Employees who aren’t stressed about finances are less distracted and more productive at work, making financial wellness programs a win-win for both employers and workers. However, traditional metrics of success may be limited when it comes to measuring the success of a financial wellness program.

Measuring return-on-investment (ROI) isn't enough, because it focuses on hard dollar savings, giving a limited view into a program's impact and overlooking the intangibles. For instance, by reducing employee stress, financial wellness programs can improve engagement, job satisfaction and loyalty — but these softer metrics often aren’t captured by ROI.

Instead, businesses should explore using value-of-investment (VOI) to measure their financial wellness programs. VOI takes into account all elements that contribute to overall business performance, like employee productivity levels, and overall job satisfaction as well as costs associated with absenteeism, disability claims and turnover. Some metrics are easier to track than others, but almost all of them would be impossible to measure using ROI alone.

Because measuring the impact of a financial wellness program requires an understanding of workplace issues affecting well-being and productivity, key stakeholders from across the industry should be involved in developing a measurement approach:

1. Assess where your financial wellness programs are right now. This data can be used as a benchmark.

2. Identify goals for your financial wellness offering and settle on what business outcomes you want to see, like reduced absenteeism or improved employee morale. Then set targets — how much should absenteeism be improved and how will employee morale be measured?

3. Identify the metrics you'll use to determine the success of each portion of the program, keeping in mind that the value often can't be easily translated into dollar amounts.

4. Collect data and assess early indicators of success, like enrollment in the program. Make adjustments as needed and aggregate findings into a meaningful VOI dashboard that can help gauge ongoing progress.

Learn more about different ways to track the impact of your financial wellness program in “Measuring the value of your financial wellness investment," available for download here.

Posted: August 10, 2018