They say nothing is certain, except death and taxes. Life will always get in the way of our best laid plans at various points throughout our lives. Some things your employees can see coming, but that doesn’t mean they have all the financial tools they need to plan for them. Other life events can sneak up without warning and wreak havoc on your employees’ lives. Keep in mind that they may not be comfortable bringing up their various financial goals and adventures in the workplace. But, like everyone else, they are sure to have them.
“The Manulife Bank of Canada Debt Survey reveals close to 1 in 4 homeowners say if interest rates were to increase further, they would be forced to sell their home.”
Most of your employees who own a home with a mortgage likely need access to a financial wellness program that will help them figure out how to manage rising interest rates. And they need it right now! While it may not technically be your responsibility, as an employer, to provide the tools your employees need to improve their financial health, it will be your problem if you don’t. To learn more about how your employees’ personal finances could be affecting your business, watch: The cost of employee financial stress.
An employee financial wellness program has never been more essential than it is now. It doesn’t have to be complicated or overly expensive. The program should be clear on which parts will address various life events, so employees can access the right support when they need it. Here are some tips to help you find the right program, and ensure you’re making it likely that your employees will actually use it.
Check with your benefits or EAP program provider
Some benefits and EAP providers have financial wellness options, and some may even be included under your current plan. As part of your annual review with your providers, ensure you or someone on your team is asking about what is included or available to support your employees’ financial wellness. Gather all the information needed on how to access available resources, and request any marketing materials on these resources from your provider.
What to watch out for:
- Lists of blog posts with or without a login aren’t enough to constitute an effective financial wellness program
- Tools that don’t allow employees to save their work, and instead require them to start over every time they want to explore a financial decision can be frustrating
- Measuring the effectiveness of your financial wellness program should go beyond enrollment or consumption
Remind your employees regularly of the benefits available to them
If you have a process you want employees to follow, or a new skill you want them to learn for their role in your organization, you wouldn’t tell them about that once. When you want employees to take action, your message is consistent, and it should be no different with your financial wellness program. If you want to ensure that you and your employees actually benefit from any investment in financial education, you need to weave it into your regular communications.
Tips to promote your program:
- Assign ownership of the success of your program to someone on your team
- Feature financial wellness resources in your meetings, updates or internal newsletter
- Gamify financial wellness by offering prizes or awards for completing or participating in certain aspects of the program
- Include life-event prompts in the regular mentions of your program. For example: Worried about rising interest rates? Check out this course/tool/article on reducing the impact of your debt
- Add a mention of financial wellness programs or resources to your monthly team meeting agenda
Share success stories from your employee financial wellness program
There’s a reason product reviews and ratings are so popular. People like to know how other people feel about a product or service before they invest their time, money or effort. To get employees more engaged in their financial wellness, leverage feedback or ratings from those who benefited from the program. Ensure you build feedback loops into your program to make sure you have a way to gather reviews, and even ratings from your employees.
How to gather success stories:
- Consider asking employees to share anecdotes about how they’ve applied the program to their lives as part of your regular feedback loop
- You can share employee wins without exposing their private information
- Reviews can be shared anonymously, or you can simplify success stories to eliminate information that is too personal
- Example: an employee may share they paid off $13,000 in credit card debt over the last two years. The share could just be that they were able to use what they learned to reduce their debt over time
- Request permission to edit their feedback for context and privacy when sharing it with other employees
- Ask your program provider if they gather feedback, like reviews or ratings, for other employee groups that you could share with your employees
- When you get constructive feedback from employees, ensure you share it with the provider, and follow up to see if they’ll make any changes based on that feedback
The only constant is change, and your employees are under more financial pressure now than they likely have been in years. Don’t let personal financial hiccups harm your employees. Ensure financial wellness is part of your overall development strategy for your employees. Helping your employees ride out life’s ups and downs can help your business navigate challenging times and opportunities more effectively.
CacheFlo is a financial education company that builds eLearning and tools to help financial professionals and individuals make behaviour-based changes, which allow them to get more life from their money. We want to make it easier for people to predict the impact of their financial choices before they make them.
About the Certified Cash Flow Specialist (CCS) program
CCS professionals go through enhanced cash flow-based training to develop the skill set to deliver behaviour-based cash flow advice. They start the financial planning process with a cash flow plan to genuinely help their clients get more life from their money.