A 2016 employee survey from PwC revealed that 52 percent of respondents found managing their finances to be a source of stress, this was an increase of 7 percent from the prior year. Because of these concerning percentages, employers have taken a growing interest in promoting and supporting financial wellness programs to help provide both the education and tools employees need to stabilize personal financial situations.
A similar 2016 study from Aon Hewitt showed that 44 percent of employers expect that offering guidance on handling finances will, in turn, decrease the time their employees spend at work tending to these issues. The goals of financial literacy programs are to improve the financial, physical, and mental conditions of workers so that maximum attention and effort can be exerted at the workplace. So, companies are seeing the benefits of implementing financial wellness programs and helping their employees deal with their personal financial struggles at the same time.
While the needs of each company can be vast and diversified, the opportunities to improve employee financial wellness are also numerous. However, the question must be asked, after spending time and money creating and implementing such programs, how is a company to gauge if they are successful or not?
The success of any financial wellness program can be monitored by developing a series of benchmarks that can be used to track progress throughout the journey. This criteria should be created in a manner that fits the financial needs of each company’s employees.
There are a few key strategies that can be implemented to track this information.
- Document and organize attendance, feedback, and success measures for plan sponsor reports. This will help determine if employees are maintaining or losing interest in program efforts. It will also give vital information to plan sponsors as to how the employees are responding to the program.
- Conduct annual employee surveys on topics, delivery methods, and wellness benchmarks. Not only will this help tap into the specific issues that employees feel they need more knowledge about, but it can also help employers figure out the best way to deliver this information. Surveys can also cover information such as if employees are increasing or decreasing personal debt and emergency funds, and if they are utilizing other outside retirement saving vehicles or not.
- Study internal data records to look for patterns and/or areas of improvement such as fluctuations in healthcare costs, financial assistance requests, and retirement plan savings. As employees become more financially stable, less stressed, and begin to live healthier lifestyles, employers should begin to see the numbers of requests for help, as well as the costs for healthcare, decrease dramatically.
- Revise overall program strategy as needed. All good programs are continuously collecting data and adjusting based on the information gathered. It is an organic process that grows and changes with the employer and its employees.