Let’s talk about money. It is a taboo subject much like sex and politics. We were taught not to discuss these topics “in polite company” but look at where “not discussing politics” has gotten us in America! Perhaps, instead of telling people not to discuss politics, we instead encourage civil discourse about politics from an early age?. A girl can dream. Okay, back to money. Let’s talk about money….
We hire people to work in our credit unions and they counsel our members about their money. However, the employee may be struggling with their own finances. A 2017 poll by Workplace Options reports some interesting stats about the average employee:
- 87% of working Americans reported some amount of stress or anxiety due to their personal finance situation. Monthly bills, saving for retirement, tax issues, and debt topped the list.
- 36% of working Americans believe financial stress has impacted their ability to do their job. By age group it breaks down like this: 45%percent of those age 18 to 29, 44% percent of those 30 to 45, and 31% percent of those 46 and older.
- 85% of working Americans say they (at least occasionally) use time during the workday to deal with personal finance issues. 41% say they do it multiple times a month.
As leaders of financial institutions, the financial health of our employees should be a big concern because its impact can be far reaching – from work hours wasted, to grumpy team members, to high turn-over (better paying job), to disengagement, to embezzlement, the impact of financial stress is huge. In addition, if your staff is financially stressed they will not have the confidence to help members in the same situations. When members come into a branch they want an expert. They can handle transactions via mobile banking but if they are coming through your doors they want more than a product, they want advice. Are your employees proficient in delivering financial advice to members? Yes, of course they know the features and benefits of a product but can they listen to member articulate a financial problem and offer advice and solutions if it is not product related?
When employees are financially savvy it is a win-win-win.
- The employee wins. The employee gets the knowledge they need to manage their personal finances with confidence. It is both personal development and career building.
- The credit union wins. The employer gets employees with less financial stress which impacts their bottom line in positive ways and their culture in even better ways.
- The member wins. The member gets to interact with an employee who has put the tools of money management in place for themselves. The conversations with members become more genuine because they have empathy due to addressing their own money management issues.
Since money problems outside of work are impacting our employee’s ability to focus and perform for our members, an investment in education and training that helps them ease their own financial stress seems like a smart move. It’s a move that pays dividends not found in financial statements, like increased employee engagement, increased production, decreased sick days, decreased turn-over, and deeper more empathetic conversations with members because workplace performance is directly correlated with financial stress.
Are your employees financially savvy? The BALANCE Money Coach program is a turn-key digital or in-person 40-hour training program that will result in a front-line that is ready to truly help members because they have helped themselves first.