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Every generation has its own 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, Goldman Sachs once preached a strict dress code as a doctrine but has recently relaxed its stance. 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. As of last year, close to 60% of them are stressed about their finances. Studies show that despite shiny new workplace benefits like coffee, ping pong, and comfy couches, millennials really care about understanding how to best set themselves up for a successful future. Their financial health and retirement readiness are a big part of that.

There are new, measurable ways for understanding the ROI of financial wellness, and companies are taking note. But what features do the rising generation of workers value in a financial wellness experience and the necessary tech platform that accompanies it? What do they value overall? These are loaded questions, but there are a few emerging consistencies that should be noted:

Experience Above All Else

Millennials 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 platforms implement tactics like visually appealing graphics, automation, and personalization to keep users engaged.

Assessments can be used 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 the user inputs such as income level or amount of 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 and 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; in fact, research shows that engagement levels grow up to an average of 68% when gamification is incorporated into an online program in some way. The Seinfeld Strategy/Experiment became popular several years ago and has since been featured in posts by Lifehacker and Entrepreneur. 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. Evoshare and Acorns are examples of companies that gamify to help foster true behavior change. For millennials, specifically, 62% reported brand engagement is more likely to make them a loyal customer.

AI Hasn’t Taken Over Yet

The human element is similarly important for any personal finance platform. 73% of millennials have said technology improves their work-life balance, but that doesn’t preclude human connection. 58% of millennials prefer working in-person with a financial professional and 51% haven’t adopted mobile banking tools, yet. Accessibility to a coach or advisor 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. Personalized communication also increases millennial loyalty to an advisory firm, according to one study.

Bringing It All Together

Millennials are the fastest growing portion of the workforce, 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, questions, etc)

  • Automation (for calendaring, calculations, reminders, etc)

  • Gamification (scoring systems, points, to-dos)

  • A human element (support, guidance and/or coaching)

Technology with these features is more likely to appeal to and be used by Millennial users. Look out for future blog posts on what Generation Z looks for in financial wellness platforms.

Questions on how your firm can offer a configurable, financial wellness program with the elements noted above? Contact us.

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