Workplace Financial Education Hear Financial Education & Literacy Adviser’s (FELA’s) President and CEO Blake Allison answer questions regarding financial education in the workplace, and how it can be used to drive employee engagement. The interview was part of a thought leadership series hosted by Friends Life (www.friendslife.com) and Aviva (www.aviva.com) in the UK. Blake’s experience in the field offers a compelling insights into the need for holistic approaches for financial education that can deliver meaningful and measurable outcomes for clients and employees, alike.

Who are you, and what do you do?
Financial Education & Literacy Advisors (FELA) is a leading provider of financial education services and educational technology solutions. We are experts in the field of consumer education and engagement. We develop programs for organizations that inform, engage, motivate, and empower consumers. We seek to improve the financial health and capability of each individual who participates in our programs.

How is auto-enrollment in retirement plans affecting participation in the short and long-term?
Engaging employees in their participation in retirement savings programs is a multi-fold issues that cannot be simplified into the single-focused idea of saving more. Other areas of personal finance must first be addressed to reach the goal of better retirement savings.

Why does the focus on participation fail to improve individual retirement savings rates?
Participation is the most commonly used form of measure and validation regarding the efficacy of a particular program. While important, participation as a measure cannot reveal the engagement or the progress of those involved in the program.

How can financial education be the solution, and what does that look like?
Financial education allows for individuals to prioritize their financial objectives, which frees them to make the added investment into retirement savings or any other goal they may have.

How can you be sure that the users are utilizing and engaging in the financial education program?
Rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic, are the driving force within our programs to keep users tuned in. The data that is then collected through our proven approach measures both participation and individual engagement through progress reports and financial “scorecards.”

How can these financial education programs be sustained while keeping users engaged?
Leveraging the data we acquire through our program can help in designing more robust programs in the future that very specifically address the areas of need highlighted in the initial stages. We also focus on long-term behavioral change that we continue to measure with periodic assessments.

How is the data helpful from an educational approach?
The data acquired from our proven approach can help identify areas of need that can be addressed in several different ways. We can go on to unlock new educational material relevant to the user, require tasks or goals to be completed, or responsibly connect individuals to a specific product, service, or mentor. These capabilities allow for a personalized educational experience tailored to the user and driven by data.

How are financial education programs beneficial to the employer?
The Federal Reserve has estimated that employees spend an average of 20 hours per month at work on personal financial issues, which costs employers more than $5,000 per year per employee. Let’s change that.