Shane Robson-Smith, Head Coach and Founder, Workplace Money Coach, Inc.Shane Robson-Smith, Head Coach and Founder
We are all vulnerable to financial emergencies, but not everyone has the available savings or resources to deal with unexpected expenses. Today, more and more employees are being afflicted by financial stress and are susceptible to short-term financial shocks with resulting stress and distraction. Many employees are either living paycheck to paycheck or have already depleted their savings to get by with minimum wages. Given the worsening and costly state of low financial wellbeing, employers have an opportunity to help employees navigate their financial issues and, most notably, meet emergencies.

This is where Workplace Money Coach is moving the needle by empowering companies and their workforce with its premium financial empowerment program so that they break free of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. Workplace Money Coach’s live workshop series combines education, interactive discussions, and thought-provoking activities to help employees overcome financial hurdles that stand in the way of reaching their financial goals.

In an interview with the editorial team of Manage HR, Shane Robson-Smith, Head Coach and Founder of Workplace Money Coach, discusses at length how his company’s Living Paycheck to Purpose financial empowerment program can help employers teach their workforce to realize their personal financial goals and devise the right savings strategies to get through tough times.

Can you provide a brief background of your company?

We started out seven years ago conducting financial wellness workshops and providing financial coaching to employees in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Today, we have evolved and grown into a network of financial coaches across the country that facilitates our Living Paycheck to Purpose program that we have created. Through our program, our coaches partner with a client to deliver financial education services and continual coaching to them. We serve companies of all sizes, from small private companies to municipalities that have over 4,000 employees.

What are the pain points companies face today, and how does Workplace Money Coach solve them?

Over the years, studies have revealed that personal finance is a leading cause of stress among employees. Our role as a financial wellness provider is to help employees get on the path to reaching the financial goals that they set for themselves. This is what we call “aligning your paycheck with your purpose and values.” When an employee achieves this, they become financially fit, gain financial confidence, and mitigate stress in their lives.

A large number of employees exhaust their 401(k) or retirement savings to pay for unexpected expenditures that come up. Using retirement savings as an emergency fund has a devastating effect on an employee’s ability to retire the way they envision. We focus on cash flow management and teach employees strategies they can use to free up a portion of their paycheck to build an emergency savings fund.

Finally, we observe employees job-hopping because another company pays a few more dollars an hour or a little more in salary. These employees are leaving companies that provide incredible growth opportunities, benefit plans, and support a healthy work culture, but these employees are fixed solely on the higher dollar-per-hour or the paycheck. Consequently, companies have to rehire and retrain employees and this is both time and cost intensive. We coach employees to help them understand that their paycheck is not at the core of the problem; that there are other issues at play here and that job stability is their best ally on their financial life journey. In doing so, we help employers retain talent and reduce costs significantly.

Could you shed light on the educational programs and services you offer?

Our primary service is the Living Paycheck to Purpose program, which is delivered by a trained facilitator live or by webinar. The program consists of four 1-hour classes that take employees through a financial coaching process of clarifying their life goals, creating a plan, managing cash-flow and establishing good money habits. We are unique because we don’t merely lecture employees in front of a PowerPoint presentation. Instead, our facilitators walk employees through the action steps and activities that our program entails. Our program is highly distinctive because we focus on each individual employee’s perception of financial success as their guiding light and motivation for improving their money management skills and habits.

Our role as a financial wellness provider is to help employees get on the path to reaching the financial goals that they’ve set for themselves

In 2021, we launched a new workshop series called Financial Wellness 2.0: Advanced Class on Building Wealth. We believe this program to be a first of its kind in workplace wellness that aims to help employees that are financially fit take their financial life to the next level.

We are huge advocates of employer-paid financial coaching in the workplace. Over the last decade, we have observed that companies have broken the mold and brought in health coaches to help employees one-on-one with their health initiatives. We think the same idea can be extremely effective for employees regarding their financial wellness. We urge employers to add financial coaching to their financial wellness offerings to compliment other initiatives they have in place.

Could you cite a customer success story?

Several years ago, one of our clients, a small family-owned company, approached us when their employees were struggling with stagnant wages. The owner of the company had recently overcome some personal financial struggles and realized the importance that good money management had on his overall health and well-being. The company wanted to focus on maintaining a positive employee culture and preserving the family dynamics within the organization. In this pursuit, they brought us in to empower their entire team with our financial wellness program. We helped them retain all their employees, helped keep their company on track, and foster a motivated and positive workforce.

What, according to you, keeps you ahead of the market competition?

What differentiates us is that while today employers are shifting toward more technology-focused, web-based financial wellness solutions, we have decided to stay old-school in our approach. We want our coaches to create lasting partnerships with clients that resonate with our message, appreciate our unique approach of offering the program at their workplace, and share our vision of being an ongoing resource for employees to realize their financial goals. We are not competing with other companies and anybody in the financial wellness space helping employees with their financial wellbeing is a partner of ours. In many scenarios, we have found that our Living Paycheck to Purpose program is one of many options that companies offer their employees so that they can benefit from a custom fit financial wellbeing program, and we are glad to be of service.

How do you envision the future?

We always look to grow and attract new financial coaches that will deliver our program in different workplaces across the country so we can work with more employees to improve their financial wellbeing. Also, we aim to enhance the experience for employees when they embark on our financial wellbeing programming. To this end, we continuously collect client and employee feedback and testimonials and work with coaching facilitators to enable the most dynamic conversations and activities that drive behavioral change around money. Finally, we believe that financial wellness will continue to be a key driver of cultural change within organizations as employees feel more content and inspired to do what they do when it gives them the opportunity to live the life they always envisioned for themselves.