Empowering Financial Wellness

Empowering Financial Wellness

How’s your health? Is it something you talk about at work? Well, maybe if you broke your elbow mountain biking, it would make for a killer scar and story (Or was that just me?).

In some company cultures, we’re open to talking about heath, especially during open-enrollment season. But what if health was something your company talked about not just openly, but often? After all, our health has a big impact on how (and if) we show up to work…and I don’t just mean physical health.

Companies are beginning to talk about emotional health and mental health because brave leaders are destigmatizing and raising awareness about these types of challenges. While both physical and mental health challenges create stress, a third type of health challenge–financial health—might be the top stressor in America.

The cost of financial stress.

Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has consistently found money and work to be the top two sources of stress. Financial stress negatively impacts business in several ways:

Recognizing the impact that financial stress has on employees, TiER1 started a financial wellness program in May 2017. Here are some ways we’ve found to help spark the conversation around financial health. We’re still early in our journey, but we hope that sharing our experiences and ideas can inspire others to think about employee financial wellness in their company culture.

ways that organization can empower financial wellness

1. Discussing financial wellness openly.

Have an internal digital “place” dedicated to talking about financial wellness where people can ask questions, post articles, and share their journey. We use Yammer, but you can use any place where your people digitally converse.

Things to consider:

  • What would it look like to create a safe space to discuss financial wellness within your organization?
  • Are there other wellness initiatives you could align with?

2. Personalizing the journey.

There is no one-size-fits-all financial hat. At TiER1, we set up learning cohorts around topics that we knew employees were interested in—like budgeting, getting out of debt, and investing.

Things to consider:

  • Have you asked employees if there are certain areas of financial wellness they are interested in?
  • How can you meet employees where they are in their journey to financial wellness?

3. Providing education.

We connected employees to a financial education platform that provides video lessons, worksheets, and tools, empowering employees to own their journey. We’ve also found a high interest in quarterly virtual workshops where participants can learn about various topics and ask questions.

Things to consider:

  • What educational resources would your employees find valuable? (Check out this website to get some ideas.)
  • If employees are dispersed across locations, what virtual learning opportunities can you provide?

4. Providing benefits.

Financial education is the most common financial wellness service offered by organizations, but often education isn’t enough. Coupling education with great benefits can further reduce financial stress. At TiER1, one benefit we offer is a dashingly handsome in-house financial coach (*cough* me *cough*) who provides individual coaching to employees. It’s a free, anonymous benefit that can help employees achieve financial goals.

Things to consider:

  • What would it look like to offer financial coaching to employees?
  • Are there other personalized benefits that can help employees at different stages of life to spend, save, and invest for the future?

5. Measuring progress.

We’re able to track engagement with the education platform and ask users to anonymously report once a quarter how much debt they have paid off or money they’ve saved. In just one year, our organization has averaged a financial turnaround of $5,000 per person.

Things to consider:

  • What financial goals or metrics would your employees want to track?
  • Where and how would that data be managed and reported back to employees?

Investing in financial health and wellness.

It’s too early to tell if our people are taking fewer sick days or feeling more physically well. Our intent in embracing financial wellness wasn’t even to save money for the company (though having happier, healthier, more productive employees certainly can’t hurt the bottom line).

One of our beliefs at TiER1 is that organizations exist to serve people, not the other way around. Our hope is that by talking about personal finance and providing some resources to our people, we inspire healthy behaviors and attitudes. So, consider the financial health of your employees. It’s a lot like compound interest—over time, it has the potential to pay amazing dividends, but we have to start making the investment now.

Have a question for Grant? Give us a call at (859) 415-1000 or drop us a line in the form at the bottom of this page.

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