Even smart employers who offer financial wellness benefits for their employees might hit a new challenge: participation in these benefits is not in line with their expectations. One study found that of employees who have access to financial wellness benefits, only 8% said they participated in them. This could be a sign that the employer is not offering the right type of program.
To get the most out of a program, employers need to make sure that their financial wellness offerings check off these boxes:
Advice from People with Shared Experiences
When an employer is trying to reach the widest audience, who is giving the advice matters. One reason that employees don’t take advantage of financial wellness programs is that they are not comfortable with the source of the education or advice.
A recent survey from the Employee Benefit Research Insitute gives an insight into why that is: BIPOC employees were much more likely to prefer talking to a financial advisor who has had a similar upbringing or life experiences as them. Black and Latino employees were also more likely to prefer working with an advisor of the same gender.
Most financial professionals are white and male so it’s not super surprising that higher-income white male employees are the most likely to make use of their employers’ financial wellness benefits. To get wider participation, employers should ensure that their financial wellness benefits come from a source that reflects their employees’ demographics.
Privacy and Judgment-Free Advice
It’s no secret that talking about money is taboo. Most people aren’t comfortable talking about their finances with friends and family, so it’s not surprising that employees may be hesitant to discuss money in front of their coworkers. This means that employers need to be sensitive to how they are engaging their employees on this topic.
One-on-one advice from an empathetic financial professional can meet employees’ desire for privacy in a judgment-free environment. But employers don’t necessarily need to eschew financial literacy in a group setting altogether. When TFG trainers present webinars to groups of all sizes, employees always have the option to submit questions anonymously if they aren’t comfortable asking a question directly.
Relevance of Financial Topics
The financial topics that employees want to learn more about vary depending on their age and life stage. For example, younger employees starting out in their careers are more likely to want advice on budgeting and mortgages while employees at the other end of the spectrum are more focused on saving for college and investment advice. Employers should ensure that the financial wellness benefits align with the topics that their employees care about.
Not all financial wellness benefits are created equally. To increase the chances that employees take advantage of these services, hire financial professionals who have common life experiences with your employees. Ask them to speak on financial topics your employees care about and ensure that employees have privacy so they can ask financial questions without fear of judgment.
The Financial Gym is a national, personal financial services company with a fitness-inspired approach. Certified Financial Trainers™ work with employees one-on-one via corporate partnerships virtually across the country. TFG also provides engaging webinars including Budgeting Bootcamp, Homeownership, Financial Goal Setting, and Retirement Planning.
3 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Make the Most of Your Financial Wellness Benefits is written by Kylie Lipinski, A Certified Financial Trainer for financialgym.com