Enrich is on a mission to bring financial literacy to the workplace, helping companies improve the lives of their teams by reducing financial worry, one of the largest stressors around.
Enrich leverages the success of iGrad, a school-based platform for helping some 1.2 million students access better money management habits. iGrad’s platform has touched schools across the country, including the Ivy Leagues and large state schools such as The Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky. Enrich now uses its experience with an AFCPE award-winning financial literacy platform to help companies enhance the wellness of their teams by helping them navigate challenging financial decisions.
A Harris Interactive Poll found that 7 out of 10 workers say their most common stressor comes from personal finance. But when a study looked at employees who had used a financial advisor in some capacity, some 91% of workers found the intervention effective. Enrich helps reduce finance-related stress with broad-based and customizable tools, helping reduce or eliminate one of the most powerful stressors in today’s workplace.
In his tenure at the company, Rob LaBreche has overseen platforms that have reached millions of students over 200 campuses and, at Enrich Financial Wellness, over 250 businesses. We recently had a chance to speak with LaBreche, CEO of iGrad since 2009, to find out what makes the company tick:
Tell us a bit about Enrich.
Enrich is a financial wellness company. We find that more and more companies are realizing that financial wellness is a large stress factor in people’s lives. When as many as 25% of employees report distraction at work due to financial difficulties, it’s clear that something is wrong. With our iGrad platform, we knew how difficult it could be for students to navigate the financial world. Over time, we realized that financial stressors can have a dramatic impact on employee focus as well, and we set about a solution to help resolve those stressors.
Why focus on financial stressors in particular?
As Alan Greenspan once said, “the number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy.”
The American Psychological Association tells us that about 60% of all Americans report “money” as their primary cause of stress. When the majority of your stress comes from one area of your life, it’s clear we need to address something. And this stress results in symptoms of fatigue, irritability, low motivation–all of which manifest at the workplace.
Employers that want wellness for their employees have to leverage a financial literary platform to reduce financial stressors and get their employees feeling their best.
How did you discover this problem?
As CEO of iGrad, I really saw the problem of financial literacy manifesting early on in our education system. Our iGrad tool has now helped some 1.2 million students across the country get a better handle on their finances in adulthood. But over time, I learned that these problems had a dramatic impact on stress in the workplace, which results in lost money for employers.
In fact, the Gallup Business Journal reported that financial-related stress can cause some $28,800 in lost productivity through sick days. Those who reported high levels of well-being only cost some $840. The impact of finance on stress and productivity is hard to overstate.
How does Enrich solve the financial literacy problem?
The first step for us was to solve the information gap. Employees see a lot of ads out there that tell them how to deal with their money. Our tool informs and engages people about what might actually be the best way, which cuts through the noise. It also helps people work on habits, as even knowing the right thing to do with your money doesn’t always guarantee you’ll make that decision.
What challenges have you encountered along the way?
The first problem is that people didn’t have a trusted resource to go to. It was our duty to provide that, and we did that with the Enrich Financial Wellness Portal. The second problem is that money situations don’t change overnight. Good behavior over time is what leads to long-term results. That’s what many tools don’t address. Ours do.
We also realize that not everyone thinks that they have financial awareness issues. Some people need to work on budgeting, and others need more complex financial tools to address more subtle financial issues. We have to not only persuade people, but then get them engaged in the Enrich Financial Wellness process.
How have people responded to Enrich?
Both the user responses and employer responses have been fantastic. Employers understand the problems with stress-related lapses in productivity. They want their employees to be well. And while employees are less likely to take sick days when they’re not stressed, it’s not always about dollars and cents. Companies want to know that their employees are doing well.
From an employee standpoint, we’ve had good results in addressing different segments. Whether you’re a 22-year-old fresh out of college or a 50-year-old with a mortgage, Enrich Financial Wellness applies to you. We treat individuals with a customized approach that takes their specific needs and stressors into account.
Tell us about your relationship with Castlight.
Our partnership with Castlight has been really exciting. They understand that there are multiple facets of wellness, and they’re just as passionate about wellness as we are. The great thing about partnering with Castlight is that they know how to put the various pieces of the puzzle together, implementing a comprehensive tool that helps us fulfill our mission and deliver the best possible results for employers. It’s this synergy that makes it work for the end-user. Castlight’s doing a great job of helping us be a better company for our users.