Fi­nan­cial fit­ness is the secret sauce for Orig­i­nal Rudy’s Coun­try Store and Bar-B-Q

Employee Benefit News - - CONTENTS - BY PAULA AVEN GLADYCH

With the help of SmartDol­lar, em­ploy­ees have paid off $522,000 in debt and saved $568,000 over two years.

TEX­ANS TAKE their bar­be­cue se­ri­ously, and The Orig­i­nal Rudy’s Coun­try Store and Bar-B-Q takes the fi­nan­cial wel­fare of its em­ploy­ees se­ri­ously. The 27-year-old busi­ness, with three lo­ca­tions in San An­to­nio, wanted to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of its 134 em­ploy­ees and their fi­nances.

Two years ago, the restau­rant’s pres­i­dent, Mike Barker, started of­fer­ing Dave Ram­sey’s SmartDol­lar pro­gram, a fi­nan­cial wellness pro­gram that helps peo­ple learn the ba­sics of money, in­clud­ing how to bud­get, how to set aside funds in an emer­gency ac­count and how to pay down debt.

“We de­cided to of­fer this pro­gram to help them fig­ure out where their money is go­ing; help them make a bud­get,” says San­dra Devol, Rudy’s hu­man re­sources di­rec­tor. “Most of our team mem­bers didn’t know how to make a bud­get. They were liv­ing pay­check to pay­check. They had pay­day loans. We paid a great wage so there was no rea­son they were still liv­ing that way. We wanted to ed­u­cate them.”

Many of Rudy’s em­ploy­ees have been with the com­pany for 14 years or longer, and they all make an hourly wage, which makes fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and ed­u­ca­tion all the more im­por­tant. In fact, Rudy’s took the SmartDol­lar pro­gram one step fur­ther than most com­pa­nies that of­fer it — Rudy’s makes it manda­tory for all em­ploy­ees to par­tic­i­pate, which means it has nearly 100% par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pro­gram.

The pro­gram was not well re­ceived at first, Devol says, be­cause peo­ple have a hard time talk­ing about their fi­nances, but as the pro­gram pro­gressed she has seen a big dif­fer­ence in em­ploy­ees’ fi­nan­cial be­hav­iors. It is all about tak­ing baby steps to make a dif­fer­ence over­all.

Dave Ram­sey’s seven baby steps are: get a $1,000 be­gin­ner emer­gency fund; pay off all debt ex­cept for your home; build your emer­gency fund up to three to six months of ex­penses; in­vest 15% of your house­hold in­come into Roth IRAs and pre-tax re­tire­ment plans; start a col­lege fund for your kids; pay off your home early; build wealth and give.

When Rudy’s first rolled out the pro­gram, the com­pany’s owner raf­fled off $1,000, which would be split be­tween four of the restau­rant’s team mem­bers who were ac­tively par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram by bud­get­ing or ac­tively pay­ing down their debt.

The com­pany of­fers other in­cen­tives through­out the year to keep em­ploy­ees in­ter­ested and on track, she says. It of­fers back to school cash to help peo­ple buy clothes or sup­plies for school, cash for Christ­mas and schol­ar­ships “so they know that if they’re en­gaged in this pro­gram they’ll get more hours and money from the com­pany,” Devol says.

So how suc­cess­ful has the pro­gram been?

The 127 Rudy’s em­ploy­ees who have en­gaged in the SmartDol­lar pro­gram have paid off $522,000 in debt and saved $568,000 over two years.

Plus, em­ploy­ees have started open­ing up about their per­sonal fi­nan­cial is­sues as part of the pro­gram. “[Em­ploy­ees] are more open to dis­cuss where they are at with each other and with the com­pany... There’s no judg­ment,” she says. “We want to serve them be­cause it is part of our core val­ues.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.