In search of ROI

  • Share

The benefits of financial wellness programs are well documented, but organizations want metrics and measurements to validate the expense. Among our survey respondents, 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 - Figure 3

But ROI can be difficult to measure and may not be the most reliable benchmark. 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.

The reality is that financial wellness programs can be “proved in” with fairly conservative assumptions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says employers typically see a return of $3 for every $1 spent on financial wellness programs. Yet a more effective way to prove the program’s value is by measuring employee engagement.

It’s time to change the ROI conversation. HR practitioners excel at knowing how employees utilize their benefits options, accepted methods of learning more about an organizational topic and what employees look for when they need help. This practical knowledge provides an opportunity for the benefits department to share strategic insights with the C-suite, helping executives reframe how they view the value of financial wellness programs.