Implementing a successful financial wellness program

GO with Eckler: Engaging insights about financial wellness in the workplace

Welcome to GO with Ecklers first edition of 2022. We hope you had a joyous and restorative holiday season.  As we start off the new year our thoughts naturally turn to resolutions for the year ahead. For many people, that includes resolutions about well-being – physical and financial.

Research shows that financial, physical and mental wellness go hand-in-hand. In fact, many employees report that financial stress impacts their physical health and their productivity at work. Financial wellness programs in the workplace help support the full spectrum of employee and plan member wellness.

A well-designed financial wellness program ensures employees are supported with the information and tools they need to plan and achieve their goals and  – it also helps support the bottom line. In that spirit, in this edition, we will share the first in a multi-part series on how to implement a  successful financial wellness program for your employees and plan members.

Get buy-in from senior executives

One of the most significant barriers to launching a financial literacy program in the workplace can be getting buy-in from senior executives.

Every executive should want a financially healthy and engaged workforce, but they may not always understand the cost-benefit and how it can actually lead to a more successful organization and help them meet their objectives.

Clearly explaining the rationale and the cost benefits is critical to gaining buy-in and leadership support.

5 steps to implement a successful financial wellness program
  1. Get buy-in from senior executives
  2. Find a third-party provider
  3. Build the program
  4. Develop a comprehensive communication plan
  5. Measure and assess

An icon. Teal coloured bubble with a bold black exclamation point in the middle.Several studies found that organizations saved $3 for every $1 that they invested in employee financial education programs. Consider these important facts:

  • According to a recent financial stress index by FP Canada,1 nearly two-in-five Canadians said money was their biggest concern and one-in-three say it has led to health problems – a significant increase from 18% in 2020.
  • Lost productivity from employee financial stress is estimated to cost Canadian employers over $20 billion each year.
  • A recent Eckler survey2 found that more than 80% of employees want some type of financial education at work.

An icon. Teal coloured bubble with a bold black exclamation point in the middle.Make it relevant

To get buy-in, you will need to make a business case that is relevant to your decision-makers. Consider your specific organizational concerns and goals. They might include:

Reduced costs: Financial stress is a key factor in overall employee health. When employees are stressed about money, it can impact their physical well-being which can lead to reduced productivity, workplace absence, and increased benefits costs. Every week, at least 500,000 Canadians miss work due to poor mental health3 and people dealing with financial stress are twice as likely to report overall poor health.

 Attraction and retention of key talent: Attraction and retention of your workforce is critical to your bottom line. Providing workplace financial wellness resources speaks volumes about how you support your employees and plays an important role in your workplace culture – and reputation. When competition for talent is tough, keeping employees healthy and engaged should be a top priority. In fact, of surveyed workers whose financial stress has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, 72% said they would be attracted to another company that cares more about financial well-being4.

Corporate social responsibility: For many organizations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) plays a vital role in the organizational mission and objectives. CSR might include a number of objectives such as supporting community organizations or offsetting environment impacts with sustainable practices. For some organizations, CSR also includes supporting financial or overall well-being.  When organizations support employee well-being, they are making a tremendous contribution to broader society.

An icon. Teal coloured bubble with a bold black exclamation point in the middle.Ongoing commitment

Getting buy-in from senior executives is not only about getting a commitment to initially fund the program, but in continuing to provide it to employees. Stay tuned for future articles when we discuss measurement and reporting and why providing quantified results against established organizational goals is key to program longevity and success.

No matter the circumstances at your organization, taking it one step at a time, knowing your facts and clearly explaining the benefits will go a long way to helping you implement a successful financial wellness program for employees and plan members.

GO with Eckler is a quarterly newsletter to help employers and plan sponsors support financial wellness for their employees and plan members.

Please contact your Eckler consultant if you would like to learn more about supporting financial wellness in your workplace.

1FP Canada™ 2021 Financial Stress Index
22019 Eckler survey on financial wellness in the workplace
3CAMH Workplace Mental Health – A Review and Recommendations
42021 PWC Employee Financial Wellness Survey