Majority of employers offer financial wellness programs

Eighty-three percent of employers now offer financial wellness programs, up from 20 percent two years ago, according to recent research from Prudential Workplace Solutions Group. The survey, Benefits and Beyond: Employer Perspectives on Financial Wellness, found that an additional 14 percent of employers plan to offer these programs in the next one to two years.

“Our survey reveals that employers and employees report higher satisfaction with their benefit plans when financial wellness programs are offered,” said Vishal Jain, financial wellness officer for Prudential’s Workplace Solutions Group. “Employees increasingly look to their employers to help them achieve financial security, and employers are seeking data and insights on how to respond and influence better outcomes.”

The survey found the following:

  • Employers who offer financial wellness are more satisfied with their total benefits program (61 percent), than those who do not (44 percent).
  • Larger employers were more satisfied with their financial wellness offerings (72 percent) than medium (54 percent) or small employers (50 percent).
  • Most large employers (61 percent) believe data sharing is employees’ biggest barrier to participation in financial wellness programs, citing “privacy concerns” and “putting together all the data and information.”
  • Overall, retirement plan and benefit providers are the preferred providers of financial wellness.
  • Criteria for selecting financial wellness providers are primarily driven by cost, ease of implementation and expertise.

Measurement matters. According to the survey, employers primarily rely on employees to tell them what types of financial wellness programs they need and how to measure the success of the programs. Methods used include surveys and informal feedback, analysis of internal data around 401(k) loans or withdrawals, as well as wage garnishments. More than two-thirds measure the impact of their financial wellness programs at least quarterly.

“Employers recognize the best way to support employees is to understand their needs,” Jain said. “As financial wellness becomes the rule rather than the exception, financial services providers that can use data to help employers develop better programs and communications for employees will be increasingly valued.”

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