“Think of saving as well as getting.” – Benjamin Franklin
The past five years have been difficult for companies and employees alike. One in seven workers currently faces debt collectors. One in three is living paycheck to paycheck. The “true” unemployment rate remains above 15% and is unlikely to change in the near future. Because of today’s financial challenges, one in four employees don’t expect to retire by the time they turn 65. I believe that this figure is wishful thinking and will end up far higher.
What are we to make of these facts as owners and managers? My answer: Provide financial and accounting education to all of your employees — and don’t wait to do it! Ten years ago, companies began to realize that they couldn’t leave employees on their own when it came to managing their health. As a result, wellness initiatives exploded. It’s time for a similar explosion when it comes to this other malaise of our time: How we manage our money.
To create a financial education initiative in your business, I’d recommend taking these steps, all of which you can find on HR That Works:
- Make sure that management understands how the financial stress of individual employees affects the company as a whole. We did an excellent webinar on this topic with Coach George from Dave Ramsey’s organization. He gave the workshop Overextended: A Special Program on How the Personal Financial Stress of Your Employees is Impacting Your Business.
- Give employees a basic education in accounting. This is why we brought in the best teachers in the business — the folks from The Accounting Game. I would recommend having every employee watch their webinar; and then follow up with a workshop so that employees commit to taking action.
- Provide financial planning. On average, half of your employees don’t have a budget and half don’t have a retirement plan (probably the same half). The webinar Financial Planning 101 features a member of the Certified Financial Planners Board sharing the fundamentals of good finance.
- Expose every employee to the concept of ownership thinking and open book management. Two of the best webinars for this are Jack Stack’s Great Game of Business and Brad Hams’ Ownership Thinking.
- Stress overall business acumen. To place employee financial education in its larger context, have every employee watch Kevin Cope’s webinar Seeing the Big Picture: Business Acumen to Build Your Credibility, Career, and Company.
I guarantee that doing all of the above will transform your workplace. You’ll see less stress, improved focus, higher profitability — and greater financial security for owners and employees alike. You can’t ask for much more than that.