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There are many reasons why a company would want to offer a financial wellness benefit to their employees. Offering employees much-needed financial support during times of economic uncertainty can seem like a logical choice in these challenging times.
Once this important decision has been made, companies must vet, shortlist and finally pick a financial wellness benefit provider that suits the requirements of the company and their employees.
Decisions like who will be covered and who will benefit, need to be made at the outset. Many companies reserve financial counseling benefits for C-suite executives to handle their complex financial lives. Others tend to go the egalitarian route and offer the same financial wellness benefit to all.
How wide or narrow your program needs to be should reflect your company culture, employee benefits philosophy and finally, your budget.
Financial wellness spans a vast spectrum of specialized knowledge domains, each with its own unique complexities. For instance, a tax filing service would be very different from a retirement planning one, which would again be vastly different from a student loan management and debt consolidation service.
It is important to spell out what sort of financial wellness benefit you’ll be offering and what topics would be covered within its scope. Many companies see great value in financial advisors who are extensively trained in the employee benefits offered at each level at the company and able to help employees make the best of the other employer-sponsored benefits available to them.
You’ll find vendors that offer just financial education for your employees and nothing more. Others will offer financial education, consultation and implementation solutions to support both learning and action.
Research thoroughly to land on a vendor that will offer the combination of services that fit the needs of your employee base and your organizational goals.
If your company cares about improving your employees’ financial situations, it is important to scrutinize exactly how a financial wellness benefit will be delivered to your employees.
Financial wellness program types can range from hands-on, one-to-one financial counseling that covers every aspect of employees’ financial lives to relatively self-serve models that equip employees with a range of digital tools, calculators and knowledge resources to improve their financial wellness at their own pace.
Make sure the program you choose fits the degree of access as well as the time, resources and tools you’d like to offer to your employee population.
Communicating program benefits and encouraging employee participation is a joint responsibility you’ll share with the program vendor. This makes it essential to understand the engagement strategies that various vendors offer, right at the outset.
Pick the vendor with the engagement approach that works best for your employees while balancing your company policies and culture on employee communications.
As you prepare to invest in a new employee benefits program, it’s important to know what success looks like to you and how it will be measured.
While this may seem like a lot of work, remember, you’re in good company. You’ve taken the first step to joining over half of all U.S. companies in offering a financial wellness programs for your employees1.
Choose well and your employees will thank you for it.
For disclosures relating to this article, please click here.
By Brandon Ross
Insights from Ayco InnerCircle 2021