Adam Hills, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Strategy – Wellness at Ayco, provided tips to help human resources professionals identify and segment the marketplace of available financial wellness program models in his presentation to Argyle's CHRO membership at the 2018 Human Capital Forum: Employee Experience in the Digital Era in San Francisco on March 21. In his presentation, "Trends in Financial Wellness," Hills offered insights to help HR professionals evaluate a variety of financial wellness program options.
Financial wellness programs are becoming exceedingly important to companies around the globe. These programs drive employee engagement, as they enable companies to provide financial advice and incentives to workers. Plus, financial wellness programs often help businesses build trust with employees, leading to improved employee retention and satisfaction.
However, many financial wellness programs are available, and determining which one is right for a company may prove to be difficult. Businesses sometimes struggle to define what they want out of a financial wellness program, and this may make it tough for companies to optimize a financial wellness program's value.
"When companies go through the buying process of financial wellness programs, what they initially thought a program offered sometimes is different than what they want," Hills indicated.
As new technologies become available, the push for financial wellness programs may increase in the years to come. If a company allocates time and resources to invest in state-of-the-art technologies, it may be better equipped than others to get the most out of a financial wellness program.
"Technology is a very big reason why financial wellness has become a hot topic today," Hills pointed out. "People now expect to be able to get advice at all levels of sophistication, and the growing sense of technology has led to a growing sense of trust in technology."
Ultimately, a financial wellness program can help a company – regardless of its size or industry – stand out from the competition. A financial wellness program that is tailored to the needs of a workforce could help a business foster goodwill with employees. Perhaps best of all, this program may help a business to attract and retain top talent.
"A benefits package is important," Hills said. "Whether you're looking to be a differentiator or are in a geography where you're competing for table space, I think that's a big reason why there's a lot more interest in financial wellness programs."
Companies should perform an in-depth evaluation of the financial wellness programs at their disposal. That way, businesses can decide which programs best serve the needs of their respective employees.
"You need to look at whether it's a high- or low-touch service [program] and whether it is focused on financial planning and digital investments," Hills stated.
Furthermore, a company should craft financial wellness program goals and objectives prior to implementing this program.
"Whether you're looking to be a differentiator or are in a geography where you're competing for table space, I think that's a big reason why there's a lot more interest in financial wellness programs."
With financial wellness program goals and objectives, a company can determine the best course of action to accomplish its aspirations. Moreover, a business can avoid the danger of investing in a financial wellness program that fails to meet the needs of employees across all departments.
"You need to think about what you want to accomplish with your financial wellness program," Hills noted. "Company culture is important, and many companies need financial wellness programs to service your C-suite executives all the way down through the organization."
Return on investment (ROI) is a key consideration relative to financial wellness programs too.
If a company has metrics in place to measure the success of a financial wellness program, it can determine whether the program is helping the business achieve its desired results. In addition, metrics allow a business to find ways to further enhance a financial wellness program over time.
"If you think about ROI … you need to focus on outcomes and be able to quantify the outcomes that are happening," Hills pointed out.
Companies should consider the employee perspective as they integrate a financial wellness program into their respective operations.
"You need to think about what you want to accomplish with your financial wellness program."
In some instances, workers are skeptical about why a company may choose to provide a financial wellness program. These employees therefore may shy away from a financial wellness program, despite the fact that the program offers many benefits.
If a company explores ways to teach employees about a financial wellness program and how it works, they can eliminate any confusion or uncertainty surrounding the program. And once employees understand the benefits of a financial wellness program, they could reap the program's benefits for an extended period of time.
"There are a lot of companies that want to do the right thing for their employees," Hills said. "Now, you can partner with employees to help educate them about their money and help them make good decisions."
Adam is Senior Vice President and Head of Product Strategy – Wellness at Ayco. In this role, he is responsible for Ayco's foundational counseling business, including economic and market strategy, key relationships, product design and development. Adam is a member of Ayco's management committee.