Employer Credit Unions have an opportunity to work with Financial Wellness providers
Financial wellness programs are becoming a staple in the employee benefit universe. With this adoption comes the evolution of exactly what financial wellness means, and what a successful financial wellness program should look like. As a rapidly growing industry, we often lack a consistent definition for financial wellness. This leads to organizations believing they have implemented a financial wellness program when in reality, they are only offering a handful of tools or resources that may present more challenges when offered in a silo.
I define Financial Wellness as the process by which an individual can efficiently and accurately assess their financial posture, identify personal goals, and be motivated to gain the necessary knowledge and/or resources to create behavioral change. Behavioral change will result in improved emotional and mental well-being, along with short- and long-term financial stability.
78 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet1. The need for financial wellness is clear, but there are consistent pillars that must be addressed in any successful financial wellness program to affect change: spend, save, borrow and plan. When evaluating employers’ financial wellness plans, it’s important that these dots all connect if an employer is truly going to motivate behavioral change and recognize the ROI of a comprehensive, holistic platform.
FinFit provides over 125,000 employers with our financial wellness platform across all sectors, areas and demographics. We support organizations that employ over 100,000 employees, as well as organizations with less than five employees. Typically, smaller employers offer little to no financial wellness services, while larger employers have at least some level of financial service offerings available to their employee base. The biggest challenge is helping each unique organization define what a successful financial wellness program looks like, determine what aspects are currently being offered, and identify gaps.
The following are the most common financial services that are mistaken for holistic financial wellness programs.
Personalized, motivational roadmaps based on the unique position of each employee are not typically found within these relationships.
There are other areas of employer-provided services that could be mistaken for financial wellness, but the areas I outlined above are the most common we encounter and discuss. I don’t want to take away from the value of these services – they are excellent tools, resources and services that can provide enhanced value to a comprehensive financial wellness platform. Absent of a holistic financial wellness program to support any of these initiatives, the potential value to the employee and employer will not be realized.
What’s the most efficient and effective way to assess your current financial wellness services to determine ultimate value and return? Ask yourself these questions:
Does the platform address 100% of your employee base, including the least sophisticated employees? Much of your ROI from a financial wellness program does not come from your top performers, it comes from creating behavioral changes within your less advanced employee segments.
Does the platform integrate the various components to provide a tailored path for each employee, including assessment, education, tools, feedback and solutions?
Does your platform offer solutions for short-term financial challenges like cash flow issues, as well as long-term financial challenges associated with savings and development? A major return on your investment comes from reduced employee stress, which is substantially driven by short-term triggers versus long-term planning objectives. You must deal with current financial challenges before you can ask for longer term vision.
Does your platform provide real-time data that quantifies the behavioral change within your employee base, while motivating and recognizing employee accomplishments?