Introducing the To Do Dashboard — A smart, behaviorally-designed interface to drive employee action

We all want employees to take action to improve their financial health. That’s why an education-based mindset needs to be discarded, in favor of one that is action-oriented.


When we set about building the new Retiremap To Do Dashboard with the team from Duke University’s Common Cents Lab, we started by asking ourselves, “What actions do we want employees to take?”

Here were some of the answers we came up with:

  • Build up their emergency savings
  • Pay off debt faster
  • Open a retirement account to boost savings
  • Create a will
  • Open a HSA to save for eventual health-related expenses
  • Better manage retirement accounts still held at past employers

Looks familiar right? Most financial wellness programs seek these types of outcomes. The challenge is that they rely on a content-based approach (videos, articles, calculators, etc.) to encourage behavior change. Unfortunately for other financial wellness programs, this type of content-based approach has been proven to have literally zero impact on behavior change (The Effect of Financial Literacy and Financial Education on Downstream Financial Behaviors [2014], based on a meta-analysis of 188 research studies), resulting in a waste of time and money with no verifiable results.

So then the next question that our team asked was, “How do we set ourselves apart from the other financial wellness providers to actually get employees to take the desired actions?”

Fortunately, the research is quite clear on how to get employees to take action. Below are the key design components that went into Retiremap’s new To Do Dashboard.

One-step-at-a-time Approach

When helping employees take action, it’s critical that they focus on only achieving the most relevant To Dos. By prioritizing and sequencing what employees should be working on, we communicate each To Do’s importance and how they can easily be completed. What’s critical is that employees are not asked to take actions simultaneously, therefore the Dashboard serves up their To Dos one at a time, with the landing page dedicated to what an employee has “To Do Now.”

Additionally, each To Do has multiple components, including:

  • A custom message from their financial coach/advisor
  • Details on the action that they need to take
  • How long the action should take them
  • Links to relevant websites, such as their retirement plan provider’s website
  • Their deadline to complete the action
  • Alternatives to the recommended action

This approach helps to remove the complexity from the financial decision making process. It also enables employees to take action sooner, with greater confidence and feel like they’re making real progress on their money.

Custom Calls-to-action

While the To Do Dashboard is personalized for each employee, Retiremap can also insert custom calls to action on behalf of advisors or employers. For example, if there is a specific action that you’d like employees to act on, such as opening a particular type of account or visiting a particular website, Retiremap can build those actions into the employee’s Dashboard.

Retiremap is unique in providing this level of customization in a financial wellness program. This approach, enables employers and advisors to promote actions whose completion can be easily measured.

A Place for Human Interaction

A central component of the Dashboard is the human element and the ability for employees to engage with their financial coach. This type of accountability keeps employees focused on their To Dos and is hugely valuable when it comes to getting employees to change behavior.

Additionally, when financial coaches interact with employees, they can easily personalize the employee’s Dashboard. By selecting checkboxes from their personalized meeting scripts, To Dos are automatically added or removed in the employee’s Dashboard. The power of this type of workflow automation means that a coach’s time is optimized for their greatest value- a nuanced financial assessment and not administrative work.

Moreover, the employee can chat directly with their coach and all the communications flow through a team-based CRM that has been customized for the financial coaches. The CRM includes templated responses to common FAQs, as well as automatically-sent messages, based on behavioral and time-based triggers.

Self-Service With Accountability

Part of the beauty of the To Do Dashboard is that it’s so easy to access. Employees receive a unique link and don’t have to remember a username and password (no personally identifiable information is stored in the To Do Dashboard). That means employees can easily access their Dashboard and work on their To Dos when it’s convenient for them. What’s particularly powerful is that the employee and their coach can collaborate through the Dashboard, which highlights the unique role accountability plays in Retiremap’s financial wellness program.

Just-in-time Follow Up

By automating follow ups using behavioral, demographic and time-based triggers, the To Do Dashboard focuses on getting employees to take action by setting deadlines for them. However, employees can also commit to their own deadlines and their coach will automatically follow up with them when it gets close to their deadline.

Branded Solution

The To Do Dashboard can be branded in whatever way is desirable. For branding, all Retiremap needs is a logo and a URL (Retiremap manages all the technology, so that partner firms don’t have to worry about that).

In Conclusion

The more we can use proven, research-backed behavioral strategies, the more successful we’ll be with getting employees to make healthier financial decisions. The To Do Dashboard takes everything that we know works to get people to take action and presents it in an easy to use, mobile-friendly format. Chat with us to learn more or you can request a demo here.