Popularity of financial wellness programs rises among employers, survey finds

By Emily Bader
United States | May 9, 2018 at 7:10 am

Financial wellness programs are gaining popularity among employers, according to a survey from Prudential’s Workplace Solutions Group, a business unit of Prudential Financial Inc.

According to Prudential’s survey “Benefits and Beyond: Employer Perspectives on Financial Wellness”, 83 percent of employers offer financial wellness programs, up 20 percent compared to two years ago. An additional 14 percent of employers said they plan to offer these programs in the next year or two.

“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 also examined attitudes toward financial wellness, as well as common programs, top success metrics and execution barriers.

Some figures include:

  • Employers that offer financial wellness programs are more satisfied with their total benefits program (61 percent) than those who do not (44 percent);
  • 72 percent of large employers were more satisfied with their financial wellness offerings than medium (54 percent) or small employers (50 percent);
  • 61 percent of large employers said data sharing is an employees’ biggest barrier to participate in financial wellness programs.

Despite a recent shift to gig and other alternative work environments, most employers are committed to offering benefits, the survey found.

Some figures include:

  • 60 percent of employers said they should provide benefits to employees while only 15 percent said employees should be responsible for their own benefits;
  • 64 percent said their employees are highly satisfied with their overall benefits package, up from 41 percent in the previous survey;
  • A third of employers said they should be responsible for paying the entire cost of benefits they offer.

They survey said employers rely on employees to inform them of the types of financial wellness programs they need. Methods used include surveys and informal feedback, analysis of data around 401(k)’s and wage garnishments.

“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.”

The survey included responses from about 800 decision makers for group insurance benefits at U.S. businesses with at least 100 full-time employees.

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | emilybader