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3 reasons financial wellbeing initiatives fail—and how to avoid them

“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”

I’ve been on a Winston Churchill kick over the last few years, and when I think about failure, his quote above comes to mind.  If you’ve made a few orbits around the earth as a benefits or HR leader—you’ve likely seen more than a few benefit rollouts fail and fall flat. You were excited about a new initiative, offering, or vendor, but it didn’t have the impact on your employees wellbeing like you hoped it would. Bummer.

Here at Your Money Line, we’ve been around the world of employee financial wellness for two decades, and we’ve worked with hundreds of companies to get their programs implemented. Financial wellbeing initiatives are becoming in vogue as companies recognize the stress employees feel about money and the importance of supporting their financial health. These financial wellness programs for employees aim to educate, empower, and provide resources for managing personal finances, reducing stress, and increasing productivity. 

While there are many financial wellness examples showcasing the benefits of these initiatives, we’ve also seen some of the pitfalls that companies can encounter when launching financial wellbeing initiatives. By combating these three harbingers of failure, you can ensure that your financial wellness program is implemented successfully and has a meaningful impact on your team:

Pitfall 1: The initiative isn’t prioritized

Life at work is busy. And one of the primary reasons financial wellness programs fail to make a difference is that they simply don’t get given ample airtime in front of employees or a robust rollout strategy. It’s easy to bury great benefits in a long list that’s highlighted at open enrollment and never think about it again. And while a lot of time is spent informing employees about healthcare or retirement benefits, too often, financial wellness is given a back seat rather than as an essential part of an employee's wellbeing. 

To ensure financial wellness programs—or any other wellness program—have a meaningful impact, companies should prioritize communication about them alongside other employee benefits and should ensure there’s an ongoing engagement strategy to drive registrations and/or usage. Thoughtfully consider the various components of implementing a financial wellness platform—from team rollouts, live events, email comms, Slack updates, intranet additions, team mailers, manager enablement, and more. Laying out a “menu” of communication mediums and identifying which can most effectively get financial wellness resources into usage by employees is a helpful method to start.

Some of our favorite examples for highlighting a financial wellness program include:

  • Hosting a company-wide webinar with a financial wellness expert
  • Incentivizing employees to register with a fun prize or gift card
  • Instituting a “financial wellness month” featuring multiple touchpoints and communications

In the end, each organization is unique and the best way to implement a wellness program is too. Whatever tactics you deploy—just make sure you give employees meaningful and regular visibility to the benefits. 

Pitfall 2: The strategy isn’t ongoing

Financial wellness programs for employees need to be continuous and adaptable to have a lasting impact. Many companies offer one-time workshops or seminars that, while informative, do not provide the ongoing support and resources needed to foster long-term financial health. Financial wellness is a lifelong journey that requires constant learning and adjustment—a guest webinar once a year isn’t going to cut it.

As we designed Your Money Line for maximum effectiveness, we identified a few key touchpoints we’d recommend, no matter which vendor you use to support your financial wellness initiative:

  • 24/7 access to a digital platform - The platform can serve as a hub for variety of financial wellness examples and resources, from helping content and courses to tools and tracking. 
  • Ongoing access to live, expert help - Money is complicated and is often taboo to discuss. Having access to a human to help employees unpack their challenges and customize advice is invaluable.
  • Regular workshops or webinars - Perhaps you’ll still do that occasional company specific event, but we also offer a monthly webinar program, customized to an employee’s specific stage of their money journey as a regular touchpoint for increasing financial literacy and reaching their goals. 

These are just a few financial wellbeing examples about how creating ongoing touchpoints for employees, rather than one-off events is one of the key best practices for financial wellness in the workplace. By offering a comprehensive, ongoing financial wellness program, companies can ensure that employees have the tools and resources they need to make informed decisions and improve their financial wellbeing.

Pitfall 3: The offering isn’t approachable

As we mentioned above, talking about money is laden with cultural taboos, shame, and possibly past baggage from your own financial decisions or that of your family of origin. That has led to the modus operandi that money is private—not something to be discussed with others. 

Some financial wellness programs fail because they are not approachable—the employee doesn’t feel psychological safety around baring their financial soul, as it were, to an unknown vendor or human. Plus, financial concepts in content or courses can be complex, intimidating, or worst of all, boring, making it difficult for employees to engage with and benefit from financial wellness initiatives.

Much like it helps your physical health to have a trainer or your mental health to have a therapist, it can help your financial health by having a financial coach or guide. And for employees to utilize a financial wellness program, it’s essential to make sure that these guides are just as much people experts as they are financial experts. By being empathetic, anti-shame, down-to-earth, and helpful, employees are more likely to use the service. Employees don’t want to feel like a number (or be sold to along the way). Their financial journey is unique, and great financial wellness programs are tailored to each employees' unique needs and financial goals. 


By addressing these three key issues, companies can increase the effectiveness of their financial wellbeing initiatives and provide employees with the support they need to achieve true financial stability and confidence.

By prioritizing financial wellness programs, designing ongoing strategies of support, and ensuring the content and live guides are approachable, companies can unlock the numerous benefits of financial wellness for their employees. These many benefits include reduced financial stress, increased productivity, higher employee satisfaction, greater retention, an improved talent brand, and quite simply, improved overall wellbeing of each employer. Companies that thoughtfully deploy their financial wellness programs to their people can empower their employees to take control of their financial futures and create a healthier, happier, and more productive workforce along the way. 

So if you’re on the fence about taking the leap on a new wellness initiative like financial wellness, turn instead to Churchill’s NEXT most famous quote about failure: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Here’s wishing you some success and courage today!