As I wrote in my previous post, financial wellbeing is deeply intertwined with business productivity, with employees who are stressed about finances being less productive than those who are not. Employers have recognized this and eight out of 10 now offer financial wellbeing programs, up from just two out of 10 in 2015. Unfortunately, uptake is still low, with only 31 percent of employees participating. So how can employers encourage uptake and help employees find financial stabilityto the benefit of themselves as well as the business?  

Design thinking—from strategy through execution

A well-designed, holistic offering will help propel employees from financial literacy to financial empowerment, equipping them the tools and information required to create sustained behavior change in their financial lives. A holistic approach helps employees draw links between various elements of financial health—from preparing a will, to saving for a home, to managing credit card debt (and everything in between).  

Financial firms need to involve end users in the development process when creating tailored offeringsand research proves this kind of design thinking is worth the effort. Design-led companies outperformed the S&P 500 stock index by 211 percent over a recent 10-year period. Putting employees at the heart of a holistic offering—from design through to execution—is key to success.  

Digitally-fueled personalization

Digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, are the best way to deliver the level of personalization employees expect, at the scale and competitive pricing companies desire. Using predictive data analytics, companies are able to offer individual employees a financial wellness experience tailored to their needs. 

Hitting the right touchpoints at the right times encourages uptake and action. For example, an employee making $40,000 per year with minimal health insurance and a large amount of debt is unlikely to respond to content about saving for an expensive home. But the young executive, recently married and expecting a baby, probably will. Advanced analytics and AI can help identify these kinds of employee needs and patterns of behavior. To remain competitive, companies need to infuse digital strategically throughout their offering. 

Deliver a compelling customer experience

A great customer experience builds employee momentum by acknowledging milestones that indicate progress. This encourages continued positive behavior change. Using the principles of behavioral finance, companies need to offer information in logically sequenced, digestible chunks. In doing so, they can encourage sustained engagement and satisfaction with the process.  

Firms need to offer a seamless, consistent, tailored customer experience across all channels—from advisors, to website, to phone support. A host of techniques and options are available to help deliver dynamic experiences. From gamification to self-service, responsive feedback options to data-fueled personalization—firms need to provide modern customer experiences that align with employees’ experiences outside of work. 

Taking advantage of the opportunity

With the right approach, wealth managers, insurance companies and other financial firms have the opportunity to capitalize on the growing need for financial wellbeing. Our report identifies three key aspects to designing programs that will have meaningful impact and result in higher participation by employees:  

  1. Play to your legacy strengths in your market strategy: for most, there is no need to start from scratch. If your core capability is product, use that and expand on it. If your strength is in advice, build on advice. Your jumping-off point should already be well-established. 
  2. Ecosystems add richness when done right: join forces with other providers that offer capabilities that you lack; the number of non-traditional specialists is growing rapidly. Many of them offer programs that tackle challenges one at a time, emphasizing small steps to increase the chances of lasting behavioral change among employees.
  3. Work with trusted partners: working with an experienced partner to develop and market strategies can put you far ahead of competitors. The employee financial wellness niche is expanding. Partnering with a provider whose core competencies and experiences in implementation have borne success will save headaches along the way.  

The employee financial wellness market is growing. Personalized offerings are aimed at increasing uptake, improving employees’ financial status, and getting them focused on the job at hand. By taking a thoughtful, strategic approach to the offering, wealth managers, insurers and other financial firms have the opportunity to capitalize on this multi-billion dollar market.  

To learn more about employee financial health and how to create offerings that will support uptake and engagement, read Accenture’s Cornering Workplace Financial Wellness reportFor more of my posts on trends and challenges in insurance, please visit my page on the Accenture blog. 

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