Pawan Kalra, the CEO of Santa Monica, California-based cold-pressed juice brand Pressed Juicery, wanted to provide a financial wellness program with flexible features to accommodate his company’s diverse workforce.
The plan sponsor wanted the platform to address the needs of a wide range of the company’s 700 employees. It had to be robust, with bilingual resources on retirement, saving and investing for retail employees, factory workers, corporate employees and executives, Kalra says. Ultimately, Pressed decided to partner with benefits platform LearnLux on the program.
“For our teams, what’s been the most exciting is basically being able to have someone help them plan for different life events that they’re going through—whether it’s saving for a down payment, whether it’s how much to invest in a 401(k)—that part is really rewarding to our team,” he says.
But the financial wellness program doesn’t stop with retirement readiness resources.
The LearnLux platform also allows Pressed employees to receive personalized advice and to access resources and information on financial planning for major life events, such as buying a home, saving for college and choosing the best health care plan for their personal situation, Kalra explains.
Personalization is important for Pressed, particularly at the retail store level, because it is often the first job for many workers, who may be getting this type of help for the first time, he adds.
“At the store level, [the program has] really been about saving for college or a specific event in their life,” Kalra says.
He explains that 75% of the workforce is made up of “people of color [and], in our manufacturing locations, that number is 94%.” Women represent about 70% of the workforce in retail, he adds.
Other employees have used the platform’s savings, debt and credit management to help them better plan their finances, he says.
“Our teams have enjoyed basically being able to have an open dialogue and discussion with someone,” Kalra says.
Pressed made the interactive platform available to its workforce in December. Since then, it’s been encouraging employee engagement and asking employees to give suggestions on a company Slack channel for topics to cover in the future, he says.
Kalra and Pressed will assess the program’s engagement success at the end of the first quarter of this year, he says.
The platform will be measured by observing how many workers have scheduled financial planning sessions, accessed the site and used the content, as well as the amount of time they spent engaging with the platform and how many employees attend information sessions, Kalra says.
Navigating benefits can be a challenge for employees, which is why Kalra was inspired to launch a comprehensive suite of financial wellness programming, he says.
“It’s probably uncommon for the CEO to take such a lead role in finding the solution and solving for it,” he says. “But I’m an ex-CFO [chief financial officer], so this is a topic that, for me, is very near and dear, where I’ve benefited from having access to information and understanding it intimately.”
Going through the company resources, Kalra found the plan sponsor was lacking answers about financial wellness.
“It dawned on me, this information is not available to an employee,” he says. “It’s also not well covered as you’re coming up in college and high school.”
Providing a wellness benefit that can be adaptable to a large and diverse employee base also benefits the company by helping to alleviating employees’ financial anxieties, he says.
“Having employees that feel comfortable financially and mentally is a very important element of them basically feeling good about their well-being,” he explains.
Pressed employees have access to many tools within the LearnLux platform, including financial planning appointments with a Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
“What really stood out about the LearnLux platform is we can actually work with them in developing curated content that’s specific to Pressed,” Kalra says.
“The second is the Certified Financial Planners are having discussions on an individualized basis with our teams,” he adds. It also helps that the platform can work for employees who speak different languages. “I have 700 employees, of which 100 are based in central California and are predominantly Spanish-speaking,” Kalra notes.
The LearnLux platform is also interactive. It includes many different “touch points,” from which the plan sponsor can engage with employees and make even deeper in-roads into their personal situations, Kalra says.
“My expectation is not that you have to be in all of them, but that by just being in one of them it’s going to plant the seed that you want to learn more about this,” Kalra says. “Financial planning is a marathon, not a sprint.”