The ultimate financial wellbeing program [webinar write-up]
The next decade will be characterized by environmental and societal crises. Driven by underlying geopolitical and economic pressures, financial anxiety is at its peak. Employees are looking to their employers for help and guidance through these turbulent times. In fact, 66% of employees say their employer is responsible for ensuring they are financially secure. Yet only 35% of employers say they have a financial wellbeing program in place.
On January 25th we invited Senior Compensation and Benefits Partner LATAM at Meta - Thais Mingardo, Global reward manager at Baringa - Laura Redfarn and nudge co-founder - Jeremy Beament to our virtual stage, to explore how to create the ultimate financial wellbeing program.
To get an understanding of people’s motivations to evolve financial wellbeing programs, we started out by asking “What are the reasons your organization has or is planning to implement a financial wellness program?”:
90% said “Improve financial health”,
46% “improve awareness of existing benefits” and “Increase employee engagement” (46%) and
41% said “Increase understanding of existing benefits”
So there is a wide range of reasons why organizations are exploring the topic, but the key themes are improving financial health and getting a better understanding of existing benefit programs.
According to the World Economic Forum (Markets of Tomorrow Report, 2023), education and workforce development technologies are rated as number two among the global top ten technologies of strategic importance. Alongside the emerging financial wellness trends, support packages for employees are high up, as well as, the need to create a global financial wellbeing program.
Before diving into the details of the ultimate financial wellbeing program, nudge co-founder, Jeremy Beament, explained that in order for the financial wellbeing program to be “ultimate” it needs to be positive and proactive, have maximum reach, maximum impact and minimal effort.
1. Maximum reach
An ultimate financial wellbeing program needs to reach as many people as possible when it’s needed the most.
Baringa is headquartered in the UK and has hubs across Europe, APAC and the U.S., so having a global strategy was a key driver for Laura Redfarn, Global reward manager at Baringa, when creating their financial wellbeing strategy:
“As we are growing quickly and globally, we’re really trying to get away from being a very UK-centric organization and moving towards being a global service offering for our clients. We'd love to reach a stage where we're very much a borderless-Baringa and so we need a global mindset in everything that we're doing.”
At Meta, Senior Compensation and Benefits Partner LATAM, Thais Mingardo, saw a gap in their offering when it comes to the financial education pillar, which made it really important for them to give their people access to a diverse portfolio of benefits, and grow the awareness of it.
Top tips on maximizing reach:
Redfarn stated, “make it global: when creating new global compensation processes or benefit offerings it is important to ask, what can I do on a global basis that will reach all of my people?”
Beament said “share it: our research shows that the majority of employees go to work to support their families, but 60% of the employees say that the employer doesn’t know how many people they support. Consider offering support to their peers or keeping the support for people, even after they’ve left the company.”
The nudge platform has the Friends & Family feature giving the employees the chance to share financial education with their loved ones.
2. Maximum impact
The ultimate financial wellbeing program has a clear impact, is relevant and measurable. To make sure the program has an impact, it is important to review the organization's “why” – why do we need a financial wellbeing program in the first place – and to get all stakeholders as well as current benefits aligned. Being clear about what impact you want to get out of the program, makes it possible to measure against it and report on the return on investment.
Perhaps you haven’t considered the link between financial education and diversity, equity and inclusion. For example, people from ethnic minorities have been really hard hit, and Hispanics in the US over 70% have reported financial worries versus less than 30% of Caucasian white people. So the work you are doing on DE&I is most likely linked back to financial education.
Tips for maximum impact:
Beament’s advice is to be strategic about the desired outcome of your program and consider how financial wellbeing is linked to your other programs, such as DE&I and how you can use the program to drive forward both strategies.
3. Minimal effort
The ultimate financial wellbeing program needs to be able to run itself and be a very low effort for HR.
For Baringa, having a sole vendor for financial education made the whole process smoother and ensured consistency. It was necessary with simple management, Redfarn explains, “In a debt management story, we have embedded a link to our brand new interest-free Loan scheme. Bringing all of your benefits on the one platform and bringing it all together, is helping us manage it really well.”
Tips for minimal effort:
Making decisions based on data in an automated way from your vendor will improve your program with a minimum effort.
With ‘nudgenomics’ (nudge's data and analytic reports), you get access to critical data to inform your wellbeing and employee benefit strategy, and to your employee financial wellbeing improvements with the financial health check-up.