Individuals often include financial goals in their New Year’s resolutions. Your clients — their employers — should take advantage of this timing to help employees improve their financial wellness. This is important because financial hardship can hurt employee productivity, wrote Mark Feffer for Society of Human Resource Management.

 

“Every year, financial stress costs businesses $5,000 in lost productivity per employee,” Feffer stated, citing research from the Federal Reserve. Here are three ways you can help your clients assist employees:

 

1. Help them offer the right choices
Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of financial wellness programs. But, they may not realize that individualized choices are just as important. It “may mean implementing a full-blown financial wellness program at work or finding one or two areas that employees would like to focus on and helping them address those,” wrote Paula Aven Gladych for Employee Benefit News.

 

Helping employers survey their workers can ensure offerings fit. And, offering several choices or programs can increase effectiveness by making sure the right program is “delivered in the context of employees’ needs at that moment,” wrote Feffer. For example, a program that educates employees about the implications of 401(k) loans as they’re about to take one can make a huge difference in their behavior. “Educate them at the right time and at the inflection point, at the moment when they have to make a choice,” he added.

 

2. Encourage better communication
Help clients understand the value of communication that encourages the use of financial wellness programs. While anyone can offer resources, it’s important your client takes ownership of sharing valuable tools with employees, Feffer wrote, “Otherwise, employees may see vendor-produced materials as ‘just marketing.” Making sure the right people are leading the charge within your clients’ companies is crucial. “This transformation from financial education to financial wellness requires the active involvement of HR in order to succeed,” Feffer added.

 

3. Emphasize measuring success
Your clients’ clear goals for their programs will allow them to recognize success. It can also help them understand when they need to try something different. “I often see organizations jumping on the financial wellness bandwagon because it is the new ‘sexy’ thing to do, without a clear-cut goal of what they want the program to achieve,” wrote Alan Goforth for Benefits Pro, quoting Kris Alban of Enrich.

 

It’s also essential clients measure the right things. “Encourage them to focus on changing behaviors,” Goforth added, quoting Brian Hamilton of SmartDollar. “Incentivize behaviors that lead to positive money habits and promote it to the entire company. A truly holistic financial wellness program can benefit everyone in the organization.”