Financial wellness begins with your employees

A couple weeks ago I was collaborating with a business development leader at a credit union about different ways to go about creating a financial wellness educational program that can be delivered live or through online workshops. They have been repeatedly asked by organizations and companies about their financial educational offerings. 

As we talked, a question surfaced about consistent messaging and culture. What if a member asks a front-line employee a question about something they learned in a credit union workshop? 

The answer: Put employees through the program. 

How confident are your employees about their finances? Just because we work in financial services doesn’t mean we’re financially savvy in our personal lives. The pandemic exposed some real-life financial fault lines for consumers and employees alike.

The PWC 2021 10th Annual Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that when it comes to personal finances, 87% of employees want help. Yet, one in five employees will wait to seek help until they experience a financial crisis related to debt, cash flow, unexpected expenses or job/income loss. Of employees who said their financial stress increased during the pandemic, 45% admitted their finances have been a distraction at work, 57% avoided having a medical issue addressed due to cost and 72% said they would be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial well being.

Your employees can be a great resource in helping to create meaningful financial wellness programs that resonate with your members and SEGs while building employees’ financial confidence. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Make financial wellness part of your culture: Start by making educating employees an ongoing initiative. Live the credit union difference by showing employees you recognize the need and are taking action. Not only will you be doing right by your employees, but it can also help set your organization apart in the search and retention of top talent.

Walk the talk. The same stats listed above are utilized by business development team members to help share why partnering with a credit union makes sense. It’s a win for the employee and the company. 

Think about this. If I’m doing business development and out talking with a human resource professional at a large company about adding the credit union to their employee wellness program and they ask me if we provide the educational program to our own employees. The answer must be yes or we can lose credibility. 

Tap into your best resource – your employees: Include all employees in the financial education design process. Create a survey to get a picture of their financial struggles. Chances are if it matters to them, it will resonate with members as well. Focus on delivering the right resources at the right time that address what employees need most and will have the biggest impact. If you already have a financial education program offering for members and SEGs in place, have every employee go through it. Not only will they benefit, but they can help provide valuable feedback and insight on everything from the name of the program to presentation style and content, resulting in shaping a more engaging program. In addition, having employees involved firsthand can go a long way in delivering a more consistent program experience for members.

Educating your employees is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps your organization better serve members. If employees going through your financial wellness program make changes in their behavior that result in helping maximize their income, reduce debt and build their financial confidence, it can do the same for members. That is a win for everyone. As cooperatives, we learn from one another. How are you helping alleviate your employees’ financial stress through education?

Julie R Ferguson

Julie R Ferguson

Founded by Julie R Ferguson in 2009, JRF Consulting concentrates on growth and member engagement. Julie is very passionate about helping credit unions create and execute focused and results oriented ... Web: www.jrfconsultingservices.com Details

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