Financial wellbeing is a recognised component of a best-in-class employee experience and benefits offering. If you think your organisation is falling behind in delivering support for a financially stressed workforce, it’s worth taking a closer look at what you already offer to see how it compares.
In the latest in their annual series of reports on financial wellness among the Australian workforce, AMP found 42% of employees say their finances have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 . According to the report, this heightened concern about money is expected to cost businesses $30.9 billion through both absenteeism and presenteeism. So how can employers address this source of stress for their employees in the interest of their individual wellbeing, and the organisation as a whole?
Hiding in plain sight
In recent research, Maxxia explored employers’ priorities and concerns for enhancing financial education and support for their workforce. This revealed some perceived barriers to taking up new initiatives in this space. When considering what employees are likely to value, in areas such as ‘achieving your financial goals’, employers are hesitant to provide something that could be seen as financial advice. It’s risks like these, as well as the resources needed to get new programs off the ground, that can deter employers from offering such services.
But support for financial wellbeing in the workplace can come in many other guises. For employers who offer a standard suite of employee benefits, it may be the case that you already provide some form of financial wellbeing initiative. Education on super, salary packaging options and Employee Assistance Programs can all contribute to improving financial wellbeing among employees. It’s just that, historically speaking, they haven’t been badged or categorised as such.
With the added financial stress and uncertainty coming from the pandemic, it’s a good time to highlight the value of these services to your employees and their wellbeing:
1. Call out current financial wellbeing activities
Start with a simple acknowledgement of the financial wellbeing component of your existing benefits and programs. When communicating to employees and new hires about super education programs or salary packaging, make it clear that these are opportunities to improve their financial wellbeing as a result.
2. Audit existing programs for effectiveness
Now may seem like a good time to expand your benefits offering to focus more on financial wellbeing, and your employees’ mental health in general. In their 2020 Employee Benefits Trends Study, Metlife Australia found that 38% of employers have increased employee benefits offered as a result of COVID-19. But before exploring what to add to your benefits program, it’s worth investigating what is and isn’t working across your current offering. Do you have figures to demonstrate participation rates and average dollar savings in PAYG tax for salary sacrificing, for example?
3. Be aware of best-practice standards
Measuring the impact of current activities that come under the financial wellbeing banner is the first step to understanding where you stand on the best-practice spectrum. Comparing program performance with others in your industry can give you some initial goals to work towards for your financial wellbeing activities.
As a premium provider of employees benefits to many organisations across Australia, Maxxia have seen the difference salary packaging can make to the overall financial wellbeing of employees. Not only can take up of salary packaging boost the potential net disposable income for employees, a best-practice program supported by effective communication can also strengthen your employee value proposition as a whole.
Maxxia can offer your organisation a full Benefits Assessment to measure the effectiveness of your current employee benefits offer. We can also put an estimated dollar figure to the potential savings and efficiencies from running the program and compare overall performance with best-practice for your industry.