A rebel without applause: 5 top tips when choosing your financial education partner

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word rebel is ‘a person who rises in opposition or armed resistance against an established government or leader’.

I can’t really call myself a rebel; there are no guns available in financial wellbeing (thankfully), nor do I need to take on any dysfunctional leaders. I do, however, like the idea of doing things differently and challenging established ways of doing things. That makes me feel a little bit rebellious, even if I may not often be thanked or applauded for it.

Here are my five top tips regarding delivering effective and engaging educational content as part of a financial wellbeing educational programme:

    1. Everyone counts or nobody counts

Fans of crime fiction writer, Michael Connolly, will know I have stolen this line from rugged LA detective Harry Bosch. He is referring to victims of crime, of course, but I can’t help thinking the words also apply in the workplace – financial education should be available to every employee. The industry is poorly served by advisory firms who are only interested in the high net worth elite in the top 5% of businesses, and employers will quite correctly not want this as an outcome.

2. Hello Wembley!

It is vital that your financial wellbeing audience is known by the course designers and those responsible for delivery. Bespoke course design is a must; there is no point engaging a group of attendees on the power of pension freedoms, if more than 50% of the audience are overseas employees. Knowing your audience allows a healthy debate about what to do with pensions if you move abroad, as an example.

3. It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it  

One of earliest artist mash ups (and perhaps worst, as it killed off the amazing Specials) was Fun Boy Three and Bananarama. The title lyrics are very apt though. Awesome slide decks used to be the only concern in planning to run a session within a workplace. However, the skill involved in delivery and the enthusiasm for the subject matter are often overlooked. Good presenters are rare, so ensure that your provider in this space has the right people to match the message.

4. Turn it up to 11

In rock language, this would get the ears bleeding with a huge feedback wailing noise – but in financial education, feedback is imperative. Without it, the employer has no idea how the courses were received and what areas may need developmental tweaks. Get this right by ensuring the feedback requirement from the attendees is simple, tick-based and can be completed in approximately 60 seconds.

5. No thanks, I’m sweet enough

This doesn’t apply in financial education delivery. Jelly beans are for example hugely popular! It breaks the ice, gives a simple freebie to every attendee (‘my kids will love these’) and offers a sugar boost halfway through a 45 minute session.

Your financial education partner should be passionate about helping every employee, be happy to exhort the values of the existing employer or provider platform, positively encourage free self-fulfilment via the web and other electronic tools, and still embrace that enduring desire by many employees to talk to a human being.

My rebellious side may not always be popular, but believing you are doing the right thing counts for everything. I firmly believe we currently have an excellent opportunity to unify different generations in their financial adeptness, but only if it is an offering where everyone counts.


‘This article was first published with REBA on 24 November 2016’



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