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IDC Webinar: The Business Impact of Employee Financial Wellness

Ariana Alisjahbana

Did you miss our live webinar? Watch the recording now

Money is the number one stressor for employees amid this pandemic, as 40% of employees globally are worried about losing their job and 46% say they are less productive at work. Employer-sponsored financial wellness programs are increasingly seen as an important way to address this problem. Between 2015 and 2019, the number of employers offering financial wellness programs more than doubled, from 24% to 53%. It is the second most important benefit employees ask for, ahead of even healthcare and paid time off. 

Most HR leaders understand the importance of employee financial well-being, but how do you design an effective program, find solutions that work for your company, and convince stakeholders? On November 18th, BrightPlan hosted a live webinar to answer these questions and more. Lisa Rowan, Research Vice President of HR, Talent, and Learning Strategies at the market intelligence firm IDC, joined BrightPlan’s Chief Product Officer Larry Robinson to discuss the business impact of employee financial wellness. Here are some key takeaways from the session: 

1.  Investing in Employee Experience, including Financial Wellness, is a Strategic Imperative 

Employee experience is a key focus for companies today, as it directly impacts productivity and engagement. IDC research shows that employers that invest in robust employee experience programs have employees who plan to stay with the company 6 to 10 years on average. The report also shows that these employees are 35 times more likely to feel like part of one team, ultimately driving business results.

Employee well-being is an essential component of the employee experience as healthy and happy employees are more productive, loyal, and engaged overall. Financial wellness is central to any well-being program, as money is the leading cause of stress for Americans. Programs that help employees navigate their financial life can help create empowered, confident employees and go a long way in improving an organization’s overall employee experience.

2. Market Landscape for Financial Wellness

The market landscape for employer sponsored financial wellness solutions has evolved rapidly in the past few years. IDC identified four categories of solutions relevant today:

Figure 1. The Financial Wellness Landscape. Source: IDC. 2020. The Business Impact of Employee Financial Wellness.

Category 1: Solutions for only a subset of employees. 

  • Designed to serve high net worth employees or executives or
  • Tiered service where high net worth employees receive comprehensive services and other employees get a subset.

Category 2: Solutions that focus on education and coaching.

  • These solutions aim to increase your employees’ financial literacy, paired with human financial coaches.

Category 3: Solutions that address only a single aspect of financial wellness

  • Student loan-specific providers,
  • 401(k) or Retirement only-providers,
  • Life insurance-specific providers, et al.

Category 4: Solutions covering all employees and are held to the fiduciary standard 

  • Have both digital and human components,
  • Provide comprehensive services from education, financial planning, investing, to day-to-day money management.

Employers who are serious about implementing a financial wellness program will have to look at solutions available and decide which approach works for their employees’ needs.  

3. Three Ways to Measure Success  

Once an employer decides to offer a financial wellness program, what outcomes might they expect and how should they measure success? 

Companies that implement financial wellness programs should expect to see improvements in talent attraction and retention. Happier and more engaged employees would lead to reduced voluntary turnover and a faster time to hire, as more employees will be likely to refer candidates from their networks. 

Employers that work with BrightPlan typically review the following three metrics on a quarterly basis:

    1. Enrollment: The percentage of employees who have signed up and used the financial wellness solution. BrightPlan typically sees at least 20 - 30% enrollment in year one and upwards of 40% by end of year two.
    2. Education: Financial literacy is a big issue, and education in the form of articles, short videos, and webinars should be available to all employees. This metric reports registration, attendance, and feedback on webinars so employers know which topics are of interest to their employees.
    3. Engagement: Engagement with the financial wellness solution is critical to show long-term impact. All data must be anonymized and aggregated to share insights by demographics on key areas such as top goals, debt management, retirement readiness, and advisor call topics. 

In addition to the three metrics above, some companies may customize success metrics based on their specific priorities. 

As financial wellness becomes an increasingly prevalent employer-sponsored benefit, the question is no longer if your company will offer it, but when and how you can best drive adoption to maximize value for your employees?  Understanding the needs of your employees, selecting the right solution that meets these needs, and partnering with a provider and solution that your employees actually use will be key to reaping the rewards of a more engaged and loyal workforce. 

Watch the on-demand webinar and download the IDC Market Spotlight report.