Periodically, we like to offer success stories from HR pros from across the U.S. This account of how one employer’s wellness program helped staffers both physically and financially comes courtesy of Tim O’Neil, manager of employee health and financial wellness at Meredith Corp., Des Moines, IA.
After years of rolling out health-specific initiatives, it was time to move our focus to a different area.
For us that meant developing a financial wellness program.
We want to help our employees live healthier, happier lives – and financial health is just as important as physical health. So we did a nationwide search for a vendor that could help provide us with the tools we needed.
Like an HSA for financial health
In the end, we settled on a company that focused solely on education, without trying to steer people toward specific products.
The program included a yearly assessment, workshops and coaching.
Much like an HSA, the Personal Financial Wellness Checkup was a 30-question annual survey that gauged workers’ (and spouses and domestic partners’) overall financial health.
Based on their results, they were given a score between 1 and 10, with 1 being the greatest level of financial health and 10 being the worst.
The program also made recommendations for people based on their results. Once everyone completed the checkup, our vendor gave us the aggregate data on their responses.
This helped on a number of levels. For one thing, it put workers’ minds at ease because we weren’t seeing any of their personal responses. But the aggregate data did allow us to tailor the type of education we offered.
A variety of workshops
After workers completed the checkup, they were offered a variety of education-based workshops on financial wellness topics.
These workshops ran the gamut from help with basic budgeting and long-term financial goals to creating a will and selecting benefits like life insurance effectively.
Employees could attend these workshops in person or view them live online. In addition, they could see workshops on our wellness website if they weren’t at work that day.
Because we wanted to make sure our financial program was tied in with our health-based initiatives, employees earned wellness points for attending these workshops.
They could redeem these point for lower healthcare premiums – or cash if they weren’t on our health plan.
The program also offered a more personalized element, as well.
Individual, group help
In addition to the checkup and workshops, employees could receive coaching from the vendor’s educators.
Depending on the topic, this is done on a one-to-one or a group basis.
For example, most people would prefer to talk about boosting their credit score on an individual basis, while a group setting would work for coaching staffers on saving money for their kids’ college funds.
We’ve seen outstanding results from our financial wellness program.
The number of employees living paycheck to paycheck went from 40% to around 20%, which is even more impressive when you consider the industry average is right around 70%.
But most importantly, the program ties financial health into our overall wellness strategy and helps employees live longer, healthier and happier lives.