How to improve financial literacy across your team

financial management

Written By Andrew Makar

Professional Cat Herder and an Agile Enthusiast with a keen interest in putting PM theory into actual practice.

Part of being a responsible employer is understanding that events that happen outside of work can have an impact on productivity in the workplace, no matter how hard employees try to keep things separate. Even the most hard-working, productive employees will struggle for headspace at work if they’re at capacity in their personal lives. As a result, it’s in your best interests to support your team as much as you can to help them keep all aspects of their lives running smoothly.

One area that some people might find challenging is their finances. We all need to balance pay with mortgage or rent payments, plus bills, but at certain times things can feel a little tight, especially if unexpected expenses arise. However, there are things we can all do to be more prepared and reduce the stress of these surprise bills. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the steps they can take to improve their financial health, and factors like bad credit can become an issue.

As an employer, you can share knowledge and in turn reduce the impact that stressful financial situations have on your team. But what’s the best way to go about it? Let’s take a look.

Find out what they already know

When it comes to sensitive topics like finance, it can be hard to know where to start, or at what level to pitch the information. You don’t want to start talking about investing if someone’s struggling to pay their bills, for example. So, to start, it can be helpful to understand your team’s level of financial knowledge via an anonymous survey. It’s important to make it anonymous so that nobody feels put on the spot, and so that the team feels comfortable answering questions honestly.

By using questions with a ranging answer format (for example, “I feel confident with this topic” all the way to “I have no knowledge of this topic”) you can better understand what financial training would be most beneficial.

Make advice accessible to all

Once you’ve decided on the topics that you’re going to cover, you need to look at what format this advice will be delivered in. You might create a presentation or information sheets, have a guest speaker in, or record a short video. It’s important to remember that not everyone will learn in the same way, and some employees may have accessibility requirements that mean they need the information delivered in a different format.

It may be that you need to collaborate with an external provider to ensure that your information is easily accessible for everyone on your team – otherwise you’re only widening the knowledge divide.

Provide confidential external support

If your employees are struggling with their finances, they may not want to talk to you about it. There’s a lot of stigma and secrecy surrounding money, and they may feel that you’ll let their struggles affect your perception of them now and in the future.

Instead, you should make sure you’re aware of external support that is available, whether that’s via charities, online financial resources, local government schemes or counselling. Make this information easily accessible, and ensure that it’s easy for your employees to attend any appointments with discretion in order to get the support that they need.

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