Employee financial wellness has long been a staple for many organizations, but it has evolved in the last decade, says Rebecca Liebman, CEO and co-founder of financial wellbeing provider LearnLux. “Financial wellbeing has exploded as a ‘must-have’ program for top employers to address these needs,” she opines. It is “now considered a key pillar of an individual’s overall health.” She tells Ragan Wellness that in 2022, more than 62% of employers felt extremely responsible for the financial well-being of their employees. Liebman further believes that an employee’s full financial life is tied to their employer. “Their paycheck, healthcare, voluntary benefits, equity compensation, and retirement are all provided by a person’s workplace,” she says. “Employers now have a vested interest in keeping healthcare costs low, helping employees make the most of their paycheck, understand their stock options, and stay on track for retirement.”
Ragan’s Workplace Wellness had the chance to catch up with Liebman, in advance of her session at Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Conference, Aug. 17. Ragan Wellness wanted to get a view of what LearnLux provides, insights into what employers are looking for in financial wellness programs, messaging around benefits and measuring success, and what is on the horizon for financial wellness.
The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
Ragan Wellness: Tell us a bit about LearnLux and the solutions you provide.
Rebecca Liebman: LearnLux blends fiduciary digital planning with access to one-on-one guidance from Certified Financial Planner™️ professionals.
Our program equips employees with a financial plan to guide them through decision points like budgeting, paying down debt, electing benefits, understanding equity compensation, starting a family, buying a home, saving for retirement, and more.
Advanced reporting keeps our partners in the know, and drives results like reduction in financial stress, increased productivity, reduced employee turnover, greater use of pretax products, on-time retirement, and healthcare savings.
RW: What are key features that benefits teams are looking for in financial wellbeing programs?
RL: We are hearing from HR and benefits teams that they are looking for financial wellbeing programs that blend powerful technology with trusted guidance from Certified Financial Planner™ professionals. LearnLux offers digital tools like financial checkups, cashflow calculators, interactive lessons, retirement projections and more to provide powerful insights for individuals. For employees who are ready for one-on-one planning and support, access to Certified Financial Planner™ professionals via chat, email, phone, and video can offer life-changing guidance.
It’s also a top priority for employers that their financial well-being program is completely unbiased.
In our workforce today, financial wellbeing programs also need to account for diverse and dispersed workforces. Employees span wide ranges of ages, incomes, asset levels, and cultural backgrounds. They are in headquarters and in the field, in corporate settings and warehouses, for those working remotely, and those in office settings. The best financial well-being programs should be an equally valuable benefits experience across the board.
RW: What are some of the best practices you recommend to clients as it relates to messaging around benefits?
RL: It’s essential that employees make the right benefits choices to promote and protect their wellbeing. We are seeing that leading HR and benefits teams are leveraging financial wellbeing programs to educate employees about their benefits year-round.
Holistic financial wellbeing programs work to break down the ins and outs of benefits decisions, from the highest level (how do deductibles really work?) to the nitty-gritty (do I need an HSA, FSA, or both?). During key decision points like new hire onboarding, qualifying life events and open enrollment, many employees want to talk to an expert about their specific situation. We reduce this burden for benefits teams by encouraging employees to speak one-on-one with a financial planner who can offer trusted guidance.
RW: How can or should companies be measuring success?
RL: When it comes to financial wellbeing, your program should truly improve the lives of your employees, but also demonstrate real results on your company’s bottom line. Many employers measure engagement, reduction in financial stress, and return on investment (ROI).
In terms of ROI, many LearnLux employer partners see measurable impacts and outcomes within the first six months. Financial wellbeing programs decrease stress, which leads to a healthcare cost savings of $400 per stressed employee annually. Financial wellbeing programs are also proven to drive participation in pre-tax accounts. Higher employee contributions to FSAs, HSAs, 401Ks, and other pre-tax accounts help reduce tax payments for both employees and employers. A company with 10,000 employees, for example, could save over $2 million in payroll tax each year by helping employees opt into pre-tax benefits.
When it comes to presenteeism and absenteeism, research shows that employees who are stressed by financial concerns are distracted or miss work an average of 15.5 days per year. Think of an employee whose mind is on their mountain of student loans, or a worker who receives distracting calls from creditors while on the clock. Offering financial well-being with access to expert planners can help your team keep their energy focused on work rather than their money.
Helping employees maximize the power of their paycheck and understand the financial value of their benefits can increase job satisfaction and retention, saving recruiting, onboarding, and training costs and minimizing work disruption.
RW: Where do you see the workplace financial well-being space heading in the next 5 years?
RL: In the next 5 years, financial well-being will continue to rise in the ranks of top employee benefits next to mental and physical health. Investing in a trusted financial well-being program with a long-term strategy will pay dividends in the future. Employers are exploring cost-effective, high-impact solutions and seeing real results. To gain a competitive edge, HR and benefits teams are prioritizing financial wellbeing to retain and attract new talent. To navigate the rocky roads ahead for employers and employees alike, financial well-being is a workplace trend that is here to stay.
Hear more from Leibman during Ragan’s Workplace Wellness Conference, on Aug. 17.