What is an inclusive financial wellness program?

4 min read

What is an inclusive financial wellness program?

The world is diverse, and so are our interpretations of how best to live a fulfilled and happy life. That sentiment spills into the workplace too. As an employer, you might be thinking, how do I keep everyone happy, when everyone has different needs, desires and challenges? Well, it’s not easy but it’s possible. Start by looking at aspects of life that impact most people, and work back from there.

What’s the alternative?

Unhappy employees are costly - and businesses can’t afford to ignore the signs. A recent report from Deloitte, found that people think the world is, ‘less stable, more polarized, and more volatile’ so they’re looking for refuge and solidarity at work. If you can provide an environment that offers stability, support and understanding - then you’re 60% there on the happiness and engagement scale. To fill the 40% gap, you need to help your people find their purpose, feel included - whilst being their authentic self, and most importantly treat them fairly - particularly when it comes to money and salary. We’ll come back to this later.

Excluded employees means unprofitable businesses

We don’t need to tell you what happens when employees feel excluded. A report by BetterUp, found that people who feel included, and that they belong are:

  • 75% less absent, than employees who feel excluded - this equals $2.5 million worth of lost productivity each year (per 10,000 people)
  • 50% less likely to leave than employees who feel included - that’s around $10 million each year (per 10,000 people).
  • 56% more likely to perform better - that’s a gain of $52 million each year (for every 10,000 people).

Inclusion and wellness are intertwined

The after-effects of exclusion can be both physical and psychological, and that plays havoc with people’s overall wellness. To be frank - wellness and inclusion are closely intertwined. You can’t address one without the other. Organizations attempting to champion inclusion will find it’s much more complex than simply work culture. For an individual to feel as though they belong, organizations should cater to all aspects in life, assessing when and where people could feel excluded. Then acknowledging each employee’s unique background, experiences and state of wellness - this includes physical, mental, social, and most importantly financial.

Financial security equals workplace stability

One sure way of developing workplace stability, trust and fairness is through an inclusive financial wellness program. What makes you feel more stable than strong personal financial security? When it comes to money - access to support, skills and knowledge should be available to everyone, no matter who they are, or where they live. Sadly that’s just not the case today. 91 million people in the US are considered ‘credit-challenged’ and ‘it is 62.5% more likely for people of color to be offered costlier financial options than their equally qualified white counterparts.’ The system is broken - there’s no doubt about it. Without government intervention, the only way we can rebuild is through financial education, and by helping as many people as possible to understand the best way to manage their money. This is at the heart of an inclusive financial wellness program.

What is an inclusive financial wellness program?

An inclusive financial wellness program needs to be completely impartial - that means your employees shouldn’t be exposed to financial education that’s littered with services and products with an ulterior motive. And secondly the program should be built on financial education that’s underpinned by technology. The tech needs to be designed for inclusion and developed from behavioral psychology. Transparency, insights, and inclusion are the essential ingredients to successful employee engagement.

The main aim with an inclusive financial wellness program is to ensure your people are fully armed with all the information they need to make the best choices for them, and their circumstances - that includes awareness of all the employee benefits available to them. There will be benefits in your stack that could significantly improve your employee’s financial wellness - but they don’t know about it yet - reminding and prompting employees of all that’s on offer is critical.

That being said, on the flip side, there might be benefits that unconsciously discriminate through a lack of consideration for your diverse work forces. For example, if you only launch a benefit that targets your highest earners, but the majority of your people are just above living wage you would be discriminating. Whereas, if you rolled out a benefit for low earners when the majority are high you wouldn’t be meeting needs. It works both ways. Similarly, relationships with money change with culture. Benefits and communication could exclude people based on location. Data is the key to get around the challenges of rewarding a global workforce, and by understanding trends within these disparate financial needs and attitudes. Then allocating personalized benefit experiences that are communicated in a way that’s accessible to that audience.

How do I get started with an inclusive financial wellness program?

You might be thinking, ok what now? How do I get started with an inclusive financial wellness program? First port of call is to use data to understand your people’s diverse financial needs. You can then build a full picture of their financial world by assessing key insights holistically - with information that sometimes gets overlooked, ie. like how many dependents they support. Data is the door to giving you a better grasp of your people’s true financial needs, behaviors, dreams and goals. We wrote about this recently in our global report, ‘Disrupting money habits’.

Or if you’ve got all the insight you need - and you’re ready to kick start your planning and want to find out more about the value of impartial financial education, read our latest ebook.