“According to a recent study, 78 percent of full-time U.S. workers are living paycheck to paycheck and 71 percent said they are now in debt. Leading HR software provider BambooHR strongly believes that having good financial health is critical for its employees to not only live a less stressful life, but to help them do great work while on the clock. To ensure that its employees have access to the tools needed to be financially healthy, BambooHR provides a unique benefit: paying its employees to enroll in a financial education class.
As part of the program, BambooHR will pay for its employees to take a nine-week program (one class per week) that educates attendees on how to be financially savvy—the company covers the fee for the course and pays employees $100 upon completion. BambooHR has been offering this benefit since 2013 and nearly 100 BambooHR employees have taken advantage of it.
Current BambooHR employees who are graduates of the program have paid off more than $750,000 of debt and saved more than $650,000 in total.”
Today, we are joined by Cassie Whitlock, Director of HR at BambooHR, to discuss how the company keeps its workers happy and feeling financially secure.
HR Daily Advisor: Financial insecurity is clearly a large issue for many employees. I read in a study that 78% of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck, and 71% said they are in debt. How does Bamboo approach this issue?
Whitlock: At BambooHR, we have five pillars of well-being that guide our benefit offerings. One of our pillars, “Financial Fitness,” focuses on helping employees achieve personal financial goals. Our purpose statement for this pillar states, “Financial Fitness is more than simply making money; it is about providing education and opportunities to help employees make good financial decisions and setting their money to work.”
HR Daily Advisor: I have heard that Bamboo pays its employees to go to a class that teaches them financial skills. Can you tell me more about that?
Whitlock: We encourage all employees to participate in our FPU benefit. Financial Peace University (FPU) is a Dave Ramsey education course. The course gathers attendees one night a week for an hour and a half for 9 weeks. Videos guide class discussions and activities, and attendees learn to “get rid of debt, manage [their] money, spend and save wisely, and much more!” Employees can go online to find the most convenient class for them or join a class taught by one of our own Bambooligans. Employees are also encouraged to attend the course with a spouse or financial accountability partner.
Upon graduating from the program, employees meet for 15 minutes with our HR Director to share their experience with the program. We reimburse the employees for the course fee, and during an all-hands company meeting, our CFO presents graduates with a crisp $100 bill.
HR Daily Advisor: Has it been a popular benefit?
Whitlock: You might think that this benefit only helps employees facing financial hardships, but FPU is one of our most popular programs. We’ve had over 125 employees complete the 9-week course.
HR Daily Advisor: How successful has the program been?
Whitlock: The most rewarding aspect of this benefit is the life-changing decisions employees make with their finances after taking the program. Employees have told us this program has saved their marriage because they finally understood how to talk about money and make good decisions together. Last year, we asked employees to share their success with us, and they reported over $1,400,000 of debt paid off or savings created since graduating from the program.
HR Daily Advisor: Does Bamboo do anything else to help its employees stay financially well?
Whitlock: We believe education is the most important step for financial wellness. We offer a 401(k) plan with a generous 6% match. Because we believe education is so important, BambooHR has 401(k) advisers who provide in-depth financial planning to employees, in addition to retirement planning education. The advisers also come on-site monthly to meet with employees to help them set up their 401(k)s and answer any questions that they have. We have frequent lunch-n-learns, where the advisers will come and present on different financial topics.
With our health plans, we offer both an HSA with a match and an FSA option. We have analyzed deduction and out-of-pocket data from our employee utilization to design meaningful health plans that provide quality choices while maximizing the benefit for dollars spent and minimizing dollars wasted in unused benefits.
In tomorrow’s Advisor we’ll look at the rest of the interview where Bamboo talks about how they pay their employees to go on vacation.
Cassie Whitlock is the HR Director at Bamboo HR.