Financial Wellness Collaboration Can Grow Your Bottom Line

Originally posted in CUTimes

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a former colleague I worked with at First Tech Federal Credit Union. She now works for a company that provides workplace wellness programs.

She shared that her team offers content and educational sessions for human resource leaders in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding communities. What she said next left me stunned.

“I would love to find a credit union that would be willing to be on a panel, where we’d discuss a broad range of workplace wellness issues that affect employees on the job.”

I couldn’t believe it. Not a single credit union had reached out to explore a possible collaboration.

Addressing financial wellness is the hottest rising HR trend and it’s the perfect addition to any workplace wellness program.

Why aren’t credit unions in the forefront leading more of these discussions with area businesses?

A recent PwC Employee Financial Wellness study revealed finances cause the most stress in working adults’ lives. That’s right. Personal finance concerns beat out work-related issues, relationships and even health issues combined. Less than half surveyed believe they’ll be able to retire when they want and nearly two-thirds said their retirement plans and Social Security won’t be enough to support them in retirement.

When you consider reports that more than half of U.S. adults don’t even have enough money saved to cover emergencies, it’s no wonder they’re stressed.

These statistics from the latest Bankrate.com survey are discouraging:

  • 55% can’t cover six months of living expenses if unemployed;
  • 54% can’t pay for a medical emergency; and
  • 43% can’t even cover an unexpected auto repair.

Beyond the personal repercussions of financial stress, there’s a ripple effect across the organization. In the PwC survey, 40% of working adults said their financial issues distracted them at work. Stressed employees are twice as likely to spend three hours or more at work dealing with their personal finances and 47% admitted to either missing work occasionally or that financial worries have affected their productivity at work.

Here’s the thing. Working adults are struggling. Whether you are a community or SEG-based credit union, it simply makes sense to build partnerships with select area businesses to help improve their employees’ financial health.

We should be the leading financial wellness resource in our communities. We should be doing case studies and writing articles about the effects of financial stress on the bottom line.

In business development, we open doors and then earn the right to use a company’s communication channels to share the value of credit union membership with their employees. But before any door is opened, they have to understand why they should care about partnering with us.

We have a compelling story to share about how employee financial wellness efforts can help the businesses we serve thrive. By helping employees reach their financial goals and dreams, employers will be rewarded with increased productivity and employee engagement. All thanks to their local credit union.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Partner with HR at your SEGs and/or key employer groups on a questionnaire about financial wellness for their employees. I promise it will be an “Aha!” moment for the SEG leadership team. Use the responses to discuss ways your credit union can help ease their employees’ financial stress.
  • Host an educational meeting or webinar for HR or leadership teams at SEGs/company partners about financial wellness in the workplace. Keep it educational and give attendees a chance to engage in dialogue with each other about possible solutions.
  • Start pushing out content about financial wellness in the workplace. Use LinkedIn, email and old fashioned but effective snail mail. Become a financial wellness resource for your contacts at your SEGs and within your community.
  • Identify other businesses that provide wellness services to human resource departments and build relationships, finding opportunities to collaborate.