Peter Lazaroff is chief investment officer at Plancorp and blogs at peterlazaroff.com.
Over the past decade, employers have added company perks to help with what employees report as their number-one workplace stressor: financial matters. Employers have a vested interest in helping their workforce reduce the stress they feel around personal finances. Employees’ financial worries often translate into reduced productivity, days missed at work, and disengagement at the office.
But in my conversations with companies, I’ve identified some common shortfalls in corporate financial-wellness programs. So here are five solutions that I think are needed to create more effective benefits for workers:
Integrate with existing benefits. Many wellness programs lack a centralized hub of resources for employees, who often must go to one solution for retirement questions, another for student loans, another for equity compensation, and yet another for health savings accounts. This creates a disjointed experience and makes it difficult to coordinate all the various pieces, causing employees to leave money on the table by missing the 401(k) match, misunderstanding HSAs and inappropriately utilizing stock compensation.
Provide actionable education. Actionable financial education is central to financial-wellness programs because employees need to be guided to the right benefit at the right time. While basic information is useful, actionable financial education goes a step further by empowering employees to understand and utilize their benefits effectively.
It also must be comprehensive to meet the needs of employees of various demographics at different life stages. The way the material is designed matters, too. The best financial-wellness programs offer a mix of live and recorded sessions and short and in-depth content pieces, as not everyone learns the same way.
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