Financial Wellness And Corporate Culture

Financial wellness in business? Here’s a great post on the need for corporate financial programs by Robert Lawrence. Follow Robert on Twitter. You can guest post as well! Read how to here.

Question: If you are dealing with money problems, do you turn to your workplace for help?

For most people, the answer would be “not on your life!” Few of us want anyone to know when we’re dealing with debt-related issues. So most of us manage quietly (or so we think) with the stress. But what if there was a better way? What if you knew your employer really cared about every aspect of your health, including your money?

I think financial wellness is a disposition or an outlook that people have when they are either experiencing financial success/security or are on a path toward that goal. It involves attitude and behavior. It’s why so much financial wellness is geared toward helping people get out of debt and live within their means.

Teaching people how to become debt-free and live that way has to be at the core of any financial wellness program. Recently, Fox Business News posted a piece about how consumer debt is affecting many workers’ ability to save for retirement. It cites a Financial Wellness Survey that shows that 33% of workers are not saving any money for their retirement. Of these, 59% say they have too many expenses to set aside money for future needs.

When team members face personal money problems, their workplace productivity plummets. They often lose their jobs as a result. If they stay, the level of their participation in company retirement programs is almost nonexistent.

In an effort to protect their ROI (return on investment), employers should look to financial wellness programs to remedy these problems. Certainly, every business is concerned about its ROI. But an authentic concern for the personal development and overall well-being of each team member is what defines a truly caring company. This is what creating corporate culture is all about. And when a company culture reflects a genuine concern for its team members, the ROI soars.

Financial problems cause stress, and there are plenty of studies that point to a correlation between stress and declining physical health. These problems also lead to poor family life and even divorce. By personally promoting financial wellness, businesses are sending their team members a message: We care about your health. We care about your home life. We care about you in every possible way!

Question: How would a financial wellness program in your company benefit team members?




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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

69 thoughts on “Financial Wellness And Corporate Culture”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Chris wrote a solid post about employers helping their team members beat debt as a way to do exactly what you’ve discussed here.  The bottom line is leaders need to make their team members lives a priority.  People don’t check their lives at the door.  As a leader, recognizing this opens your eyes to helping your team through struggles and celebrating life successes. Great post.

    1.  @JoelFortner Thanks Joel. You’re so right, folks don’t check their lives at the door when they enter the workplace, and leaders must recognize this!

      1. Just look to the military or any government position that requires a security clearance. Your financial well being basically underscores your job and pay grade. By the same token, you can expect that the people you work with are trustworthy enough to handle their finances and at some level build a stronger team.  

    2.  @JoelFortner Tom Rath (author of “StrengthsFinder 2.0” & “Wellbeing”) has looked closely at how engaged or disengaged people are at work based directly upon the level of actual interest their managers express in developing them. When a leader really cares about his or her team members, and this legitimate concern is conveyed, then engagement and productivity on the team dramatically increases. Listen to Chris’s interview with Tom Rath on the EntreLeadership podcast two weeks ago.

      1. @rlawrencejr @JoelFortner I really want to say something inspiring or really smart here, but you guys beat me to it!

        This whole lack of intentional corporate culture / finance thing is really a symptom of a deeper issue. Especially at a time when many companies have cut their HR programs to the bone.

        There really has to be a leap of faith at some point to re-invest in the roots of the organization…the people.

        Great discussion folks!

        1.  @selfemployedbob  @rlawrencejr  @JoelFortner Your thoughts are inspiring. I agree that investing in our team cannot be separated from a genuine concern about the personal development of each team member. Thanks for sharing.

        2. @selfemployedbob I think society has successfully painted HR programs, retirement, health ins. etc. as a liability. Something they have to pay, like a loan payment rather than Robert paints such things, as an investment in your employees and focusing on the ROI. if this paradigm shift would occur, I think many companies could take that leap of faith, because they’d realize it will benefit them, the company AND the employees. Win-Win

        3.  @Skropp  @selfemployedbob Exactly!  It’s like the whole LEAN manufacturing concept.  You have to take the leap of faith that having these meetings with your team is going to pay off with increased efficiency down the road.  It really takes a paradigm shift from the top to accept that it’s worth the effort and time.  Not to mention the change in culture from pretending “we do it the best” to admitting “we have plenty of areas that can improve”.
          Anyway, don’t get me started!  😉

        4. @selfemployedbob I hear you! I think a lot of business owners and managers are still in the industrial revolution mindset…where people were an expendable resource just like fuel or equipment. You use it up, get more. In the information age, successful businesses realize that taking care of all resources, especially people is the greatest investment they can make in the continued success of the company

        5.  @Skropp  Ironic that you reference the industrial revolution. Just before that, most people lived in small farming communities and knew each other. Then they moved to the cities and ended up working for strangers.
          Back on the farm, people could tell whether or not you were doing good… your crops would wither, your cattle would be really skinny, and your storehouses would be empty. If you were in a tight spot, your neighbors often banded together to help. People knew each other and you didn’t work for strangers, you worked for family and friends. People knew each other so well that when outside hardships occurred (bank threatens to take over the farm), the community banded together to save the land.
          That we are trending back to the community aspect of things in the “information age” totally makes sense in light of how fast society as a hole dove into industrialization. Makes you wonder how intentional and deliberate we have to be today to make sure our ancestors aren’t struggling with similar issues centuries from now, huh?

        6. @Jonathan Henry That’s an awesome observation! I hadnt thought through it that far! It’s like we have it figured out, what’s important. Then we lose focus and get off track, but somehow always come back to it! Thanks so mic for that thought!

    3. @JoelFortner And that, of course, leads to more loyalty, more buy in, and hence, more productivity. It’s a vicious cycle( ok, a good cycle, but vicious sounded cooler!). I’ve worked above and beyond lots of times because my boss is a friend of mine (from before I started working here) and I know he really cares about me as a person and what goes on in my life. When others in the company frustrate me, its that relationship with the boss that keeps me working hard.

      1.  @Skropp  @JoelFortner Thanks for sharing this…the genuine concern and care that you get from your boss, and the way that this sustains you during frustrating times, is a real-life example of what we’re talking about!

  2. For a company to care about the financial wellness of their team members is as important as providing health insurance options, retirement or training and development. Great points, Chris. I think it works both ways – companies may not offer options for financial wellness and team members are reluctant to admit their struggles. What a healthy culture when both get it out in the open in a supportive way.

    1. @CarolDublin Good point Carol! What a great culture if everyone can be that upfront with each other! The benefits of such a culture, for both sides are limitless!

  3. Man Robert, great post! I might just have my head in the sand, but this struck me! I’ve never looked at it like that. Thank you.
    I think a financial wellness program would help in my company a lot. A lot of the employees work 65+ hours a week and don’t always feel appreciated (Ag work…). Such a program would help them feel appreciated, as well as help them feel like they were doing more to benefit their family long term.

    1.  @Skropp Financial wellness really does help people feel better about themselves and about what they are doing to benefit their families in the long term. Thanks for pointing this out.

      1. @rlawrencejr Ya, I think especially in an industry like I’m in where at least 6 months of the year you’re running your employees 70+ hours a week. When you’re running those long hours, missing your family, things like financial wellness would do a lot to encourage you

        1.  @Skropp  @rlawrencejr I agree. When we can help people eliminate the stresses and distractions that are created by personal money problems, they will be able to get more accomplished at work…and in less time.

        2.  @rlawrencejr  @Skropp Sorry to keep going here, but you said something that struck a nerve with me!  I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’m going to anyway.  In reference to your statement, “When we can help people eliminate the stresses and distractions that are created by personal money problems”, it made me think of the whole commissions thing.  I know that Entreleadership teaches that commissions are a good thing.  However, I’ve been on both sides of that coin and have seen it be a real moral crusher when markets turn.  I’ve been meaning to bring it up and get Chris’s (and all’s) take on that.  I don’t see commissions as always a good thing.  Thoughts?
          p.s.  Here is a link to a Ted Talk on this subject.  Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts:

        3.  @selfemployedbob  @rlawrencejr  @Skropp I love commission programs for people who are bent that way. If you’re a high S or C, it’s frustrating even in the good times. For the person who’s able to leave the cave, kill something, and drag it home, it’s a winner.
          When the markets turn, you are absolutely correct in saying it’s a morale crusher. But that’s when processes need to be changed to get things going again. What I see happening is people sitting around trying to do the same thing over and over again, but due to the market shift it doesn’t work. The ones who are winning are those who’ve discovered their cheese has been moved, and their on the hunt for it or new cheese.
          But that’s just my opinion. 🙂

        4.  @selfemployedbob  @rlawrencejr  @Skropp @ChrisLoCurto Paying for a performance is a complicated issue: do you pay for individual performance, team performance, or organizational performance?
          Ultimately, from the company’s perspective, pay structures should be structured to increase organizational performance. Variable pay (like commissions) have actually reduced turnover in companies versus merit pay. Variable pay also generally attracts higher quality talent, so your pay structure depends on what you want to build within the company. By keeping turnover low (hiring based on personality and intelligence and a variable pay structure), you encourage people to stick with the company and build “knowledge capital” that does not show up on the company’s financial books.
          If done right, pay structures communicate what factors a company thinks are important (do you get a bonus for the number of people you call — a behavior — or the number of sales you close — an outcome), and variable pay makes sure you attract and keep the best talent, even during the downtimes.
          Do you think the top real estate agents are discouraged from the downturn in the economy, or do you think they work harder to retain and capture new clients?

        5.  @selfemployedbob  @Skropp I agree with Chris on this; commission programs are not for everyone. Those who are wired with high D and I personalities are probably naturally equipped to do better in a commission-based environment.
          When I made the comment about trying to help folks eliminate the stresses and distractions that accompany personal money problems, I was thinking more in terms of the stresses and distractions that arise as a result of poor personal money management. I should have been more clear. I guess we were looking at similar issues from different angles. 
          I believe commission programs are a good for some, and bad for others. Some people just operate better when there is more stability attached to how they earn their income. And when folks with these personality styles are paid on commission, then I suspect they may be the most likely to experience the negative impacts of market turns…especially as it relates to moral, as you’ve indicated.
          Good thoughts!

        6.  @ChrisLoCurto  @rlawrencejr  @Skropp  Can you say, definition of insanity (same thing over and over = different result)???  If you watch the video, he breaks it down by activity, which I think is very interesting:
          Simple direct task = comm’s good.
          Outside the box thinking = comm’s bad.
          So, even when times are good, it can complicate things and negatively affect productivity.  Anyway, I guess it’s situation dependent.
          Totally agree that when the environment changes, so should the compensation.  I just believe that you should always set your people up to win, as long as it helps the company win also.  If the company can’t win and have the people win, then something else may be wrong.
          I’ll shut up now.
          p.s.  I’m not on comm’s and I’ve never worked harder to close sales in my life.  FYI-

        7. @selfemployedbob @ChrisLoCurto @rlawrencejr I think you hit the nail I the head when you said that compensation must lead to a win-win. The bottom line is that each business is different and should analyze what compensation model(s) would work best I their situation! Thanks for fostering the discussion!

  4. This struck a nerve with me because of something I experienced at work about 20 years ago. I worked in a print shop that had a really gifted guy in the darkroom. Something went wrong in his life, and his car was repossessed. He was often late to work, but always got his work finished and did a great job. After he lost his car and was commuting in a little rent-a-wreck, the owner of the print shop decided he was a bum and fired him! FIRED HIM!! Still haunts me, wondering what happened to the guy. And the owner was  “Christian” but the darkroom guy wasn’t. . . oh, ouch.

    1.  @cabinart UGH!!! I hate when stuff like that happens. Did you read my post on Caffe Positano? The owner wrote a check for 8K when one of his guys lost his house. THAT’S caring about people!

    2. @cabinart It’s amazing what a little understanding could’ve done…in that situation I would’ve had a talk with guy and figured out what was going on, especially if he was a great worker and always got his job done.

    3.  @cabinart That’s terrible! I suspect that if this print shop is still in business today, it’s either a one man show or the rate of turnover is crippling the ability for this shop to turn any real profits. The owner invested in this guy the moment he hired him; firing him was a lose lose situation for both this “rent-a-wreck” guy and for this owner.
      Thanks for sharing this story.

    4.  @cabinart Ouch is right – Amazing how little some people really know or care about their people.  A lesson to me for sure – to look deeper into a situation where someone is late for work – or it seems as if “something” is going on.  Many times, we just don’t catch the clues.

  5. Wow! Pretty interesting conversations going on here today!  Financial wellness is such a sensitive topic! I think it’s true that people will share details about their love life before they share their state of their finances.  It moves such powerful emotions and people get defensive about it quite quickly. 
    We’ve experienced that with Financial Peace. Even though we were debt-free since day one of our marriage and individually before we met, we loved the class and it’s helping us make smarter decisions. However, our family, friends and coworkers roll their eyes when we talk about it.  Both my husband and I think that at some point we will talk to our employers about presenting FPU at work. 
    I agree with most of the comments here. Leaders have to be sold on it and the organization must have healthy financial management in place or it definitely won’t work.  It shocks me how corporations see offering benefits as a burden, rather than an opportunity to help their employees. If you’re up to your eyeballs in debt, you won’t be a happy, productive team member.  A team that is financially literate won’t expect the “boss” to take care of them in every aspect. They’ll make responsible and informed choices.  It’s also very tied to culture and how leaders build their own financial wellness.  Are they just putting on an image to impress?  Or do they lead a healthy financial life themselves?

    1.  @lilykreitinger Lily, you make several great points! Financial sickness certainly isn’t the first thing folks want to discuss. It’s embarrassing. And oftentimes the people who need the oct help will not admit to themselves that their spending behaviors are the real culprit. But when employees who may be wrestling with these issues have companies that genuinely care about their entire wellbeing, and they have the opportunity at work to participate in financial wellness programs that are designed to help them get and stay financially well, then the likelihood exists that these people will take the steps they need to take toward financial wellness when they’ve finally had enough.
      Conversely, employees who find themselves in similar personal financial situations, who have employers that do not really care about the overall wellbeing of their employees, and who work at places that do not consider financial wellness programs worthwhile, can only hope to stumble onto Dave Ramsey’s radio broadcast or maybe meet people like you and your husband. And because their workplaces couldn’t or wouldn’t provide an environment that offers help, both the employee AND the employer lose.
      Thanks for sharing. 

    2.  @lilykreitinger Lily, I guess I’m just really passionate about financial wellness in the marketplace, and you raised a very important fact: people are cautious when it comes to sharing about personal finances. And this is only compounded when we’re talking about people who are mismanaging their money.
      I know I don’t have all the answers, but for both large and small businesses to ignore the reality that a good number of their own employees are wrestling with personal money management issues doesn’t seem to be a wise choice. for anyone. That’s why I contend that a company culture that screams, “we care about you!” is the best employment context to think about implementing any financial wellness program. If I have personal money management issues, and I know the people I work for really do care about me, then pure logic tells me that an executive team that really does cares about me might also recognize the sensitivity of the situation, and would therefore approach offering financial wellness to its employees with this “sensitivity” in mind. Or perhaps the executive team would seek out a financial wellness program that was designed specifically for the workplace with this “embarrassment factor” in mind. Either way, financial wellness won’t really work in the marketplace unless employers really do care about their employees.
      All I know is that ignoring the level of financial sickness that exists in the workplace is not the solution. As someone with a pastoral background, I think one of the worse aspects of sin is the feeling that we get when we think that we’re the only ones dealing with “this particular sin” or “that particular sin.” In reality, people everywhere are dealing with the same junk. I believe it is much the same when it comes to financial sickness; more people than we realize are dealing with this. And one of the great things about a good financial wellness program is that it has benefits for everyone. Like you and your husband, my wife and I went through Financial Peace University debt free (except for the mortgage on our home). And I was shocked at how beneficial this program was for us, even though we were not riddled with debt. 
      I know that bridging this “embarrassment factor” is something all employers and all financial wellness curriculum must address and approach accordingly, but I refuse to believe that this one fact would prevent so many people in the workplace from getting the hope they need. I should stop here, huh? 🙂

      1.  @rlawrencejr We are in the middle of our worst ever financial situation.  Embarrassed and ashamed and near defeat are good adjectives for me these days. My company – is doing very well. It’s profitable and it works. The problem is me. Our family’s personal financial sickness is what has been damaging everything. We’re just making enough to keep our head above water, and that’s with frequent sinking, and clawing above water again. 
        There are a few big external factors playing with us right now to add to that, but the root cause is the person in the mirror. 
        Financial wellness is something we long for. We’re actually saving (trying to) to be able to start FPU in Spanish. Our goal: do it with our family, and offer it to our team and neighbors. 
        My question that first popped into my head as I read this post: how to make this whole financial wellness work when YOU are the one responsible for punching holes in your own ship? Get me? We are struggling – the business is not. 
        I have often heard how companies share their financials with their team. Would you share what I just shared with your team? Would that help or hinder – to know that the company you work for is working…but the owners take every last cent of profit to try and stay alive. 
        We are working as best as we know how to bring in new clients. We’ve cut off everything that is not vital in our personal budget – lifestyle is no longer the issue. Credit cards are banned. But we just have a huge mess to clean up. The shovel is too small – and that’s what we’re trying to fix. 
        I think I’m going all over the place as I write…but you guys have become a valuable part of…how I’m learning to be a better person and leader. What would you guys do in my boots? I hope I haven’t lost you with my scattered thoughts…but that’s just where I am today. 
        Thank you for reading..and thank you for your help. 

        1.  @Aaron Nelson Aaron, Sharing the way you have takes tremendous courage. I applaud you for that. Recognizing that the financial path that you were on is the wrong path, and that your behaviors must change, is a step in the right direction!
          I imagine you must sometimes feel like things may never change; and if you ever do feel this way, then you don’t have to look any further than at the financial situation that Dave Ramsey experienced and overcame. Look at him now!
          I suspect Chris could give you more advice than me, but I would start with getting a copy of Dave’s book “Financial Peace,” and then digging into baby-step number one. If you need me to send you a book, then just follow me on Twitter, DM me your mailing address, and I get a copy in the mail. Then, as soon as you can, you and your wife (this needs to be a joint effort) need to try and get into a Financial Peace University group. The support of others who are tackling these same principles while you are is invaluable.
          When you’re finally through this mess, which will eventually come, you’ll be in that much better of a position to understand others who face personal financial turmoil, whether these people are your employees or not.
          Again, I appreciate your transparency Aaron.  Hang in there.

        2. @rlawrencejr @Aaron Nelson That’s exactly right! I’ve been where you are Aaron! It’s not easy, but you asked what you should do…you are doing it. Continue openning your heart and seeking guidance and wisdom from people you know have good intentions. I’m guessing that most people who aren’t able to dig out are the ones who stop trying!

          Just remember that you don’t have to open your checking to your employees to show them that you are working on your fincancial health. Just admitting that you are changing and learning is a very humble thing to do. Be humbly courageous my friend! We are here to help anytime!

        3.  @Aaron Nelson  @rlawrencejr Aaron, it breaks my heart to read your story. I went through some messy times with my family growing up.  My dad survived very tough economic times that hit the whole economy back in the early 90s and it was never easy. I can tell you as a daughter that I learned from his mistakes (therefore I’ve made it a point to be debt-free) but my love and admiration for him were never related to his financial situation. I thanked him for being a good provider.  You will get through and I will keep you in my prayers. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.  God bless.

        4.  @rlawrencejr thank you so very much for your kind words. Yes, today was a day where I was feeling like I may never get out from under this. I’m normally a very optimistic and hope filled person – but this week for some reason has taken its toll. 
          We have the Total Money Makeover book – I don’t know if there is a difference – and I truly thank you for being so kind to offer that help. I really appreciate it. We live in Mexico City, so I don’t know if there are any FPU groups around. That’s something we want to start, because we seem to be surrounded by people who are hurting financially just like us. A big ministry opportunity, that’s for sure. 
          The support of others is what I feel I need the most. There are days where it just feels like you say above – that I’m the only one walking with this….and there are days where I just don’t know what to do to pull out. 
          And thank you for the hope, man. I do, deep down inside, know that there will be a day when we’re on the other side of this, and I am excited about helping others to fight there way through to the other side too. 
          Thank you for your kind support! I will be looking for you on Twitter! 

        5.  @selfemployedbob Thank you so much for your support.  I WILL NOT GIVE UP! And I will continue to take in and seek the amazing advice and support this group has been offering. 
          Re: opening our checking situation to our team – your ideas sound like good advice, and I will be humbly courageous. (I like that line.)  
          Thank you again for reaching out – it means so much!

        6.  @lilykreitinger  Thank you for sharing about your Dad. I’ve heard so many horror stories of when the peso crashed, and how many people that financial meltdown hurt. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to live through it. 
          I know I am learning my lesson about debt through all this. Never again. Period. And I think my wife is also coming to the same conviction. Even the worst times can be used by God for our good. 
          I sure do appreciate your prayers. A miracle is what will save us – and hard work. Thank you for praying! I totally appreciate that, and God bless you too 🙂 

        7.  @Aaron Nelson  @rlawrencejr I wanted to add that I appreciate your honesty and I can’t think of a better group of people than these to encourage and point you in the right direction.  Also – If there is a Financial Peace University class you could join – it would help tremendously.   I will be praying that God gives you wisdom in every decision.  

      1.  @Skropp  @lilykreitinger It IS a great benefit to offer the team.  When I helped with the Dave Ramsey personal counseling for them – it was unbelievable their reaction.  I never could have known the impact it would make.

    3.  @lilykreitinger
       “A team that is financially literate won’t expect the “boss” to take care of them in every aspect” — That’s absolutely true Lily. But, this normally do happen in unorganized sector in my country.

    4.  @lilykreitinger Good points, Lily.  When I had someone come to speak my team – it was on “wealth building” which would suit anyone.  And of course, they were going to meet with a Dave Ramsey advisor -not me!  So, the details of their finances were not disclosed to me – but to her.  Some chose not to participate – but the majority did and have loved it.

  6. I was just thinking, all those who scream about evil, heartless capitalists ought to read this post and all the comments… Not exactly the picture they try to paint, haha

  7. Agreed Lawrence! I have seen many older people who are nearing retirement come to me to clear about their doubt on basic financial plans. Many times, they get into punishing schemes out of ignorance. I believe that financial literacy goes a long way in enhancing employee happiness.

    1.  @uma_maheswaran I totally agree…financial literacy does go a long way toward enhancing employee happiness. Great insights.

  8. I agree totally, Robert!  Last December as a part of my gift to my team – I had a Dave Ramsey financial counselor come in and speak to them as a group.  After that, I agreed to cover 1/2 the cost for each of them to receive personal financial counseling for their families.  Of the 16 employees I made the offer to – 10 took me up!  It is making a difference I never thought it would.  What a blessing to help my team build wealth through financial peace! 

    1.  @LouiseThaxton What a great testimony Louise! I only wish more business leaders could foresee the positive results that teaching financial wellness could have in the lives of their team members and in their companies as a whole. Thanks for posting.

      1.  @rlawrencejr Just keep sounding the message – most leaders really don’t “get it”.  But the truth is – a financially sound employee is a GREAT employee.  And when we really want what’s best for the people on our team – it is natural that it would be financial freedom.

    1. I’d be interested in hearing about what kind of expectations the feedback reveals. Best wishes with this seminar!

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