It’s time your financial wellbeing program united your people. Brought to you by nudge, an impartial financial education benefit, this article will help you create a truly inclusive community where no one is left behind.

Understand your people and outline your program objectives

Do you really understand the changing needs of your people? To begin planning a program for your people – first, you must understand them. However you retrieve the insight, it needs to dig deep into employee aspirations, motivations, personal finance goals and challenges. Although it’s an important consideration, don’t just focus on employee benefit engagement – there is much more to understand about them.

As a reward leader, you’ll be well-versed in employee sentiment and engagement analytics. But have you discovered people trends in:

Your people’s financial motivations according to region, country or business unit?
Your people’s wants, needs, dreams and goals and how these differ by region and evolve over time?
Does your program support your people strategy?
Your people strategy should outline how HR is supporting the ambition and goals of the business.
How does your financial wellbeing program support this people strategy?

Here’s an example of business, people and reward alignment:

Siemens was experiencing a long-term transition from being an industrial to tech business. This required an evolution in their talent from engineering to tech-focused employees. Meanwhile, Siemens identified that some employees were open to early retirement which would support this transition so the reward team used the financial wellbeing program to encourage increased pension outcomes and earlier retirement, thereby opening up vacancies for new tech-focused employees.

The results:

2,500 Employees increased their pension contributions.
+30% in contributions by a third of employees.
500% increase in engagement with financial education.

Action: Understand your people and business needs, ensuring your vision for your financial wellbeing program supports the critical areas of both.

Outcome: Robust foundation for your program with aligned business and people needs at its beating heart.

Designing your program

How does your program fit within your wellbeing ecosystem? It’s time to start mapping out your program. The first step is to understand where your program fits within your wider system of reward and benefit products, solutions and vendors, supporting your people’s wellbeing.

To bring structure to your research, try connecting solutions to wellbeing strategy pillars, ie. mental, physical, financial, social. Not only does this ensure all areas of wellbeing are covered but it helps your people to understand what is on offer and how it benefits them.

How does your tech stack support your program?

Your tech stack (HR, payroll, benefits tech) has two areas of relevance:

1. the management of the program (understanding membership listing and enrolling employees)
2. the employee experience (employee journey from and to other technology).

The ambition is for a seamless integrated experience for all employees across all regions including consideration of:

Branding consistencies
Single sign-on
SFTP data flows
Integration with existing message channels (e.g. Teams, Slack, email etc)
Shared service center mechanics
Analytics for single picture reporting
The results of your audit will highlight any issues to resolve and opportunities to drive more value from your existing reward and benefits program.

Are you choosing solutions that appeal to all employees?

There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all when it comes to reward and benefits. But there are solutions that people need and those they want. Financial wellbeing ticks both boxes.

Money unites us all, whether you are struggling or not. A financial wellbeing program, underpinned by personalized financial education, can help all employees better understand and utilize benefits relevant to them. We will explore this in more detail in the program partners section. At this stage, it’s important to recognize any gaps using your previous people and business ‘needs’ analysis.

Do you know what success looks like and can you measure it?

First things first, define ‘financial wellbeing’ for your organization. Different people will define ‘financial wellbeing’ in different ways depending on their interests and motivations. For example, a payroll loan company will say it’s about giving people access to loans whereas a savings provider will say it’s about encouraging saving. To create your definition, it can help to start by defining ‘success’ and working back from there.

To start the creation of your definition, have a think about:
1. How do you want people to feel about their money?
2. How do you want people’s financial behaviors to change as a result of your support?

Action: Check your program design is aligned with your definition of financial wellbeing and objectives.
Outcome: Measurable results that will demonstrate outcomes, rally internal support and
generate metrics to inform continuous improvement.

Choosing your program partners

Have you defined your criteria for program partners? You’ve done your research, mapped out your offer and setup success measurements. Now you need to engage with potential partners – the fun part. Before you look at specific providers, make sure you’re clear on any gaps in your current offering.

When you’re ready, here are key vendor considerations:

How does their product/service support your business and people’s needs?
What experience and case studies do they have with organizations like yours?
What’s your priority? Price, value or quality?
What other additional support is available, for example training or communication packages?
Do they integrate with your existing tech stack and benefits?
What is the commercial model and how is this aligned with your objectives?

It’s widely accepted that financial education is the foundation for a successful financial wellbeing program. It empowers people to make informed financial decisions relevant to their circumstances. In fact, we found it’s a shared belief among the majority of people – 85% of people said skills and knowledge are important factors in financial wellbeing.

A word of caution: True financial wellbeing can’t have an ulterior motive such as selling payroll loans, pensions, pay advances, asset management support, mortgages, EAPs and banking accounts. Without prioritizing skills and knowledge, your people might select incorrect products and services that could cause more damage than good.

Action: Qualify your partners based on key program, business and people considerations.
Outcome: Shortlist of qualified partners capable of delivering your program.

Rallying your stakeholders

Do senior management understand the program’s potential? The activation and success of your program is now dependent on senior management support. Using the information you’ve collated from sections 1-3 in this article, you have all the evidence required to build a strong business case for your program.

Financial wellbeing is a relatively new player so stakeholders may be unaware of the plethora of benefits. The good news is – wellbeing is on everyone’s radar…COVID has pushed wellbeing up the CEO agenda. The C-suite now recognize a shift in people’s attitudes to money and that people’s financial position impacts their mental and physical wellbeing. The door is open on this topic. All that’s needed is an outline of how improved financial wellbeing will have a positive impact on your business. As well as educating your senior management on the challenge you are looking to address.

Is your CEO prioritizing financial wellbeing?

CEO buy-in is critical at this stage of your planning, and at a later stage you’ll need them to champion your program. When advocacy is heard from the top, employees are more likely to listen. Your CEO will challenge you on the business impact. Luckily you will have the data you have collected from previous sections to convince them.

To help, here’s more evidence from us: Money connects us all and sadly many of us worry about money every week (52%), in fact people with high salaries worry about money just as often as everyone else. This impacts performance, engagement and sickness. Poor financial wellbeing is a business risk and it’s time for the Board to give your team autonomy to deliver a successful financial wellbeing strategy.

Our research revealed that employers who have reported poor financial wellbeing are: seven times more likely to have produced significantly less work, eight times more likely to produce a lower standard of work and four times more likely to be completely disengaged with the company. Not to mention sick days due to financial stress.

Action: Devise a business case with your research, proposed program, business outcomes and risk analysis of not delivering financial wellbeing.
Outcome: Stakeholders on board and advocates of the program.

Jeremy Beament
Jeremy Beament
Co-Founder and Director at Nudge Global | Website

Jeremy has been at the forefront of innovation in the HR and Reward industry with two decades of experience. Alongside nudge co-founder Tim Perkins, Jeremy recognized that people have an unprecedented level of responsibility for their money, but are lacking confidence and knowledge – and on global scale. People need help and that’s where the idea for nudge was born for an - impartial, global financial education benefit for all - designed to improve people’s financial wellness and overall wellbeing. nudge has grown rapidly, supporting millions of people across the globe with financial education to create brighter financial futures for themselves and their loved ones.