Finances are the leading cause of employee stress, and it costs both employees and employers. While financial illiteracy can contribute to financial stress, it isn’t the only issue at play – and it’s not the root cause. In fact, research shows that one-size-fits-all financial education only correlates to a 0.1% in behavior change.
To improve employee financial health, financial education must be delivered in small, bite-sized chunks and coupled with personalized support that reduces friction and makes it easy for employees to make the right financial decisions.
That’s why we created Brightside Financial Care, the only model built to benefit employee financial health and employer ROI. Keep reading to learn more about how Financial Care works, and what makes it different from financial education.
What an employee experiences when they come to Brightside
Brightside Financial Care is a relationship-based model founded in behavioral science. When an employee takes advantage of their Brightside financial benefit, registration is fast and easy. They can connect with their Brightside Financial Assistant by secure chat using the Brightside app, or by phone. This Financial Assistant becomes their dedicated “go-to person” for all interactions with Brightside.
Financial Assistants work to establish trust and understand each employee’s unique financial situation and priorities, motivators, and barriers to overcome, with empathy and without judgment.
How Financial Care addresses root causes of poor financial health
Employees typically come to Brightside for specific financial needs, but Financial Assistants often learn about other serious life challenges they face in the process. These may include homelessness or housing and food insecurity, domestic abuse, legal woes, and mental health needs.
In these cases, Financial Assistants connect employees with additional resources like their EAP, and also collaborate with Brightside internal support teams to triage urgent situations.
Behind the scenes, Brightside team members work quickly to identify government and community resources that the employee may be able to use, such as housing and utility assistance programs, shelters, food pantries, diaper banks, child care, and legal aid. The Financial Assistant remains the sole point of contact for the employee and helps them connect with these resources as needed.
This holistic approach addresses the true root cause of many financial challenges and is part of what makes Financial Care different from any other financial wellness solution.
How Financial Assistants apply behavioral science to improve financial health
Financial education is not enough to convince a person to take action, especially if their financial needs are urgent and complex. Behavioral science proves that small steps in a positive direction (also known as a “nudge”) can help people take actions that may otherwise feel overwhelming or impossible. Financial Assistants use these “nudges” to encourage employees to move in a positive direction, in a way that feels feasible.
For example, a Financial Assistant may pose a question like: “How would it feel if you took $5 from each paycheck and put it into savings?” This simple approach can transform an employee who has never thought they could save, into a “saver.” The employee starts to take more small steps toward another positive financial action, which can snowball into bigger and bigger wins.
Now there’s hope. The employee has a feeling of control over their actions and circumstances, and a path forward. Eventually, they’re no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Taking those steps with their Financial Assistant by their side helps employees form new positive financial habits that improve their financial health.
The role of unbiased products and technology in Financial Care
Employees are encouraged to connect their credit report, bank accounts, and other information through the secure Brightside app when they begin working with their Financial Assistant.
Brightside’s proprietary rules engine then helps Financial Assistants leverage that data to quickly understand the employee’s financial picture. This enables them to provide employees with a relevant experience that reduces friction, removes barriers, and makes it easy for the employee to address their financial needs.
Brightside’s innovative product platform also includes a comprehensive suite of vetted financial solutions that employees cannot find on their own, including paycheck-linked loans that do not exclude employees based on credit score, a free spending account, and high-yield savings account. Brightside provides compassionate and confidential navigation to help employees understand their financial options. Brightside never profits from the options an employee chooses or the products they may decide to use.
While a loan may be appropriate for some financial needs, Financial Assistants try to connect employees with free resources first, whenever possible. Employees frequently think a loan is the only option; however, Financial Assistants often find that the employee actually qualifies for free resources that will offset their costs for food, utilities, housing assistance, child care, and similar necessities, which negates the need for a loan. This empowers employees to move forward on the financial health spectrum, instead of taking on debt.
Brightside Financial Assistants can also serve as the front door concierge to other benefits provided by the employer, including helping employees evaluate how making changes to existing benefits might impact their financial situation.
To learn more about Financial Care, click here.