Lately, there has been a lot of buzz around financial literacy and employee wellness benefit programs. Companies are adopting them with open arms, but that is really where it ends. A Merrill Lynch study reported that only about 30% of employers are measuring the effectiveness of these types of programs.
Like any other benefit, it’s critical that companies are frequently tracking KPIs for financial and employee wellness programs. Here are some tips on doing so.
Financial Literacy and Wellness
The first thing employers need to do is understand what a financial wellness benefit means to their organization. Is it part of a larger initiative or was it implemented as a stand-alone feature? Was it included for recruiting or retainment? To get started in understanding this, there are a few main metrics that you can track:
- Participation. How many employees are actually utilizing financial tools? By measuring participation in specific tools, you can see what is most engaging to your workforce.
- Contribution Numbers. If you are offering automatic savings programs or HSAs, keep tabs on contribution trends. If the number of individuals contributing increases, it means the program is having a positive effect. Further, if the average amount of contribution is increasing, it could mean that employees now have the extra funds to invest, meaning that other resources were impactful.
- Employee Turnover. Although it’s harder to draw a direct correlation to this metric, but it’s still important to track. In general, a good benefits package drives employee retention, so blow- or above-average turnover rates could be an indicator of benefits performance.
- Productivity and Attendance. Finances are one of the biggest sources of stress among working-age adults. Productivity and attendance take a major hit when stress and on-the-job distraction levels are high. Take a look at absenteeism trends for participants vs. non-participants. If participants tend to have fewer missed days and are all-around more productive, it may be a sign of an effective program.
- Feedback. One of the must underutilized ways to measure the effectiveness of a program is to talk to the participants. There is an additional layer of insight that employees and front-line managers have that can be utilized to analyze financial wellness benefits.
Source: Benefits and Beyond: Employer Perspectives on Financial Wellness, a Prudential Financial report
Employee Wellness Programs
If effective, employee wellness programs can revolutionize employee experiences for the better, from reducing healthcare costs to improving stress and addressing mental health. So how can you determine if your employee wellness program is working? It seems that “wellness” is a tough thing to measure, which is why many organizations don’t do it. Here are a few things you can do to track employee wellness and the effectiveness of your program.
- Participation and engagement. Similarly to financial wellness programs, employee wellness programs aren’t effective unless people are participating. Taking a look at short- and long-term participation trends is one of the first steps in measuring effectiveness. From there, information like length of participation and demographics of participants can be used to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of the program.
- Attendance and productivity. Again, like in the case of financial literacy programs, attendance and productivity can be indicators of program performance. Metrics like sick time used, overtime used, insurance data, turnover rates, deadline adherence and more can be used to gauge overall employee attitude and their relationship with the workplace. Compare these metrics before and after implementing a wellness program to see its impact.
- Define wellness. One of the hardest questions to answer is “what is happiness?” What does it mean to have a sense of well-being? This is something that differs from workplace to workplace and requires a lot of refinement. Through surveying employees for honest feedback, you can paint a clearer picture of what wellness looks like in your workplace.
- Sentiment analysis. You can utilize technology to get an even better sense of employee attitude and experience. Anything that is written can undergo sentiment analysis, which uses language analysis to uncover the tone, attitude, or emotions behind it. Just be careful not to cross the line and become intrusive.
Both of these programs require time and effort to measure their success. But taking the time to do so can make a big impact for your employees.