Financial education plays important role in employee engagement

This article is supplied by Secondsight.

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A financial education programme can be key to engaging employees; according to the Secondsight Whitepaper, published in October 2014, 73% of employees felt more positive about their employer when they received the benefit.

A growing number of organisations are engaging with their staff by providing a workplace financial education programme. But for a scheme to be a success, it should include brilliant design and delivery.

But financial education is not about providing employees with financial advice, although it may ultimately lead to this. It’s about giving them the knowledge, skills and tools to make their own financial decisions.  

Simple success strategies

If an employer is looking at putting a financial education plan in place through engaging presentations and focused workshops, there are a few simple strategies that will ensure the programme is a success.

Firstly, it should use professional communicators to promote the programme internally. The success of the scheme hinges on getting employees to turn up to presentations in the first place; an employer must take control of its communications in order to get it right first time. It could utilise the skills of its marketing department, if it has one. If not, it should call in professional communicators.

Next, it is important to educate staff face to face. Far too many employers post information on their intranet and believe they are providing their employees with financial education. And, if it’s only in the written word, through flyers, leaflets or online, employees may not think the information applies to them. A good teacher can bring any subject to life, so programmes should be delivered using ‘real’ people and, where possible, face to face to ensure they can respond to the atmosphere in the room and answer any questions raised. If it is not possible to get employees in a room together, technology can help, but the aim should be to be carry it out live.

A financial education programme must be relevant. It’s best not to make assumptions about what employees want. Employers can encourage them to choose what financial planning areas they want to know more about.

Running an entertaining main presentation that includes the main points and wide-ranging content will build awareness and offer a new perspective and insights into popular topics. The detail can then be covered at in-depth, follow-on workshops. Importantly, employees should have the option of which workshops to attend.

A programme should be as close to a one-to-one experience as possible. Limiting the numbers of employees in workshops can do this; create a relaxed and personal atmosphere and get employees involved.

Finally, it’s important to gather fast and frank feedback. It should be easy for employees to provide feedback through a tick-box or rating-style feedback form that is quick to fill in. The form should also provide room for comments and welcome criticism. Employees should complete feedback as soon as possible. But most importantly, employers need to be ready to adapt, so that the material is always relevant.

Key points

Financial education:

  • Use professional communicators
  • Face-to-face communications are effective
  • Make programmes relevant
  • Make them conversational
  • Gather staff feedback