As more companies add financial wellness to their suite of benefits, one question persists: “How do you know whether it’s paying off for the company?”
Ernst & Young released a report that aims to answer this question.
An EY poll of human resource professionals indicated that 86% of the polled organizations offer a financial wellness program. These offerings can range from technology-only applications and free materials from 401(k) administrators, to comprehensive programs that include financial counselors.
Some organizations don’t offer elements of financial wellness at all — 14% said they did not have a program, and half of that group have never considered it.
Of those who do not have a program, only 16% felt they could justify adding a financial wellness program without knowing the anticipated ROI. Among those who already offer some type of benefit, 34% felt they could offer the benefit without knowing the ROI.
(EY surveyed 200 HR professionals in a variety of roles, from general employees to C-level executives. The respondents represented 18 different fields, with the majority working in manufacturing, IT, health care and education service industries.)
The survey finds that the selection criteria also varies among those who already offer a program and those who don’t. Those who have yet to offer a program focus on cost (59%), which, according to the report, shows that justifying the price — the hallmark of ROI — remains a stumbling block for some.
By comparison, 35% of current financial wellness program providers say price is among the selection criteria.
Organizations expect the return on investment to justify the expense. However, EY thinks it’s time to change the ROI conversation.
“ROI can be difficult to measure and may not be the most reliable benchmark,” the report states. “Sick days, productivity and other indicators fluctuate, and factors unrelated to financial stress could account for those changes. Additional data may be with third parties, making it expensive to obtain and time-consuming to aggregate.”