The Workplace Bank: Core to Employee Wellness Strategy
STORY INLINE POST
An effective way to improve the financial health of millions of Mexicans is for companies to provide financial solutions as part of their employee wellness strategy. Such an offering – in effect, a workplace bank – would result in more attractive products for employees than those offered by an external bank or financial institution.
For your company to cover your banking needs is somewhat natural. After all, it is the provider of the engine of your financial life – your income. A strong trust agreement already exists; you know you will be compensated for your work as per your employment contract, and you are comfortable providing your personal data.
It is hard for a bank to match the level of closeness and access that you have with your employer. You can easily access information through the company’s internal communication channels or simply walk into the HR office. The other customers are your colleagues rather than other anonymous users. A watercooler conversation can resolve your questions about a specific product. You partied with your HR leaders at a company event, an unlikely experience with your bank manager.
Most importantly, there is a strong alignment between the employer and its employees that simply does not exist in the bank-customer relationship. Your employer knows that if you are financially healthier and more financially educated, you will be a better worker. You will stick around, reducing the company’s employee turnover levels. You will be more productive, as you will not be spending working hours worrying or trying to solve your financial problems. You will be less stressed and more engaged with the company culture. This win-win allows for employers to offer more financial products that do not look to monetize their workers, as they will be benefiting from improved employee retention and productivity. Neither of these generate value for banks. In other words, the workplace bank is a company investing in its employees’ wellness, rather than looking to generate a profit.
Another powerful aspect of the workplace bank is that it strengthens employees’ sense of belonging and community in the company’s culture. For example, it can help employees who need loans to get lower interest rates than those available in the market. And at the same time, it can offer higher returns to those employees who want to save because it is not looking to maximize spread and profit. Not only are you incentivized to save but it has the additional benefit that you are helping your workmates get access to cheaper loans.
Employers can build their own workplace banks or use third-party technology, which can be white-labeled and embedded into the existing benefits app or portals. The financial solutions in the workplace bank should be connected to other wellness benefits, given the inter-connectedness of financial, physical and mental health, and the holistic nature of wellness. The workplace bank will become a key part of employee financial wellness strategies, resulting in stronger employee-employer relationships, more engaged and happy employees and a much-needed improvement of financial health in society.
Nima Pourshasb is CEO and co-Founder of minu. He has extensive entrepreneurial experience creating and growing technology companies in Latin America. He built his first company for Latin American consumers with operations in six countries in the region. In Mexico, he was the Head of Retail Banking at Banco Sabadell. He was born in Iran, grew up in Spain, and has a Master’s in Engineering from Imperial College and an MBA from Harvard. Follow him on LinkedIn and/or Twitter. The opinions published in this column belong exclusively to the author.