You have decided that financial education is a good idea for the employees in your business, but it costs money and your Financial Director needs to know that they’re getting something good for their money. We asked a Finance Director what questions he might have when considering providing financial education for staff in his business and we have provided you with our answers so you can convince your FD.

What’s the point of financial education?

Employees can get distracted by their financial worries and even become stressed or ill. If an employer looks after the financial wellbeing of their employees they will create a happier workforce, which means a more focussed and productive workforce. Employees who feel supported and valued by their employer are more likely to stay with them than to go somewhere else, which means that you can retain talented people and not have to spend money on recruitment.

Can’t I just give them a bonus rather than paying a provider more money? Isn’t cash in hand better?

Giving an employee money doesn’t necessarily solve their financial problems, for example many people have sizeable debts that they are trying to get down. An employee who gets more money in their pay-cheque is unlikely to notice that increase, as it just gets swallowed up in their monthly pay. Teaching employees how to manage their money will help them to get in control of their finances, get debt down, save money and plan for the future. Subsequently they can avoid getting into financial trouble in the future, which means less stress for them and fewer absences for your business.

Can’t I just get financial information online?

There is an abundance of information on the internet concerning individual finances, but as the web is open to everyone, you can’t be sure that the information you have access to is from a reliable source or even correct. There is also the issue of how to disseminate it to your employees – you could just direct them to the relevant website (or sites), but you can’t be sure that they will ever look at them, or understand what they read. The majority of information you find will be generic and may not be relevant to your workforce – they might want education on specific topics and you will have to do a lot of digging around and research to find something for everyone. With one education provider they can find out what you want / need and produce professional education that is suitable for your workforce.

How long will employees spend away from their desks?

How long is a piece of string? Education sessions can be as long as you want them to be – they could be an hour, a day or two days. However you should consider that the benefits you as an employer gain from your employees undertaking financial education will outweigh the costs. For example, employees may be absent from work due to stress caused by worrying about their finances, and an absent employee costs money. Furthermore, according to Barclays*, 20% of employees say worrying about their finances affects work – this obviously impacts upon the productivity of your employees and your business. If you can provide support and help to allay money worries you can save your business money, all just by taking some time out from work.

Who delivers the sessions on site? What’s their background?

This will depend on the provider you select; there are many organisations that offer financial education in the workplace and you should choose one that will be able to fulfil your requirements. As you are seeking to provide financial education it would be a good idea to choose a provider that has a track record in the finance industry as well as experience in educating in the workplace.

How is the education kept up to date, relevant and topical?

This depends entirely on how you provide financial education to your employees, for example if you use the web then some pages can be very old and rarely, or never updated. If you select an education provider that has experience in the financial industry they should have access to up-to-date information that they can pass on to your employees. Some providers will also collate feedback from education sessions and take on board individual comments so that education is always meeting your employees’ needs and is relevant for them.

How is the education tailored for us as an employer? What about for specific teams within the business?

You can meet with your chosen provider and they will consult with you about what you want to provide for your employees and the best way to go about it. A good provider will tailor content to the culture and style of your business, making the education relevant for your staff. If you do want to provide education for different groups within the business, your chosen provider should be able to tailor the content for each of them through consultancy; they can find out what is important to each group and the best way to approach financial education with them.

Will you send communications to us to send out, or to HR or to employees directly?

When you choose an education provider you can discuss with them the best way to disseminate information to your employees. You can agree on a method that suits your business and won’t put pressure on your HR department’s time constraints. Most providers should be able to consult with you to provide a solution that you are happy with.

What is the process of monitoring to see if it’s working or not working?

This will partly depend on who you choose to provide financial education for your employees – they may collect feedback from your employees following education sessions or you could do this internally. Using individual feedback can let you know if your employees find the education useful and if you continue to ask for feedback at later intervals you can find out whether the education has ongoing affects. For example, you (or your provider) could produce surveys for employees to complete asking about changes they have made to their financial habits and improvements they have made to manage their money. Internally, you will also be keeping track of absences and in the longer term you could start to see a decrease as employees are becoming less stressed and more in control of their money.

What is the downside to the business if we don’t do it?

Many individuals struggle with their finances and as many as one in five lose sleep worrying about them1 and 40% of companies say one of the most common causes of long-term sickness absence is stress**. You know that absence costs your business money, but treating the symptoms of stress with healthcare plans doesn’t tackle the real issue. The real issue is that many individuals don’t know how to handle their finances, because they’ve never been taught how to. Without addressing this problem more and more people are likely to be absent from work due to stress and money worries, this could not only cost you money, but you could also lose some of your staff:

Employees who feel cared for are 27%*** more likely to stay with their current employer for over five years, compared to those who feel adequately or poorly looked after and  38%* of employees said they would move to a company that put financial wellbeing as a priority.

*Barclays Financial Wellbeing Report 2014
**Jelf EEF Sickness Absence Survey 2014
***Unum 2014