Technology has changed so many aspects of our lives. The way we bank, listen to music, get our news, and pay for goods and services are all vastly different to what they were just a few years ago. But how have changes in technology impacted on financial wellness programmes?
Could it play a similar role to the one it does in other employee wellness initiatives and be used for tracking and goal setting?
Probably, but there’s scope for wider applications too. It’s also important to remember that while technology is a great enabler, it doesn’t constitute a financial wellness programme in and of itself.
There’s an app for that
One of the most important things anyone can do for their financial wellbeing is get a complete picture of their finances.
Once you know how much you’re spending and what you’re spending it on, for instance, it becomes much easier to cut back and redirect the money into savings.
Thing is, it hasn’t always been easy to do that. Until just a few years ago, you would’ve had to meticulously write down every purchase you made, or trawl through your bank statements at the end of every month.
Unless you somehow find that kind of thing pleasurable, it’s unlikely you would ever make it a full-fledged habit.
Thankfully, you no longer have to be a numbers nerd to get a grip on your finances.
These apps securely access your accounts to give you an overview of your spending, savings, and investments.
While they’re generally aimed at consumers, there’s nothing to stop a company educating its employees about the benefits of these kinds of apps.
Automation and personalisation
As we’ve previously written, the corporate wellness solutions of the future will be tailored to individual workers’ wants and needs. That’s as true of financial wellness as it is of any other aspect of employee wellness.
A large part of the reason such tailoring is possible, is technology.
Automated wellness portals could give employees the knowledge they need as well as allowing them to pick and choose investment and savings products from a variety of companies.
They still benefit from the company’s buying power around those products, but in a way that actually suits them.
Moreover, because HR doesn’t have to waste time manually structuring these packages, it can concentrate on creating great employee experiences.
It’s made education fun
It’s no secret that financial literacy rates around the globe are dangerously low. It’s also no secret that this kind of ignorance can have grave consequences, especially in countries where there are few social safety nets.
That’s not something you want in your company. After all, a worker facing bankruptcy is unlikely to be all that productive.
Investing in employee financial education therefore makes a lot of sense. Trouble is, if you stick everyone in a classroom and start rattling off about share dividends, bond yields, and compound interest, you’re going to lose them pretty quickly.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like that. Just as there apps that give you an overview of your financial situation, so there are apps and online platforms that make financial education fun.
On the consumer side, the site South African insurer Sanlam built to go with its “One Rand Family” campaign is a great example of this.
There are, however, also corporate solutions. And if you want to go full tilt and build your own financial education offering, the expertise is certainly out there.
Tech isn’t everything
It is, however, important to remember that while technology can enable financial wellness, it’s not a catch-all solution.
All the technology in the world means nothing if your financial wellness programme isn’t crafted with expert input and the genuine interests of your employees at heart.