Interested in Introducing Financial Wellness Programs in the Workplace? Here's a Good Place to Start

Last week, in partnership with Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis (CSD), we released Workplace Financial Wellness Services: A Primer for Employers. With this primer, employers can get an overview of common workplace-based financial wellness services that can be tailored to serve the needs of lower-income workers.

Recent data suggests that financial insecurity is at the forefront of employee’s minds1:

  • 53% of employees in the US found dealing with their personal finances stressful.
  • 50% worried about having enough emergency savings for unexpected expenses.
  • 42% found it difficult to meet their household expenses on time each month.

This primer is a first step to connecting employers with services that meet the specific needs of their workforce. It highlights six services that can help to address these problems:

  • Financial counseling and coaching services offer individual meetings with a trained counselor or coach to discuss financial issues. Meeting(s) may take place in person, online or over the phone and can occur one time or as a series.
  • Debt management services help employees manage repayment of outstanding loans and lines of credit. Debt management service providers typically target their services to a specific type of debt.
  • Savings products and services can be designed to help meet short- or long-term goals. Many employers today help employees save for their retirement, education or other financial goals.
  • Short-term loans and accrued wage advances help employees navigate financial challenges by making short term credit or cash available at the workplace.
  • Online financial management tools help employees manage and/or automate their finances (e.g., estimate how much to save, determine how much to take out in loans, track daily expenses) through a website or mobile app.
  • Financial education classes and seminars typically involve a financial professional or volunteer coming to the workplace to deliver courses or workshops about key financial topics.

To guide employers when selecting financial wellness services, the primer includes brief overviews on the characteristics and application of the services and evidence-based tips to consider in the implementation process. For example, when considering savings products, the primer suggests bundling these with complementary services like financial education and tying the savings opportunity to a timely and relevant financial need like saving for a child’s college fund. Finally, the primer includes broad guidance for getting a workplace financial wellness program started at their workplace.

While the primer gives employers the initial information to learn about financial wellness services, it is necessary to provide additional resources to move forward with the next steps. As such, we are developing an online directory to help employers connect with available financial wellness services in the marketplace allowing them to compare features of various kinds of services. The launch date for the directory is September, stay tuned for more.

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