Measure the success of your financial wellness program

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Measure progress to show value and use feedback to improve your workplace financial wellness program.

Purpose of evaluation

Evaluating how well your financial wellness program is working is important to its success. Once you have implemented the program, you need to see if it is meeting your goals. This serves two purposes:

Measuring value and impact

Collect data that will help you determine whether you are meeting your objectives and providing value to the organization and its employees.

Making improvements

Get feedback from participants so you can continue to improve your program and generate better results. You can collect data for both purposes using evaluation tools like surveys and feedback forms.

Measure value and impact

As discussed in the section on developing your business case, it is important to develop measurable goals for your program. Your organization will want to see that it is getting value for the investment, both in terms of the financial cost and the effort involved. Consider what is important to your organization and what you’re hoping to achieve with a financial wellness program.

The following are some of factors that you can measure. Some will generate immediate results, while others will typically only show results over time.

Use of the program

The first and most immediate factor you can measure is whether employees are using the program. Are they signing up and attending the workshops? Are they completing online course modules? What percentage of the workforce is taking part? 

Employee satisfaction 

Getting employees to use the program is a good first step. However, they won’t continue to participate if they aren’t satisfied with its offerings. Measure employees’ satisfaction with the elements of the program they have participated in and get their feedback to identify areas for future improvement. You can use short surveys or evaluation forms.

Improved financial knowledge, confidence and attitudes

Get a baseline measure of your employees’ financial well-being before you implement the program. You can include this as part of your employee assessment. Over time, determine how your employees’ financial well-being has improved. Ask the same questions at regular intervals to see whether progress is being made. To ensure confidentiality, assess the results as a whole, not individual responses. For example, you can report that the average financial well-being score increased by 15%.

You can also measure immediate improvements in knowledge before and after participation in the program. For instance, ask a few questions at the start of a workshop to test participants’ knowledge. Then repeat the same questions at the end of the workshop to see if their understanding of the topic has improved. 

Positive behavioural changes 

Many of the benefits of a workplace financial wellness program are behavioural. While you may not be able to attribute them directly to your program, they are some of the expected long-term benefits, and you should track them. These factors could include reduced absenteeism, higher productivity, increased participation in savings plans, lower employee stress levels, and lower employee assistance plan costs. 

Remember that developing an employee financial wellness program is a long-term investment. You may see results in some of these areas immediately (for example, use of the program). However, it may take a few years of running the program to see results in other areas (for example, sustainable behavioural changes). 

Tip: Have a “big picture” strategy  

Research shows that it can take more than 5 years for a program to show sustainable positive results. Programs that have been in place for more than 10 years are most likely to be successful.  

Use feedback to make improvements

To ensure your financial wellness program brings real value to your employees and organization, it’s important to adopt a mindset of continuous improvement. You’ll need to revise and improve the program over time. Employee feedback is a critical component to ensuring it remains relevant and useful. 

Collect feedback as often as possible. This could include:

  • short questionnaires after workshops and online course modules
  • surveys assessing satisfaction with various parts of the program (this could be done at the same time as assessing improvements in financial literacy and well-being) to identify which parts are more (or less) effective
  • an invitation to send generic feedback through email or an online form
  • an anonymous suggestion box for employees to make comments and give suggestions

Use all of these methods to identify:

  • the parts of your program that are working best (keep and/or expand these)
  • the parts of the program that are not working as well (eliminate or revise these)

Evaluation resources

Evaluating results can be complex, but there are resources to get you started. For example, the Financial Literacy Outcome Evaluation Tool from Prosper Canada contains guidance, templates and samples you can use to plan your evaluation, gather baseline data, track outcomes and analyze data. 

There are lots of unbiased resources available to help you as you develop and implement your financial wellness program. Access planning resources, educational programs, tools and calculators and informational resources.

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