Why One-Shot Financial Wellness Programming Doesn’t Work
Financial wellness is a commitment—on the part of both the employer and the employee. When it’s done correctly, financial wellness programming is 1) holistic, addressing every facet of the financial decision-making process; 2) comprehensive (includes year-round programming, with a wide range of resources at the ready for employees to utilize); and 3) is administered by an expert.
Unfortunately, financial wellness programming rarely meets one, let alone all three, of these standards. Because financial wellness programming in the workplace is a relatively recent phenomenon, many employers are rushing into it blindly, attempting to deliver one-off financial workshops or short-term programs that fail to meet their employees’ needs.
While employers’ awareness of financial wellness and its importance in the workplace is a step in the right direction, one-off financial wellness programming simply doesn’t work. Much like physical wellness, financial wellness is a lifestyle change. Instead of providing the programming and support for employees that will create real change, employers are more often than not providing lackluster programming and failing to follow up with the appropriate support.
Employers should ask themselves, “Would one week (or even one month) of financial workshops help a 40-year-old employee who has never learned to budget turn his or her financial life around?” “Would a single budgeting seminar enable a young woman to get out from under her second mortgage?”
Probably not. One-off financial wellness programming is the equivalent of a company stating their commitment to physical wellness and then running a Sweatin’ to the Oldies DVD in the break room.
The bottom line is if your company is really committed to creating financial wellness in the workplace, it will feel more like a positive seismic shift in workplace culture than it will a splash-in-the-pan attempt to glom on to a workplace trend.
Executive and leadership team buy-in is essential to the success of a financial wellness program. The programming and culture shift should be discussed at every all-company meeting. This ensures the program becomes a part of the company culture.