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5 tips to incorporate financial wellbeing into your workplace

Companies and businesses should consider five things in their workplaces today to encourage and promote financial wellness, says James McFarland, director of insurance and corporate employee benefits at advice firm Stanford Brown.

1. Incorporate financial wellness into your overall wellbeing strategy

Financial wellness is not part of your benefits strategy because it has as much impact on your employees lives as their mental and physical health does as well.

2. Understand the unique financial wellbeing needs of your workforce

Stanford Brown works with many different employees and many different industries – from manufacturing through to IT. Every single survey that we’ve run to analyse the needs of those staff has come up with different results. They’ve all got different risk factors and theyve all got different needs and wants. Its about understanding what they need and help define your benefits or education programs to meet those needs.

3. Deliver content across the full financial spectrum – not limited to superannuation and insurance

Historically, financial education in the workforce was once a year. It was your superannuation provider coming in and talking about super contributions, retirement and investments.

While that probably meets the needs of someone aged 55 and up and is ready or at least is preparing to retire, the rest of the workforce is more worried about the full financial spectrum.

If youre a 40-to-45 year-old in Sydney, youve got a million-dollar mortgage. Youve got cash flow that youre trying to manage. Youve got school fees youre trying to fund. Youre trying to not feel guilty because youve got to do some overtime because youre stuck at work with that project you’re finishing. Thats what we need to recognise. They are looking for more than just the standard education support thats been traditionally provided.

4. Make content and services accessible

This is probably the most important tip. I know it sounds obvious but youd be surprised. Its very rare I go into a workplace where this is working effectively. You can’t beat the interaction and the personal touch that comes with on-site presentations.

However, if that’s not a possibility, those presentations can be recorded. They can be replayed before hours, after hours or on weekends. Youve got to remember that the financial decision maker in your business may not be working in your business. They may not be the employer or employee. It may be their partner or their spouse or a significant other at home, but it’s affecting them just as much as anyone else.

Any program needs face-to-face interaction on a one-on-one basis, whether it be in person or by video conferencing. How comfortable would you be putting your hand up and sharing your financial stresses to the workplace? Because I wouldnt. Its almost like an EAP for finance in the workplace.

5. Review financial benefits and resources available to staff

You need to make sure that the benefits that support their overall financial program are fit for purpose. What do your employees want? What do they actually need? And then what can you actually prepare for them to meet those needs?

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