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COVID-19 has posed a dual set of related challenges for plan sponsors and participants. For employees, the pandemic has pitted more immediate financial needs against prioritizing planned savings — and shifted the traditional focus of employer-sponsored financial wellness programs from the future to the present. And sponsors face the difficulty of effectively engaging remote workers showing increased demand for financial wellness programs. Prudential’s 2020 Plan Sponsor Pulse Survey data shows 72% of sponsors reporting greater utilization, with 28% indicating a significant increase.
With that in mind, plan sponsors can use several strategies to help weary workers engage with the organization’s financial wellness program — no matter where they are.
Bite-size is better.
Gear your educational content toward shorter, more focused personal finance topics. Modular programming will help accommodate the many interruptions and divided attention that’s increasingly common among remote workers.
Make it fun.
Presentations don’t have to be “Dancing With The Stars” production numbers but take steps to keep the subject matter fresh and engaging to compete with 9 to 5+ computer time. Use gamification to counteract screen fatigue. If employees can earn points, digital badges, certificates, or rewards, they may be more apt to tune in and participate.
You used to post notices about educational events on the company bulletin board that remote workers no longer see. Email reminders and text notifications can help keep those working from home in the loop — be sure, however, to ask employees about their contact preferences, and don’t blow up their inbox or cell phone.
Diversify. Diversify. Diversify.
Useful for more than just investing, format diversification helps accommodate the different ways people like to learn. Some may digest written content better. For others, an infographic or video is more effective. Use analytics to track usage and see what’s preferred. Why not create a financial wellness podcast that employees can listen to during their treadmill workout?
Track down the tech-averse.
You may have a segment of your employee population who showed up reliably for one-on-one meetings and live events to receive information but haven’t logged in for a single webinar. You don’t want these folks to fall through the cracks now. Consider phone calls and even snail mail reminders to make sure they don’t disconnect.
You may want to shift content toward more immediate participant concerns such as debt management, emergency savings, budgeting, or any other areas of interest identified. Track engagement with your wellness program and double down on the topics and tactics that perform best.
Remote work has challenged traditional financial wellness programming delivery methods, but it’s also an opportunity to reach an audience with a newfound interest in new ways. Take advantage of their attention while you have it.