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How to Choose a Financial Wellness Program for Your Employees

High turnover rate. Low motivation. Toxic workplace environment. These are just some of the ways your employees’ financial wel­­lness—or lack of it—affects your business. The truth is your employees’ personal lives don’t stay at home. Their issues and concerns follow them to work—especially their financial concerns. All that financial stress naturally trickles into the workplace and affects your team’s productivity and workplace environment.

No amount of pizza parties, jeans days, or other morale-boosting activities will help your employees forget about their money problems. And the bottom line is this: If your employees are constantly stressing about their bills and living paycheck to paycheck, they’ll keep leaving your company for a job with slightly better pay and benefits.

Over the last few years, companies have realized they can help their employees improve their financial situations by offering them a financial wellness program. When your HR department helps employees with their finances, you’re also helping your business with an improved employee retention rate, satisfied workforce and stronger workplace culture.

But how do you pick the right program? We know HR departments are flooded with emails and calls from companies trying to sell their financial wellness programs. But many of them don’t offer true financial wellness. So, let’s break down what you can expect from different types of financial wellness programs—so you can decide which one is best for your company.

Which Financial Wellness Program Is Right for Your Company?

Let’s dig into the different types of financial wellness programs on the market. They all have the same goal, but some may not actually help your employees. And that’s a waste of your money and their time.

Use this guide to help you make the best decision for your company and employees.

Program #1: One-Off Events and Activities

Events and activities offer a lot of promise and excitement in the beginning, but they fall short of expectations—for you and your employees. When you bring a program like this to your company, everyone is pumped to meet with financial advisors, start a budget, and take control of their money.

But after the first meeting, employees are left with a lot of questions: What do I do next? Who can I contact for financial advice? Where do I go when I need help?

Events that fit this category include annual enrollment meetings and one-time workshops. These are great methods to get people excited about financial wellness, but they don’t offer nearly enough information, financial tools, or coaching to help employees actually reach their money goals.

Program #2: Education and Literacy

As an alternative to one-off events, some financial wellness programs provide a library of personal finance information so employees can have ongoing access.

“They can’t say we didn’t help if they refuse to read the information!” Have you heard that guy before? Yeah . . . he’s the worst.

Here’s the problem: Your financial wellness program shouldn’t require your employees to go on a treasure hunt for information that’ll actually help them. That’s a motivation killer!

Of course, financial education is a necessary part of any program, but it shouldn’t stop there. A good financial wellness program will also give your employees clear steps to improve their finances. And a great financial wellness program will connect them with a coach to advise them on their specific situation.

Program #3: Financial Apps and Tools

While education tells your employees what they need to do to become financially stable, financial apps and tools help your employees with the how.


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Financial apps and tools offer access to the equipment you need to take control of your money, but they often don’t come with the knowledge and information employees need to use them effectively. That’s about as useless as lifting weights without knowing which exercises to do. At the end of the day, you’ve done some work, but it didn’t make you any stronger or healthier.

Program #4: Coaching and Behavioral

Finally, coaching and behavioral financial wellness plans offer a comprehensive approach for your employees. Programs like SmartDollar focus on the employee’s spending and saving behavior rather than just their finances alone.

The theory behind coaching and behavioral financial wellness programs is that if you can retrain a person’s money habits, you can change their family tree for generations. This type of program requires a commitment from employees. They’ll have to spend time learning new concepts and changing their behaviors with money—and that doesn’t happen overnight.

But the best part about this type of program is that employees aren’t alone—they’ll have a financial coach and support system to help them with their finances and encourage new behavior. So they can get out debt and out of the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle—fast!

Overall, HR leaders who implement financial wellness programs are happy with their results. But when they implement SmartDollar, they are far more satisfied with the outcome for their employees. Companies who use SmartDollar reported 67% extreme satisfaction ratings, while companies who don’t use SmartDollar report only 49% extreme satisfaction ratings.1 The results speak for themselves!

Here’s a Quick Recap

Whew! That’s a lot of information to digest. Use this recap to help you decide which program is best for your business.

different types of financial wellness programs for employees

Make the Smart Decision for Your Employees

As an HR leader, you want to provide the best benefits for your company and employees. This challenge requires patience, a “go get ’em” attitude, and the confidence to ask tough questions for the business.

When you work as hard as you do, you deserve to see the fruits of your labor. And that means watching employees become financially stable, debt-free and happier in the workplace.

Need more information before making this important decision? We understand! SmartDollar has tons of resources about employee financial wellness to help you make the right decision.

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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