Benefits executives and consultants are now in the driver’s seat (or could be, if so desired) to play a more innovative, technology-driven, and business-relevant role! What’s creating this opportunity? Initiating a holistic benefits program centered on the “total well being” of employees, which includes a newly minted financial wellness strategy.
Traditionally, benefits professionals and consultants have been a pillar of stability, known for operational excellence, regulatory insights, and resource optimization. Their brethren in conference rooms at the other end of the hall (from groups like Leadership Development and Executive Rewards) were incubating the high profile, business-aligned ideas. Guess what? The tide has turned!
With an abundance of data to support them, progressive benefits executives and consultants (some savvy enough to use a “wellness” moniker on their business cards) have read the white papers, studied employee engagement surveys, and collected psychology reports. The most visionary leaders in this community are focused on the “total well being” of employees, where their employee benefits programs address the complete person. That means not only physical health wellness, but also emotional and financial wellness.
Financial wellness is a concept making its way to the CHRO, and even CEO tables, for defensive and offensive reasons. Defensively, companies must come to grips with the effects of financial stress on workforce productivity, absenteeism, and engagement. The stats are sobering: 71% of employees cite financial uncertainty as the highest cause of workplace stress, 29% of employees report missing work due to financial stress, over 50% of employees “need help in managing personal finances.” Offensively, forward-thinking companies implement financial wellness programs to demonstrate a truly caring culture, acknowledging each full person who shows up to work each day. There are no longer bright lines between employees’ personal situations and their professional lives, and progressive companies understand that high impact benefits programs must address both.
Financial wellness programs enable employees to make better, more informed financial decisions to live a happier life. Though retirement planning and health savings may be part of the discussion, financial wellness requires a much more holistic view. It extends to everyday decisions on spending, goal setting, managing debt, and building awareness on key financial concepts.
There is an almost perfect parallel with physical health wellness that dominated the benefits profession for over a decade. Companies created incentives, processes, and technology solutions to promote preventative health care, increase exercise, monitor eating habits, and increase awareness of how employees can more effectively manage their physical health. Companies also created interesting programs aligned to the wearable technology trend (i.e., FitBit), which allowed employees to build physical wellness into their daily lives in a fun, interactive way. The result: real behavior change and real cost controls for companies.
Guess what? With lightning speed, financial wellness is following the exact same path – and with remarkable results. Even in its infancy, companies initiating financial wellness programs are saving $413 per employee every single year. Employees desperately need an unbiased, personalized solution to help them seamlessly manage all aspects of their financial lives. Period, end of story.
My career journey has brought me to BrightDime for exactly that reason. Through BrightDime’s innovative technology, employees can manage their financial goals, reduce their debt, monitor their investments, and have in-app, personalized chat sessions with a BrightDime coach. BrightDime creates unparalleled trust with companies and employees since we do not sell financial products, nor are we affiliated with a financial company. For us, it’s all about changing behaviors and bringing a financial wellness solution to all employees, not just the executive ranks.
Your employees are counting on you! Financial wellness is not a discretionary topic; it is central to every company’s business results and culture – and it needs immediate thought leadership within your organization to drive this change. So, as hotel conference rooms fill up this fall with HR planning sessions, don’t lose the opportunity to aggressively bring forward financial wellness to page 1 of your company’s People Strategy!
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s come up with a financial wellness strategy, together … it’s a source of personal passion for me. We can think through how to tie financial wellness to your total well being strategy, how to position this concept (and you as a visionary leader!) internally with key stakeholders, and most importantly, how to partner to improve the lives of your employees.