Mercer | A targeted approach to workforce financial wellness

Employee Financial Wellness

A targeted approach to workforce financial wellness Part 1

Q&A with Derek Cushman
US Financial Wellness Solutions Leader

 

How much you need to know about our employee population to create an effective financial wellness program?

The thinking on financial wellness has evolved a lot in the last few years. It’s no longer just about retirement or education — it’s about how to make progress toward your goals and reach financial independence. Part of that is recognizing that your employee population is varied, and people will be in different mindsets and life stages, changing their financial concerns. Say “401(k)” to the 22-year-olds just out of college and they might just tune out. However, they’re more likely to relate to saving to move out of their parents’ house or pay off their student loans. 

A financial wellness program that really works is one that speaks to different members of your workforce in a way that resonates with each and every individual.

Not having high-quality, relevant data — and enough of it — can be a barrier to organizations as they tailor their financial wellness offerings to their workforce. After all, how do you know what vendors and resources to invest in if you don’t have a good idea of what your employee population needs?

One approach is to simply ask employees. But self-reporting has its issues. For one, people are likely to give an optimistic version of the true state of their financial affairs when they are put on the spot in a poll from their employer. In other cases, people genuinely don’t know the answers — for example, their mortgage payment is deducted from their paycheck each month, it’s been deducted in this way for years, and they don’t know how much they have left to pay off. Employees can also resent their employers nosing into their financial affairs, even if it’s intended to help them.

Read the rest of this series:

Learn more about financial wellness. Read our Q&A series with Betsy Dill, US Financial Wellness Advisory Leader:

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