Financial wellness programs were growing well before the pandemic struck, and sponsors said the value of wellness services intensified as the pandemic took an economic and health-care toll.
"It became evident to us that if our employees are going to remain retirement ready, we really need to reach out to educate," said Russell DuBose, director of human resources for Phifer Inc., Tuscaloosa, Ala., first place winner for financial wellness among corporate plans with 1,000 to 5,000 participants.
Phifer tied for first-place honors with Seagate Technology LLC, Cupertino, Calif. John Hancock Retirement Plan Services was Phifer's service provider, and Segal Benz was Seagate's service provider.
"We have resources available for employees to meet their responsibilities and obligations without potentially damaging their retirement readiness," said Mr. DuBose, whose company makes window and door screens.
Phifer's wellness education effort combined in-person interviews and online technology. This included an app that contained information on retirement readiness. "The campaign was about how do we reach those different generations and meet their expectations," Mr. DuBose said.
Judges noted that Phifer's wellness approach covers more than retirement with seminars on long-term care, Medicare, Social Security, credit, budgeting and estate planning, plus a class on financial literacy at a local community college. "It's clear that Phifer is trying to do best by its employees," one judge wrote.
Asked what financial wellness strategy he would recommend to sponsors, Mr. DuBose responded: "Be creative. Be spontaneous. Have fun with it."