As many public sector employees face increased financial challenges amid the pandemic and high inflation, 24 public employers are using innovative approaches to improve the financial health of their workforce and families. Released Thursday, a new series of Financial Wellness Fact Sheets provides key learnings and best practices that other state and local jurisdictions can adapt and customize to help employees reduce debt, save for retirement or reach other financial goals.

The new Financial Wellness Fact Sheets highlight the results of a one-year initiative that awarded $1.4 million in grants to jurisdictions to establish or improve public employee financial wellness programs. This effort is part of a MissionSquare Research Institute collaboration with the International Public Management Association For Human Resources (IPMA-HR) and the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation (NASTF), with funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.
 
Each fact sheet provides a summary of the jurisdiction’s approach, outcomes, lessons learned and future plans. Additionally, the fact sheets provide ideas, advice and networking opportunities for other public employers exploring financial wellness programs. Learn  how public service employers are using innovative approaches to engage employees and improve the financial health of their workforce at https://slge.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/financial-wellness-grant-fact-sheets.pdf. The Financial Wellness Fact Sheets also are available on an interactive map.

“It is encouraging to see the wide variety of innovative programs implemented under the grant program to improve the financial well-being of the public workforce,” said Rivka Liss-Levinson, PhD, MissionSquare Research Institute Senior Research Manager and lead author of the fact sheet series. “Well-designed financial wellness programs are a win-win for employees and employers, especially at a time when governments are struggling to recruit and retain workers.”
 
“We know financial wellness can result in more productive and engaged employees, improve morale, lower absenteeism, alleviate burnout, and reduce health care costs. We hope the Financial Wellness Fact Sheets spark ideas for leaders exploring programs for their employees. Ultimately, these programs improve employees’ ability to deliver vital public services,” Liss-Levinson said.
 
Recent research from the Institute indicates the vast majority of state and local employees are worried about their personal finances and financial decisions, and they are experiencing burnout. Research also finds few public employers currently offer financial wellness programs, yet employees want these programs and believe they are important. 
 
The following public sector employers were selected for the grant program: Central Carolina Community College, N.C.; City of Allen, Texas; City of Cleveland, Ohio; City of Columbus, Ohio; City of Elizabeth City, N.C.; City of Moreno Valley, Calif.; City of Peoria, Ariz.; City of Ridgefield, Wash.; City of Roanoke, Va.; City of West Columbia, S.C.; Economic Empowerment Trust Fund, Office of the Massachusetts State Treasurer; Finance Authority of Maine; Government of the District of Columbia; Iowa Insurance Division; Lewis and Clark County, Mont.; Milwaukee County Transit System, Wis.; Montgomery County Intermediate Unit, Pa.; Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office; Office of the Illinois State Treasurer; Pennsylvania Treasury; San Diego County Water Authority, Calif.; State of Wisconsin Employee Trust Funds and the Department of Financial Institutions; Town of Victor, N.Y.; and University of the Virgin Islands.
 
The partnership also included development of a financial wellness toolkit. These resources include: a series of reference materials and guides on hosting virtual and in-person financial wellness conferences/meetings; a customizable speaker’s financial wellness toolkit; and a census of existing state financial wellness and education programs. All of these materials are available at https://nast.org/financialwellness/. Case studies providing an in-depth look at five of the grantees’ programs also will be available in the coming weeks.

MissionSquare Research Institute promotes excellence in state and local government and other public service organizations to attract and retain talented employees. The organization identifies leading practices and conducts research on retirement plans, health and wellness benefits, workforce demographics and skill set needs, labor force development, and topics facing the not-for-profit industry and education sector. MissionSquare Research Institute brings together leaders and respected researchers.