How to use objective-centric engagement to improve financial literacy in the workplace
“I wonder if my company has ensured my life cover policy is written under an excepted group life arrangement, so my family don’t get an unexpected tax bill should the worst happen?” – said no employee ever.
The real value of the benefits you put in place for your colleagues can be lost if you don’t talk about things properly.
I passionately believe the answer lies in objective-centric engagement; and this is where financial wellbeing plays a major part. Financial wellbeing is the definition of an objective-centric structure, based around four main pillars: spending, saving, borrowing, and planning. You are looking to help people make financially capable decisions in key areas of their lives.
Ask yourself: What do your employees want? What problems do they need your help with? How can you help with their concerns?
For example, one of the most popular employee questions is, “Is my family protected?”
That’s not a policy feature. It’s not a term or condition. It’s an objective. How are you helping your employees meet that objective? The answer, at a tactical level, is benefits. You might have life cover in place, insure their income, help them get back to work when they are ill. But do your employees know about and understand these benefits and are they the right benefits to be offering?
Advisers can help by applying detailed understanding and insight of the different provider offerings, legislative landscape, and innovations in the market to support making the right policy decisions and getting you the best tools available. But unless communications move away from policy detail and towards objective-centric engagement, the help you already offer will be diluted, misunderstood, ignored, and under-valued.
The first step is developing objective-centric ‘constellation maps’. Start by drawing a map of your existing benefits universe. What products do you already have in place? Pensions, workplace ISAs, DIS, PMI, GIP, EAP, discount schemes, salary sacrifice, etc.
What resources do you already have access to? What will your providers offer? What can you get for free? Where are the gaps?
What tools are available for people to act? Do you have a flex platform or a portal? Can you fold some of this into internal L&D systems? How do they interact with third-party offerings?
Now consider the skills needed for employees to achieve their objectives. Things like getting to grips with their own finances through budgeting or understanding investing. How can you help improve them, for example through webinars, videos, apps, intranet resources, and third-parties?
Once you have your universe mapped out you can create an objective-specific constellation map.
Let’s take “protecting your family”.
What products apply to this objective? What resources do you have in place to help? How are you supporting the skills and educating people about the products? Which tools will they use to act?
Take your universe, circle the answers to those questions, and you have your objective-centric constellation map.
One by one, do that for several objectives. Because objectives are cross-policy, you’ll see that products, resources, and tools are used multiple times.
What typically happens when we do this is clients see that the products are already in place, the resources already exist, the tools to act are already there, and the only thing missing is to join the dots.
There remain important questions such as how you truly understand the goals and objectives of your employees (hint – the answer is not age), but that’s for another time.
What’s important is that, at some level, your company already uses objective-centric planning internally. To reduce turnover. To increase ROI. And you leverage numerous internal policies, products, skills, and tools to achieve your goals.
Your employees are the same, so talk to them like that.
Andreas Hunter – Employee Benefits Consultant Leader