Publications Workforce Financial Stability Initiative *Research Brief

Employer-Sponsored Financial Planning: A Study of the Brightside Platform

In this report, we explore employee usage trends of Brightside, an employee financial health platform that is designed to improve the financial health of working families. Using this platform, employees can open “cases” to address a financial need or goal they have. Brightside connects these employees with financial assistants who, in turn, connect the employees with resources and strategies that can help them improve both their short- and long-term financial health.

Data from this study come from a sample of 3,700 employees in Arizona and Mississippi whose employer offered access to Brightside as an employee benefit. Roughly 40% of eligible employees registered for Brightside. We find that female employees, employees with dependents, employees with incomes between $25,000 and $49,999, and those with job tenures longer than a year tended to register and use Brightside at higher rates. The most common case type opened by Brightside users was for money emergencies, indicating that employees often turned to the platform to address their urgent financial needs. However, Brightside users also commonly opened cases related to more long-term financial health needs, such as building savings and improving their overall financial health.

We also find that employees who used Brightside exhibited lower rates of turnover than those who did not register for Brightside, and that those who used Brightside more holistically (i.e., for multiple case types) also had lower turnover rates. However, those that used Brightside solely to address money emergencies left their job at relatively high rates, which may point to a correlation between personal financial insecurity and job turnover. While these findings are encouraging, they are descriptive in nature and we cannot make any claims that Brightside’s services cause the effects seen in our analysis. More research is needed to definitively establish a relationship between employee financial health platforms like Brightside and employee turnover.

Citation

Chun, Y., Roll, S., Kondratjeva, O., Bufe, S., & Kristensen, K. (2020). Employer-Sponsored Financial Planning: A Study of the Brightside Platform (SPI Research Report No. 20-01). Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis