Designing a Financial Wellness Program That Works

Financial wellness programs need to address the unique needs of a modern, diverse workforce. As financial stress becomes a bigger problem for Americans, employers are setting up programs to help employees with their finances — much like corporate wellness initiatives.

Since there aren't many off-the-shelf products that can do this, employers should seek guidance and advice to customize their financial wellness programs, and should strive to address four core principles:

1. Financial Awareness: Find the best way to communicate with employees.

Demographics matter when trying to figure out the best communication methods. Online learning tools may be more suitable for younger or remote employees while others might prefer one-on-one counseling or even classes, especially for more complicated topics.

2. Financial Health: Provide useful tools to help employees manage finances.

Like physical wellness, working toward financial health needs both focus and consistency. Providing budgeting or financial planning tools, like a calculator that lets employees figure out how much they'll need to save for retirement, can help your employees better manage their finances day-to-day.

3. Financial Security: Offer financial products employees want and need.

A successful financial wellness program should be able to help employees reach their goals by addressing both short-term and long-term needs. Benefit offerings like a 401(k) defined contribution plan, student loan refinancing, credit monitoring services, homeowners insurance, accident insurance or critical illness insurance can all help employees build their futures and protect them from (expensive) unexpected events.

4. Financial Inclusion: Make the program accessible to all employees.

Everyone likes to feel in control of their future and their finances. A successful financial wellness program should make it possible for all employees — from entry-level to high-ranking executives — to access employer-sponsored benefits. Making all employees feel valued and supported is also good for morale and productivity.

Learn how to customize a financial wellness program that fits your employees' needs in “Tailoring the Program," available for download here.