Employers gradually are becoming aware that the financial health of employees can have a resounding impact on a number of job-related factors, including absence, presenteeism, disability, retention and turnover, and productivity.

Unfortunately, there will always be some workers who will be skeptical of an employer's motives for bringing personal finance training in-house.

If you can identify the skeptics upfront, it might be best to engage them in the financial education program from the outset - making clear that your company and the education provider are not selling, only training.

Integrating financial wellness into your physical wellness program may yield a better outcome, as the link between financial problems and physical/emotional conditions - stress, depression, chronic pain, high blood pressure - is well-known.

Also, a financial wellness program could be introduced as part of a total rewards program.

For example, tell employees: "Our compensation budget will only allow for 2% to 3% pay increases in 2011, but we can show you how to save 10% of your income by managing expenses and reducing debt through our financial wellness training program."

Once you've decided on the best approach to introducing financial wellness, you'll need to decide how to deliver the training. Consider the level of financial sophistication of your workforce and vary training accordingly.

It may be best to start with the assumption that all of your employees need financial education at some level. Financial education professionals can often assist in addressing the depth of the collective personal finance distress within an organization.

Some organizations will support in-house training on company time, while others will only provide training at lunchtime or after normal work hours.

Some employers may not see in-house classroom instruction as the best delivery method for them. They may choose to make online on-demand or webinar training available.

However you introduce your financial wellness program, do it with care and sensitivity, and map a solid strategy for success. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. The specific needs of your workforce should be uppermost in your planning.


Contributing Editor Wayne Hanson, SPHR, CEPF, is an HR consultant with a special interest in financial literacy. This is his final column for EBN. The editors thank him for his contributions and wish him the best.

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