We have previously discussed the importance of financial wellness for UK employees, their organisations, and the wider economy. As we move into 2017, it’s encouraging to see that financial wellness programmes are beginning to feature highly on the agenda for UK employers. In fact, our recent Future of financial wellness report revealed that almost half of businesses surveyed are considering implementing financial wellness programmes this year. But there is a big difference between tinkering around the edges with financial wellness, and implementing a full and effective strategy.
Here are five steps I believe will help you build a robust plan for your organisation this year.
1) Find out what your employees really want
It’s important to understand what matters to your employees financially. By canvassing employee opinion around financial needs, it is possible to start putting the framework of financial wellness in place.
This exercise will help you identify the financial wellness benefits that will mean the most to your employees, and how they’d like to receive these. For example, our recent report found that 70% of employees want to access workplace benefits on their mobile devices. Understanding what benefits employees want and how they’d like them delivered will help you create a more targeted offering – with better chances of engaging your workforce and therefore improving employees’ financial wellness.
2) Understand the market and talk to providers
Take the time to fully understand the market, products, and solutions available to you. With so many providers clambering to get their solutions to market, it’s important to take a holistic view of what will resonate with your people. You also need to understand how new providers will integrate with your existing platform; you will need to deliver a seamless user experience if you are to fully engage employees in their financial wellness plan on an ongoing basis.
3) Analyse your employee data
Having a clear sense of your employees’ current state of financial awareness is key to defining an effective strategy. Analysing how employees are engaging with their existing benefits can offer valuable insight on this. For example, a workforce with high retirement plan take-up is likely to have high financial awareness, meaning employees are more likely to engage with further benefits designed to improve their long-term financial health.
Employers also need to look at the demographic make-up of their people. There is a strong correlation between financial needs and demographic factors, such as salary, age, sex and location. While the older generation may be looking for retirement plans, millennials may be looking for support with help-to-buy schemes or information on savings.
4) Decide on short, medium and long term financial goals
Whether it is reviewing Lifetime ISA solutions in time for April 2017, or looking at longer term ways of implementing technology to offer more targeted financial wellness plans, employers need to have a clear strategy.
With goals and approach defined, employers can start to meet the financial needs of their workforce now and in the future.
5) Aligning your financial wellness programme with your overall benefits strategy
The final piece of the jigsaw is embedding your approach into the wider benefits picture. By providing employees with continuous access to financial benefits through a single platform, you can manage employees’ interaction, measure the success of your strategy and continually improve it.
Like any other part of your benefit strategy, continuous evaluation of performance allows issues to be spotted and fixed quickly, and it also allows amplification of success.
To deliver a successful financial wellness strategy, you need to truly understand the people who it is designed for. To find out more about how to deliver a personalised and flexible financial wellness programme, read our future of financial wellness report .