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Financial Wellness

Money Talks: 5 Ways To Normalize The Conversation About Financial Matters With Your Employees

Financial adviser Mariel Bitanga shares strategies to get employees to open up about their financial struggles so that you can give them the help they need.

In a previous post, we discussed how financial stress can affect an employee’s mental health and productivity at work. As a leader, one of the ways you can help your team members maintain good financial footing and achieve better well-being is to normalize talking about financial health. 

But because financial problems are extremely personal matters, they must be addressed carefully. According to a report by Canadian multinational insurance company and financial services provider Manulife, feelings of shame and embarrassment make it difficult for people to reveal money issues.

To remove the stigma facing financial conversations, Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance, a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women, shares some ways you can approach the topic with your team members without seeming too intrusive or judgmental.

  1. Make sure you are giving your employees the right wages and government benefits. “The first step to ensuring that your employees have good financial health is making sure they receive what is rightfully due to them,” Mariel reminds.
  2. Regularly hold company-wide activities that actively promote or raise awareness about financial well-being. “If you are holding mental health awareness activities, why not have a Financial Awareness Week or even a Financial Health Month?” Mariel asks. “If your Human Resources Department is not equipped to facilitate finance-related activities, you can opt to invite experts to come and give talks about personal finance or smart investments.” Sessions like these usually lead participants to comfortably discuss their learnings with their peers afterwards and break the stigma about financial health. MindNation conducts virtual trainings to help employees take charge of their personal finances and make smart money decisions. Sessions are facilitated by licensed financial planners and financial health advocates. To book this talk for your organization, email [email protected].
     
  3. Include the topic in performance reviews or regular one-on-ones. Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well. “Push through the embarrassment and have a frank talk about wages and expected bonuses or salary increases. Knowing this information can even incentivize employees to perform better at work,” Mariel points out.

Just like how you should frequently check-in on your team member’s physical and mental health, it’s important to do a financial health check as well.

Mariel Bitanga of Simply Finance


4. Have an open-door policy. “Make your employees feel that they can come to you anytime if they need advice or discuss anything related to money struggles,” shares Mariel. “This way they feel safe instead of being scared to bring up concerns about their salary or benefits.”

5. And when concerns do arise, be honest and transparent. In case an employee asks for something more than you can give, i.e. a salary increase or a promotion, Mariel advises that you stick to the facts and not let emotions get in the way. Instead of saying something like ‘We’re all affected by this pandemic, don’t ask for a raise,’ present to them the company rules or policies involving raises and promotions. “Has the employee done something to merit a salary increase?” Mariel says. “Make it transparent so that expectations are clear and you do not give false hope.”  

Now, if the said employee comes back to you with a list of all their achievements but the company is really in a tight financial spot, be honest. “Apologize, explain the situation, and graciously tell the employee that you will not take it against them if they decide to look for opportunities elsewhere,” Mariel suggests. This way, there are no hard feelings on both sides.

By normalizing the conversation about financial health, you encourage your employees to talk more openly about their financial needs, share ideas and best practices, and make them more compelled to work on their financial wellbeing. Download our free Achieving Financial Wellbeing toolkit https://bit.ly/MN_financialtoolkit to learn how else you can help your employees increase their financial health, meet their short-term and long-term financial goals, and balance today’s challenges with tomorrow’s needs.

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