Financial workshops in the workplace can be awful. In fact, more often than not, they are awful. They’re boring, inefficient and counterproductive. No one’s to blame really—not the employer nor the participating employees. The intentions are usually great; it’s the approach and the execution that is lacking.
In the wrong hands, budgeting can be a drag. The 401k people often tapped to conduct budgeting workshops aren’t usually the most charismatic folks (there are exceptions, to be sure, but not many). So not only are they at a disadvantage because they’re talking about something that’s known to glass over eyes pretty quickly, but they’re also not professional presenters. Worst of all (beyond boring everyone in the workshop to death), a chance to make a connection with employees—and ultimately help them get their financial lives in order—is lost.
Other times, the only experience that employees have with financial workshops is when someone is trying to sell them life insurance or Aflac. During the meeting, they feel like captives and end up thinking less of their employers as a result. When the sales pitches are finally over, they return to their desks and their cubicles feeling like their time has been wasted.
So maybe your company has learned its lesson from past snoozer financial workshops and insurance sales pitches and has decided to bring in a professional. You’re certainly on the right track. What should you look for in a financial wellness professional?
Financial workshops should put all participants at ease. They should be open forums where people feel comfortable and willing to engage in, what for many, can be uncomfortable conversations about their money (and the often personal reasons for their financial troubles). You need a financial wellness professional who can entertain but also educate; someone who can serve both as a translator of difficult financial concepts and also as a sharer of life experiences.