March 28, 2017
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For Workplace Financial Education Programs, Patience Pays
Financial education programs with longevity experiencing better results
Brookfield, WI, March 28, 2017—Think money stress isn't impacting employees at work? Think again. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans A Closer Look: What's Working in Workplace Financial Education survey report, 96% of employers indicated employees' personal financial issues had some sort of impact on their overall job performance.
Offering financial education in the workplace is an impactful way employers can counter the detrimental effects of financial distress. According to the survey, the most effective recipe for a successful financial education program is a mix of leadership support, patience and customization.
While half of employers with unsuccessful programs indicate a lack of leadership support as one of their biggest obstacles to offering financial education, only one-quarter of those with successful programs did so. Program longevity is also a major success factor.
"'Good things come with time' holds true for many things, including financial education programs," said Julie Stich, CEBS, Associate VP of Content at the International Foundation. "A program is likely to be more successful the longer it is in place and, according to the report, it takes more than five years to be reported as successful." For successful employers, 24% had programs in place for six to ten years and 49% for more than ten years, vs. 11% and 42%, respectively, for the unsuccessful group.
Customization is key for successful financial education programs. Employers with successful programs conduct an employee survey to assess both their financial well-being and which financial topics need to be covered. Nearly 30% of employers with successful programs have conducted an assessment. None of the employers with unsuccessful programs had.
Similarly, employers with successful programs customize education for specific groups based on age or income level (33% versus 14%). They also target education by life stage (12% versus 2%). The survey indicated that the success group was more likely to offer education using a wide variety of formats, including free personal consultation services, classes and workshops, web-based online resources, workbooks and calculators.
What's the payoff? "Financial education programs lead to fewer employees reporting financial distress, calling in sick, being distracted and snapping at colleagues and customers. And that, ultimately, means a more productive work environment," said Stich. Among workplaces offering a financial education program, 61% reported having more financially savvy employees and 71% said employees are more prepared for retirement. For more information, visit www.ifebp.org/financialed.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a member-driven organization with six decades of experience as a leading, objective source of employee benefits education and information within the U.S. and Canadian workplaces. International Foundation expertise is industrywide, offering resources that include Foundation staff, training and conferences as well as research on topics critical to assisting its 31,000 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members respond to trends affecting the well-being of more than 25 million lives in North America. For additional information, visit www.ifebp.org.