While many companies offer health insurance plans with incentives for employees who join a gym or eat healthy, most don’t give employees’ financial wellness the same consideration as their physical health.
Workers Credit Union in Littleton, Mass., believes they should. The $2.2 billion asset credit union offers free financial coaching to Massachusetts employers as an employee benefit.
Workers’ program goes beyond the financial literacy information and webinars many employers offer their staff. The credit union’s certified financial coaches meet with employees individually through a series of judgment-free counseling sessions to answer questions and provide the tools and support that empower employees to make good decisions.
Regular discussions keep employees encouraged and motivated to follow their path to financial wellness.
Chief Banking Officer Peter Rice says the program reflects the very roots of credit union philosophy.
“In Latin, ‘credit’ means ‘believe,’ and we believe in people,” he says. “We pay a lot of attention to what’s happening in society and discussions within our culture. Today you hear a lot about diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is exactly what credit union founders experienced more than 100 years ago.”
Financial concerns are foremost on consumers’ minds, according to studies the credit union cites. Plus, financial stress costs employers $4.7 billion per week, according to the Federal Reserve.
One-fifth of people said their financial health has worsened during the pandemic, according to a Bright Plan survey, and 46% have had lower productivity as a result.
This comes as COVID-19 has made quality workers harder for employers to find. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August.
According to Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker survey done one year into the pandemic, one-quarter of workers plan to look for a different job once the threat of the pandemic has decreased.
This is significant considering it costs companies 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them if they leave.
“We see health and fitness clubs everywhere,” Rice says. “Where do people go for financial well-being? The financial services industry has not responded.”
Rice says Workers has transformed its branches into planning centers to move away from a transaction-centric environment.
“Our discussions with members are based on engagement and empowerment,” he says, “as they walk into an open, welcome environment, engage with technology, and the visit with the best coaches.”
Within a few meetings, Workers can gain a full understanding of members’ financial situation and guide them on a path toward financial fulfillment—and better mental health.
“We’re good at scaling rates and products,” Rice says. “This goes beyond that. We’ve found a way to move past the difficult conversations and scale empathy to help people achieve their dreams.”