Delivery methods for your financial wellness program

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Your financial education program can be delivered in many different ways. Use the guidelines in this section to determine the best way to deliver your program and when to offer it.

Delivery channels to consider

Financial wellness programs can be offered through a variety of channels. Not everyone learns the same way and it is important to keep different learning styles in mind. Use the results of your employee needs assessment to identify your employees’ preferences.

The following are some delivery methods to consider:

In-person workshops

Benefits can include:

  • Easy to access for employees who work in the location where the program is being offered
  • Allows employees to learn directly from experts and ask questions
  • Can be more interactive and engaging for participants and result in better learning outcomes
  • Adult learners are more likely to engage with content if they can share personal experiences, ask questions and discuss concepts

Things to consider:

  • Employees may be unwilling to raise sensitive questions in a group settings, so the facilitator should be available to answer individual questions after the presentation.
  • The program may not be easy to access if employees are at multiple locations, work off-site or do shift work.

Tip: Use pre-registration

If you are offering an in-person session, have employees register and commit to it. Sometimes offering an incentive to attend helps (such as snacks or door prizes). You could even ask employees to submit questions in advance. This will help the presenter prepare for the session to ensure it meets participants’ expectations. 
Webinars

Benefits can include:

  • Cost effective way to reach a large number of employees in multiple locations
  • Good alternative when in-person workshops are not possible
  • Provides flexible delivery for both the employer and employees
  • Can be delivered as a live webinar where employees can learn directly, receive immediate replies to questions, and engage with the presenter
  • Can be recorded and made available at a later time for employees who couldn’t attend the live session or who want to refer to the material
  • Employees can take part as a group or individually  
  • Individual setting allows employees to watch the webinar anywhere and ask confidential question

Things to consider:

  • In a group setting, employees may be unwilling to raise sensitive questions, especially when they are unsure who else is participating
  • Requires a certain level of technology and technical expertise
  • If presented live, a moderator is needed to answer questions  
  • If it is pre-recorded, there is no interaction with the presenter
  • Participants may be less engaged and could be distracted by other things (such as checking email, taking phone calls)
  • Be sure to review and update the content must be reviewed and updated regularly
Digital content

Benefits can include:

  • Can be accessed anywhere and any time as long as there is internet access
  • Can be accessed through different media, such as online or through a mobile app  
  • May provide a personalized experience based on how employees answer the needs assessment questions
  • Good option for employees who prefer self-guided learning
  • Offers privacy for learning about sensitive topics
  • Reinforces learning by allowing employees to refer to topics as often as they like
  • Facilitates a “just in time” approach with regard to life events and other timely content
  • Can make use of existing, free web content
  • Offers opportunities for game playing and other ways to make learning fun
  • Changes and updates can usually be made quickly and easily
  • Feedback on the program can be easily collected

Things to consider:

  • No direct interaction or immediate opportunity to ask questions
  • Not easily accessible for employees who don’t work at a computer, have a smart phone or tablet, or who have limited internet access
  • Content must be reviewed and updated regularly
Paper-based content 

Benefits can include:

  • Offers privacy and self-guided learning
  • Cost-effective
  • No special equipment required
  • Portable and can be used anywhere at anytime

Things to consider:

  • No direct interaction or opportunities to ask questions
  • Can be static and sometimes less visually engaging
  • Not effective for all learners
  • Content must be reviewed and updated regularly
One-on-one counselling

Benefits can include:

  • Can be personalized to an individual’s needs
  • Can go into more depth on specific issues
  • Provides employees with direct access to a subject matter expert
  • Offers greater privacy than a group setting
  • Provides opportunity for follow-up
  • May already be available through existing employee assistance programs (EAPs) and not-for-profit organizations

Things to consider:

  • Can be costly
  • Logistics can be difficult (such as reaching a large number of employees in multiple locations)
  • Important to find a provider you can trust to offer objective, non-biased information
  • Important that the provider understands they need to coach and educate rather than advise 

When to offer your program

When to offer your financial wellness program can be just as important as the content and delivery. When looking at timing, consider the following questions:

  • Will the program be offered before work (if reaching people on multiple shifts), during work, at lunch or after work?
  • If offered during work hours, will employees be paid for attending? 

Tip: Work hours versus non-work hours

Offering time to access the program during work hours can not only increase participation but also help employees see that financial literacy is a priority. They will also recognize that you are making an investment in their well-being.

Helpful considerations

The following tips can help you meet the needs of different types of learners and increase the effectiveness of and participation in your financial wellness program:

Provide a mix of delivery channels and content

Not everyone learns the same way. Offer a mix of delivery channels and content to address different preferences and learning styles. For example, consider using a mix of self-serve tools (such as online course modules) and guided sessions (such as in-person workshops).  

Encourage active learning

Don’t just have participants read or listen to content. Provide them with the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities and experience-centred learning. This could be in the form of hand-outs, games, group discussions and case studies. Also allow time for the facilitator to answer individual questions during and after workshops.  

Make it accessible

If possible, provide flexibility so employees can access financial education at work, at home or whenever they want. This can ensure you reach more employees, especially in organizations with multiple locations or where there is shift work. Also make sure employees can access the education programs whenever they need them. 

Provide a takeaway 

Offer written materials (and an option to receive them electronically), as well as visual media, like videos or graphics. Interactive tools, such as websites, worksheets and calculators, also provide an engaging, hands-on approach to learning. 

Encourage sharing of personal stories 

Employees may be hesitant to share their personal experiences, especially if it exposes their financial problems in front of their peers, supervisor or staff. However, sharing personal stories can be incredibly valuable to the learning experience. Encourage the facilitator to share personal stories, case examples or anecdotes to set the stage. The program champion(s) or executive sponsor could also set the tone by sharing a personal story. This can help create a safe space for employees to learn and talk about money.

Show participants how to get help

Provide a handout or note in the course material with a contact number or another way to get help if employees are facing financial difficulties.

Provide incentives

To encourage participation, consider offering incentives. Research shows that incentives are a good way to change behaviour and increase uptake. See Make it fun with rewards and games.

Developing and delivering the program

You can develop and deliver your financial wellness program in-house or by using outside resources—or a mix of both. Determine the best approach for your organization based on your employee needs assessment, as well as your available budget and human resources.

Consider the following options:

Take advantage of free resources

Your organization may not have the knowledge, time or resources to develop and deliver a financial wellness program. Fortunately, there are free resources available, such as:

  • packaged financial well-being workshops that include facilitators who will come to your workplace
  • packaged financial well-being workshop materials that can be delivered by someone internally (most include a facilitator’s guide with tips on how to present the content)
  • self-paced web or printed resources you can share with employees

Refer to the Financial wellness resources for employers for more information. 

Explore opportunities to work with existing vendors and providers

If your organization works with third-party vendors, see if they offer financial wellness programs or materials. Some that may do this include:

  • employee assistance program (EAP) providers
  • group insurance plan providers  
  • retirement savings plans (record keepers)
  • pension and actuarial consultants

More and more, vendors and providers in these fields are offering employee financial wellness programs as part of their service offering. There may be costs associated with these services. 

Look outside your organization for help

Many financial literacy organizations offer financial wellness programs and education for the workplace that can fit all budgets. Some of these resources are free and others may have associated costs. These can include financial institutions and credit unions, financial advisors, specialized consultants, professional associations, not-for-profit or charitable organizations, accredited organizations and government. 

Use internal resources

Your organization may already have a learning and development group, wellness committee or human resources group that can help. They may be able to develop employee financial wellness initiatives. They may also be able to integrate them into existing education initiatives related to your wellness, benefits, pension or retirement savings plans. Also consider using internal professional and financial expertise such as chartered professional accountants. They may be able to help deliver financial wellness workshops and other initiatives within your organization.

Support the program internally

If you outsource the delivery of your financial wellness program, in-house program managers and champions are still critical to the program’s success. Don’t forget to factor them into your program’s strategy. 

Tip: Select an unbiased provider

There are many outside resources that you can use to develop and deliver your financial wellness program. When selecting an outside resource, make sure it is one you can trust, that is objective and unbiased, and not trying to sell a specific product or service. If employees perceive that someone is trying directly or indirectly to sell them something, it may alienate them.  Also be sure your provider selects or adapts their content according to your employees’ needs. Refer to Questions to ask when choosing a financial education vendor when considering using an outside resource.  

You’re almost ready to launch your financial wellness program. Don’t forget to develop a plan to promote it to your employees

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