No matter how much financial education you provide to your workforce, ultimately it is up to your employees themselves to alter their financial bad habits and focus on improving their financial well-being. It all starts with creating a culture of accountability, according to best-selling author Roger Connors. I was fortunate to pick up a free copy of his book Change the Culture, Change the Game a few months ago at the SHRM Annual Expo in Atlanta. Although some of you might disagree, one of the things I like most about attending these conferences is the ability to visit all the vendors’ booths, find out what’s new in the benefits arena, and best of all, collect the freebies and giveaways. At one of the booths, Roger Connors was autographing his latest book, where he outlines a breakthrough strategy for energizing your workforce and creating accountability for results.
Although his intent for the book is to provide a process to achieve your key organizational results, I thought it also had significant application to moving the needle on individual employee accountability for their personal finances, too. One of the most important best practices of financial education is not only to help your employees be more financially literate, but to facilitate a lasting change to their financial habits. In his book, Connors illustrates his Results Pyramid®, where he provides a game plan you can follow to accelerate the change in your culture to achieve your desired result of workforce financial wellness, along with a section of free resources. Looking at the 3 essential cultural components of experiences, beliefs, and actions, the pyramid aligns these components to work in harmony to achieve results.
Every company has a culture which can influence financial behaviors, for better or worse. Leaders and managers set the tone, so think about some of your daily experiences. As an HR manager, do you go out to lunch frequently or brown bag it in the communal kitchen? Are you driving a shiny new Mercedes or an older model Chevy? Have you maxed out your 401(k) and your HSA or FSA? Do you carry your iPad in your expensive Coach purse or like me, did you grab your free blue canvas computer bag at the SHRM Expo? To shift your culture of accountability, Connors offers 4 easy steps:
- See It – Obtain the perspectives of others, which will allow you to see reality. Example: If the culture at work is to celebrate everyone’s birthday, acknowledge how much of a financial strain this can be on some employees if they are always having to pitch in for gifts and cake.
- Own It – Get personally investing in changing the belief and accept it as your own priority to make the change.
- Solve It – Be creative in dealing with obstacles and take the risk to achieve a result. Example: Set up a once a month birthday recognition day and have the company cover the cost of a cake instead of making employees pitch in.
- Do It – Get out there and do it yourself and sustain an environment of trust with your workforce.