Solano County’s Wellness Program is in a state of evolution. Wellness is more than just body and mind—financial issues are a source of stress for many people, regardless of age or situation. Whether it is buying a home, preparing for retirement, or thinking about wills/trusts, money issues can bring stress, and Solano County wants to be there for employees.
There was a controlled joy on the face of Solano County’s Risk Manager Sherri Adams as she described how the County added financial aspects to their Know Your Numbers wellness program. After attending the EIA’s Healthcare Symposium in 2016 where a speaker discussed the idea of financial wellness, Adams’ took that information back to the County and began to work with the Wellness Coordinator, Lyta Hamm, on how they could integrate financial topics and trainings into the existing Know Your Numbers wellness program. They were “changing the landscape of the wellness program” by thinking about aspects other than just health, Adams said.
Investing in Employees’ Futures
The addition of financial topics had a lot of involvement and buy in from management. At the launch, the CAO sent out a video message email to all employees announcing the newest aspects and encouraging people to get involved. Information on the County’s 457 deferred compensation program was also included to encourage employees to save early.
This top-down support helped the success of the program in general.
Know Your Numbers involved a diverse set of mediums for County employees to utilize. Lunch & Learns were held at multiple locations on topics from basic frugality to home buying. Employees could take part in a web-based digital challenge earning raffle opportunities for tracking financial wellness behaviors. Usage of the digital platform increased 25% through the challenge.
Overall Worker Health
The County partnered with community businesses such as Travis Credit Union and Solano First Federal Credit Union, partners that the County had a long standing relationship with. Personal finance classes were provided through their Employee Assistance Program provider MHN. Utilizing resources that were already available to the County was a simple way to start a new program, and they were able to avoid community members who were more interested in selling products than in educating the employees.
The only pitfalls that Adams could think of for this program was that it was too popular! People were very interested in learning ways to save, invest, plan for their future, and manage debt. The MHN trainings filled up so fast that they plan to add more of them next year. Some employees were hesitant to give up their lunch hours for Lunch & Learns, but most were very well received and filled up quickly. Trainings on financial wellness were so popular that Adams said the County is working on ways to integrate the topics into regular employee trainings.
And the program is only growing. The County plans to implement a 2.0 version in the New Year, playing on New Years’ resolutions and the tax session to get employees interested in financial wellness. A training day for employees is in development which will include both safety and wellness tracks.
“People are learning things that are beneficial,” Adams said. The County is investing in the person as a whole.
Solano County’s Know Your Numbers: Financial Wellness Program received the 2018 EAGLE Award for Innovation and Excellence in Development and Implementation of Risk Management Programs.