MainSource Financial Group says it cares deeply about its employees’ well-being and wanted to improve the culture at work.

The Greensburg, Ind., based community bank, which serves customers in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois, partnered with Gallup in 2011 to conduct employee engagement surveys. It wanted to find out what its employees cared about and what they were most concerned about.

From there, MainSource began to apply the philosophy found in Gallup’s book “Well Being: The Five Essential Elements,” which focuses on five areas of well-being: physical, financial, social, community and purpose.

[image credit: MainSource]
[image credit: MainSource]

The physical component came fairly easily, says Mollie Fry, well-being administrator for MainSource Financial Group. The company offers its employees medical, dental and vision benefits, along with life and disability benefits. It also started its Live Well program, which focuses on physical and financial well-being.

“Our employees are given a dollar amount each year to spend on anything they consider physical or financial well-being,” Fry says. The company requires employees to obtain a biometric screening for eligibility into the Live Well program. They can establish what their baseline is and how they want to progress moving forward. “The company does not see the results of that screening,” she says.

The money can be utilized in a variety of ways, including gym memberships, fitness devices, exercise equipment, will preparation and debt counseling. “We are a financial institution. It is very important for our employees to have physical well-being as well as financial well-being,” Fry says.

The company wanted to offer its employees programs that fit well with its overall focus on well-being.

“We don’t want to just check a box saying, ‘Yes, we offer some sort of financial well-being to our employees,’ then move on to the next item,” Fry says. “We want to offer something of benefit to our employees and help them with the behavior.”

In 2015, MainSource partnered with Dave Ramsey’s Smart Dollar program to help teach workers how to save money. It offers the program to all of its approximately 950 employees. “It teaches lifestyle change — really changing your behavior,” Fry says.

Dan Rolfson, director of relationship management, financial wellness team, at Dave Ramsey, says the program is great fit for MainSource.

“It’s fun to serve the companies that don’t look at this as something they have to do, but get to do,” he says. “They have a great culture. They want to help their team.”

See also: Employers prioritizing financial wellness, retirement readiness

Smart Dollar is an online financial wellness program that can help employees, no matter where they are financially, figure out the next steps toward financial security. Employees with financial pressures or stress are more likely to miss work or be less productive at work. The program, which has been operating at MainSource Bank for 18 months, has a 58% participation rate.

Late last year, Smart Dollar added a level of gamification to the program called Smart Dollar Points.

“We’ve learned over the past 25 years, taking these programs into different markets, that information is useless. We’ve all tried to get people to do smart things with money. The whole retirement industry has tried to do that since the 401(k) first came out 40 years ago. They don’t do it,” says Brian Hamilton, director of relationship management for financial wellness at Smart Dollar.

Participants earn points for engaging in the program in ways that change their behavior, he says — not just for logging in and out, but for things that drive behavior change.

“You have to give them inspiration and motivation to do things they know they should be doing. Smart Dollar blends motivation and inspiration and puts them in an environment that encourages that success,” Hamilton says.

The company sends out monthly communications to its employees regarding the Smart Dollar program.

“We use a lot of different techniques, so our employees know it is not just for those who are financially struggling,” Fry says. It could be for someone who has no debt who is gearing up for retirement, she says, or for someone who wants to save up to buy a house.

Fry appreciates that the program is all online so that employees can share the program with those in their household with whom they share financial responsibility.

MainSource has piloted a Weight Watchers at work program to encourage employees to eat healthier and change behaviors in their everyday lives. The company also hosts a walking challenge annually. For the past two years, employees have formed five-person teams to try and walk 1,000 miles in 12 weeks.

The program is a way for MainSource to encourage team-building.

Many MainSource Bank employees hold walking meetings or enter 5K races to get their steps in for the walking challenge. The company offers prizes every other week and a grand prize at the end of the challenge that includes travel vouchers. Forty-six percent of its employees participate in the walking challenge.

See also: 10 ways to do employee wellness right

“Our idea is to get our employees moving,” Fry says. “A lot of our positions are desk jobs, and we want our employees to be aware of that, so we promote healthy lifestyles and well-being.”

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