While implementing a Financial Wellness program might not be as easy as pop tart instructions (yes, that’s really a thing), it’s typically not as arduous a process as people might assume.
You may have read our previous blog post exploring the ins-and-outs of launching a Financial Wellness program. We have since expanded on those concepts, and are now excited to share our newest white paper, “Implementing A Financial Wellness Program: Guidelines for Retirement Plan Advisors and Sponsors.” The white paper provides a detailed guide to the steps and processes needed to launch a successful program that engages plan participants.
The initial stages of implementation can be divided into three parts: preparation, adoption, and engagement. The first part involves careful planning. Expectations for a timeline and for success metrics need to be established, as well as some sort of feedback loop to make sure processes are on track.
After proper planning and preparation, shift into the adoption phase. This needs to be deliberate and inviting. Start with an in-person kickoff meeting. Make it easy for participants to enroll and be sure to have advisors or program experts there to assist participants with onboarding. Offer small, random incentives to help boost engagement (more on that below). Maintain engagement with frequent email communication and advisor meetings. The human component of financial wellness is still vitally important to participants.
Engagement, the Beast of the EAST
One of the biggest challenges during the implementation process is motivating participants to consistently engage. Research has demonstrated that there are, in fact, ways to effectively incentivize participants and to inspire true behavior change. This change is then quantifiable in several ways using the ROI of Financial Wellness, which is part of the assessment process following implementation.
Effective incentivization often involves using small and random rewards. Make program use easy, attractive, social, and timely—EAST. When participants understand the importance of financial wellness for meeting personal financial goals that are meaningful to them, it’s easier for them to stay motivated.
The purpose of an authentic financial wellness program is to help people meet their individualized financial goals. A program is only worthwhile if it’s having an impact. It’s important to communicate with participants and hear their individual stories. These narratives provide direct and compelling feedback that can be used to inspire others.
This brief summary has only scratched the surface of what an effective program implementation process looks like. For a detailed look into how to implement Financial Wellness, be sure to download our newest white paper.