch the surface in helping employees where they are today in addressing their financial challenges. So, take the time to listen and understand your employees, and be creative in your approach—you may find that a simple program may be the most effective.

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