What Millennials and Gen Z Really Want From Financial Wellness

financial wellness benefit

Every generation has preferences when it comes to music, clothing, and technology. The rising generation of millennials has ushered in a new wave of workplace norms. For example, more than half of millennials would be willing to give up on other benefits if it meant that they could work from home. Traditional institutions are easing up on their standards to draw in qualified, younger job candidates. These applicants are on the hunt for benefits akin to those offered at companies like Apple and Google.

Millennials currently comprise approximately one-third of the workforce and are expected to grow to seventy-five percent by 2025 and Gen Z is expected to make up 30% of the workforce by 2030. In 2020, almost 77% of millennials and 66% of Gen Zs reported stress and anxiety caused by finances. Studies show that despite shiny new workplace benefits like cold brew on tap, ping pong, and comfy couches, millennials really care about understanding how to best set themselves up for a successful future. Their long-term financial health and retirement readiness are a big part of that.

There are a few ways to measure the effectiveness of financial wellness programs through several key indicators, and companies are taking note. But what features do rising generations of workers value in a financial wellness benefit? What do they value overall? These are loaded questions, but there are a few emerging consistencies that should be noted:

User Experience Above All Else

Millennials and Gen Z value experience above all else. It is no longer enough for a firm to have a proficient wellness tool for the sake of checking a box—to be competitive; it has to be engaging, simple, and clear. It is vital for any platform, company, or brand to focus on not only the problems they solve but the experience they provide. 

Quality financial wellness solutions implement tactics like visually appealing graphics, automation, and personalization to keep users engaged. 

Assessments are necessary to personalize a user’s experience and provide feedback about where the individual currently stands financially. These assessments might be used to customize educational content or action items. But they also help assess qualitative data and complete a complex triangulation with the quantitative results from user inputs, such as income or debt. The inputs for these accounts should be aggregated within the platform. The value in all this is a holistic view of a user’s situation with content tailored to their specific situation.

In addition, design elements like color and font can make a big difference in increasing participant activity for different wellness programs.

Keep it Fun and Gamify

Millennials, in particular, are also into gamification. Gamification ensures mobile apps, websites, and other platforms have a tailored approach while being user-friendly and possessing a good interface. The Seinfeld Strategy/Experiment became popular several years ago and has since been featured in posts by Lifehacker and others. The experiment explores the effectiveness of scoring systems, i.e. streaks, and building good habits. Essentially streaks help people continue good habits because they don’t want to lose their momentum. Personal finance platforms that implement gamification can foster user activity with mini-missions like to-dos or tasks.

AI Hasn’t Taken Over Yet

The human element is similarly important for any personal finance solution. 73% of millennials have said technology improves their work-life balance, but that doesn’t preclude human connection. In 2020, more than 75% of millennials said they want to work with a financial professional compared to just 50% in 2016. Accessibility to a financial coach gives them a sense of security and confidence. The best platforms will have communication services that factor in this human element. This allows users or participants to get the personalized guidance they need, fueled by the automation and reminders of the digital experience.

Bringing It All Together

Millennials are the fastest-growing portion of the workforce with Gen Z close behind, and it’s important to note what matters to them in addition to how their demands and expectations will shape the future of workplace benefits. They care about experience, understanding their financial health, and taking the initiative to proactively set themselves up for success. A powerful financial wellness program will include:

  • Simple, clear, and convenient functionality
  • Engaging graphics and aesthetics
  • Personalization (for content, resources, to-dos, etc)
  • Automation (for calendaring, calculations, reminders, etc)
  • Gamification (scoring systems, points, to-dos)
  • A human element (support, guidance, and/or coaching)

Technology combined with these features is more likely to appeal to and be used by this generation of users.

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