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April 2020
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TD Magazine

Talk Finances

Financial literacy programs can improve organizational culture.

In the US, April is National Financial Literacy Month. Why does that matter for talent development professionals? As Human Resource Executive notes, financial stress takes a huge toll on employees' health—everything from depression to migraines, which can lead to absenteeism and lost productivity. Therefore, it is in employers' interest to offer staff the tools and resources to become more adept at managing their finances.

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ColoradoBiz explains in a 2018 article that employer financial literacy programs help improve company culture, as well as employee productivity and satisfaction. The article also notes that effective programs provide a significant return on investment through reduced sick days and healthcare costs. Financial wellness programs don't need to be expensive—they can be as simple as a lunch & learn that a hired certified financial planner leads. Other resources could include assessments, videos, seminars, and budgeting tools.

MassMutual's In Good Company initiative provides organizational financial literacy programs via experiential learning. "Our interactive approach," describes Ryan White, head of innovation and design at MassMutual, "invites employees to not only learn but actively participate in the experience." The training program asks employees to have a personal financial goal in mind that they can use as they continue throughout the workshop. The program also offers homework that employees can talk through with their partner or other family members.

Tailoring financial planning is critical, White emphasizes, especially with many generations in the workplace. MassMutual individualizes the program: "Each workshop aims to help the individual not only understand the financial effort needed to achieve the goal but why they're setting the goal in the first place," White explains.

Despite each person having an individual goal, commonalities exist. "Everyone deals with spending triggers no matter what age you are," White continues. "Becoming aware of those habits and learning how to handle them is a valuable skill at any age."

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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