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If you want to engage your people in a financial wellness program, you need to take an active and visible role. Without your deliberate effort, employees may look on wellness materials as just more noise, and end up ignoring them altogether. Remember, it takes more than education to produce optimal results: It takes action. Here are some strategies worth considering.

A strong communication campaign : Don’t skimp on promotion and communication. Leverage all of your communication resources to make sure employees are aware of the who, what, when, where, and why of program participation. (See Employee communications: Growing participation in your financial wellness program.)

Incentives: Getting people to do something new almost always invokes “fear of the unknown,” especially when the benefits may not be obvious. A simple reward system can provide an immediate incentive to get people over that hurdle and into your new financial wellness program – and they don’t have to be monetary. Prizes could be anything from a “wear your jeans to work day” to badges they can display on their desk to a coveted parking spot. Use your imagination (and, if possible, on-hand resources).

Gamification: Making anything fun or competitive improves participation, and scoring points or getting to the next level always encourages people to play at least one more round. This is especially important because the more frequently someone participates, the more comfortable and engaged they’ll become. You can even find free and low-cost online apps to track points and provide collectible badges for meeting goals.

Customization: People are more likely to interact with anything that’s been suited to them personally. Customizing an employee financial wellness program with branding, messaging, and other benefits that they recognize and use will encourage better overall participation.

Contests: Offering employees an opportunity to compete or qualify for prizes is a winning strategy for any activity. In addition, organizing contests around a new benefit offering, or an important timeline, improves participation in all benefits. Consider using your organization’s credit card points to buy a restaurant gift card that you can offer up, or make a prize out of extra time off (like a one-hour bonus to be used for arriving late or leaving early).

The content on provides general information and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information; do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here; and take no liability for your use of this information.

© Georgia Center for Nonprofits 2019

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