Financial wellness is a critical topic as many Americans are worried about retirement. The Devon Energy Corp. developed a program to assuage its employees’ fears during a time of economic challenges for the energy industry.
The Fortune 500 natural gas and petroleum producer launched the Devon Financial Wellness Program in May 2015, after the Devon human resources team realized how little employees were prepared for retirement. Twenty percent of Devon employees had taken out a loan against their 401(k) plan, and 45 percent of employees were not taking full advantage of the company’s 401(k) matching contribution benefit. In 2014, this amounted to $2 million left on the table.
For the initiative, Devon’s HR team worked with PwC’s Employee Financial Wellness practice to tackle retirement planning and beyond. Devon identified other critical areas, such as cash and debt management. The program integrated financial wellness into the company’s total wellness strategy.
The initiative began with a PwC Financial Fitness assessment, which gave employees a financial wellness score and a personalized report. Employees then scheduled an appointment with a financial adviser to develop a goal and a plan to achieve that goal. They could also access a financial fitness help line to ask confidential questions and discuss a range of financial concerns — from investing, to getting out of debt, to planning for unexpected situations.
In January 2016, Devon added the Retirement Readiness Assessment, which honed in on the original problem HR noticed in its employees. This focus on retirement combined with the more general financial wellness component has produced impressive results
Some 60 percent of employees completed the assessment and 60 percent of those people also took advantage of the financial adviser. Notably, of the 45 percent of employees who were missing out on their 401(k) matching contributions, 77 percent were now taking advantage of it as of April.
For its efforts to educate employees on financial wellness and tackle wellness on a holistic level, Devon Energy Corp. is the 2016 Optimas Award Gold winner for Benefits.