How to Tell If Your Financial Wellness Program Is Succeeding

Wellness is a buzzword in the benefits world, and most companies have a financial wellness benefit in place now or plan to offer one soon. The idea of helping employees with their money is popular, but many companies are still searching for a clear sense of what financial wellness means.

For your financial wellness program to be truly beneficial to your company, you’ll need stated goals about what you want to accomplish as well as ways to measure how good a job the program is doing in hitting those goals.

Financial Wellness Means Behavior Change

All companies need a financial wellness program with enough participation to justify the investment while also meeting its employees’ needs for personal finance and retirement education. What does that look like for your company?

Considering the awful state of personal finances nationwide, it’s likely you will need to begin by helping your employees lay a solid foundation with their basic money habits. That will mean inspiring change in areas like budgeting, debt and emergency savings.

Setting Goals and Measuring Progress

Getting your employees the best financial wellness information available is great, but it’s essential that you find out how much impact it’s making in their lives. Think of it this way: Getting to the gym is easy, but unless you’re doing weigh-ins, you have no idea whether or not you’re moving toward your weight-loss goals.

As big as financial wellness benefits are becoming, many companies still have no success metrics in place. You’ll definitely need a program that allows you to get reports and data about not only participation but also ongoing progress with individual goals. These are the key success metrics you’ll want to track to ensure the program is reaching deep and getting big outcomes:

  • Participation – The number of employees signing up for the program is a good indication of need, and if participation grows and stays high you’ll have a good sense of how well it’s working.
  • Engagement – A great program should be personalized to wherever employees find themselves while pursuing financial wellness. Online platforms allow convenient access to materials and let you easily track progress.
  • The total amount of debt paid off and money saved – It helps both your employees and you to see this number grow over time. It’s encouraging to see the debt vanishing and the savings growing. This is also a real measure your company can use to find out how much behavior is really changing company-wide.
  • Changed Behaviors Don’t Bring Instant Results

    As your financial wellness program takes off, you can expect to see higher participation rates than the usual 7% we see with other benefits—after all, more people have a need for this information.

    Despite big interest, you can’t expect immediate dramatic results for your company’s 401(k). That’s because true behavior change takes time, and broke people have little or nothing to invest. But there are some obvious areas where you and your employees will get some quick wins, like bigger emergency funds and a decrease in retirement plan loans.

    Growth of participation and savings levels in your company 401(k) will rise over time as your employees adopt and maintain smarter money habits. In the meantime, use the best metrics to stay focused on measuring every little step of progress as you (and your team) move the needle all the way to financial success.

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