Three Reasons for Leaders to Celebrate Financial Wellness Throughout the Year

Performance typically suffers among employees in financial distress. These are some ways supervisors can help.

April 2023 was the 20th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month. Financial Institutions, agencies, and nonprofits focus their effort on the focus of financial education through various sponsored events and programs.

Supervisors Can Help Advance Financial Literacy

But all of us, especially those among us who have the role of a supervisor can contribute, and the contribution does not have to be limited to April.

New employees enter the workforce throughout the year, and existing employees are always going through life events like marriage, divorce, the acquisition of children through births or adoptions, and health setbacks.

Supervisors should leverage their experience within the workplace to shape the work environment for advancing financial literacy. Opportunities abound for supervisors to address life events between the new employee orientation and their preparations for retirement.

Supervisors in the federal sector may want to consider supplementing any institutional resources to expand financial wellness for their employees. Leaders are needed who take the initiative to seek out opportunities to engage in financial wellness.

All organizations need leaders with the skill set to engage, motivate, and lead teams. Supervisors who proactively demonstrate the attributes of caring leaders will attract and manage talent in a highly competitive labor market. Financial Wellness, in the private sector, is too important an issue to focus on solely during April.

Financial Wellness Survey

Every year, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) conducts its annual Financial Wellness Survey. The 2022 survey of 3,236 full-time employed US adults across a variety of industries found retention, mental health, and productivity are enhanced through financial wellness.

Financially stressed employees are twice as likely to look elsewhere for a job. In 2021, less than 40% of those looking elsewhere for jobs cited more money as the main reason for changing jobs. A year later, 65% of the job hunters elevated money as the primary reason.

Financially stressed employees are three times as likely to express money concerns as having a big impact on their lives. And in the wake of Covid-19, almost 60% of employees shared that mental wellness programs are important. This was an increase from 49% in 2021.

Financially stressed employees are six times more likely to say that stress impacts their work productivity and seven times more likely to say it affects their attendance. Employees confessed that three hours or more of their work time each week were lost to dealing with personal money issues.

How Supervisors Can Help

Supervisors are on the front lines of financial wellness. They can alleviate financial stress within the workforce through acknowledgment of the subject.

Supervisors can ask employees what their financial concerns are. Employees, however, may be reluctant to volunteer this as personal information.

A less intrusive way is to ask them what financial workshops they would like in the coming year. A “brown bag” lunch discussion could be dedicated to a different topic each month.

I orchestrated a series of brown bag luncheons while I served as the core faculty program manager at the F.B.I. Academy. Here is how you may want to offer a similar series of brown bag opportunities within your agency.

Allow your employees to help you find topics. Allow employees to attend while on the clock during lunch hours so you do not penalize them for going. And allow yourself to attend because that sends a huge signal that it is okay for them to do so.

A year of financial wellness discussions may include topics, such as:

  • Student Debt
  • Thrift Savings Plan
  • Emergency Fund
  • Elder Care
  • Flexible Spending Plans
  • Budgeting Basics
  • Credit Scores
  • Identity Theft
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Tax Planning
  • Personal Financial Planning
  • Health Care Plan Options

Supervisors are accountable for ensuring specific protocols are followed for guest speakers. All financial workshops and speakers should be vetted by a process within your organization or agency. Different organizations have in place guidance for inviting speakers.

A government or non-government entity may have certain rules that need to follow when speakers from external organizations for inviting guest speakers. The U.S. General Services Administration has prepared guidelines to ensure such events are ethical and compliant. Plant Delights Nursery, Inc, for example, provides on its website a Host Etiquette for Public Speakers. (Full disclosure no bulbs, seeds, or services of any kind were provided to the author for sharing this information.)

Human Resources should not be overlooked as a potential source of information and speakers on certain topics. Also, approved webinars and other online resources may be available in-house to explain details of the corporate sector’s Thrift Saving Plan.

A supervisor arranging a topic related to financial wellness for employees each month may be a great way to curb employee retention, improve mental health and increase productivity. It also is the right way for a leader to go the extra mile to show she or he cares about what is important to employees and their families.

About the Author

Francis Xavier (FX) Bergmeister retired from the USMC and the F.B.I. Consider following him on LinkedIn as he shares articles from others about retirement and other financial topics. He also provides retirement seminars thru Federal Career Experts.