What does America’s obsession with Fortnite have to do with financial wellness programs and financial behavior change? Surprisingly, more than you would think. Fortnite is on track to be the most popular video game in history and is currently beating out television and movies for user engagement. For those who play it regularly, it’s become part of their identity – inspiring dance moves, fashion and online commentary.
I’ve got a son in middle school, so I’ve witnessed this up close. He and his buddies are obsessed with all aspects of the game. What keeps them, and the millions of other players, so engaged, and how can we apply those factors to changing financial behaviors?
- Collect and construct.
Fortnite draws in the new user through its “collect and construct” feature, where the player goes into the battle with a tool they can use to chop down and collect objects and then uses those materials to construct structures to advance in the game. An effective financial wellness program impacts an employee’s financial wellbeing in a similar way, inviting the employee to collect the building blocks of financial health and use them to construct good financial habits. For example:
- Tracking expenses to develop a spending plan;
- Pulling together accounts, online and social media information to develop a digital estate plan;
- Gathering account data and goals to run a retirement projection ( See Want to Retire 3 Years Sooner? This Benefits Could Be Your Ticket); or
- Taking inventory of credit cards and student loans to pay down debt more efficiently.
2. Engage and entertain.
How does Epic Games keep players coming back again and again to play? It’s contagiously fun – and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Characters are called “skins,” with a range of colorful, anthropomorphic animation. You can get them to dance by using an “emote” – and learn it yourself if you’re inclined.
An effective financial wellness program fosters employee behavior change by encouraging repeat usage. Creatively engaging and entertaining – as well as informing – is essential, so that participants will keep coming back. That’s where lives are changed. Examples of engaging programs include:
- Gamification of tools and resources – make it fun to learn and progress;
- Easy interfaces – make it simple to log in, call a coach and use a planning tool;
- Multimedia learning tools so people can learn in the style which works best for them;
- Coaching to help move employees towards actions and empower them to make changes (vs. advice which keeps the power with the advisor); and
- Facilitated learning on workshops and webcasts which uses the power of “show not tell” to create “aha” moments.