State of Employee Financial Wellbeing: An opportunity for HR

This panel will discuss the first ever publication of the State of Employee Financial Wellbeing in Australia, sharing leading research into how employees are coping financially, what employers are doing to alleviate financial stress and what employees are looking for from a financial wellbeing program

With the cost of living rising and workers joining the Great Resignation, employees are increasingly looking to their employers to support their financial wellbeing. But are employers responding and what impact can effective financial wellbeing strategies have?

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Josh: [00:00:00] Good morning, everyone. I'll try that one more time. I believe we are live now. And thank you so much for everyone who's joined us this morning. Just before we jump in, I'd like to start off today by acknowledging the gadigal people of the nation, the traditional custodians of this land, and pay my respects to the elders, past, present and emerging. So a couple of little housekeeping pieces and then we will jump into introductions. But the team at HRD US said, if anyone has any questions, please pop them in the questions section, which you should be able to see. But if you can't see that, then just shout. And you may do so by asking a question. But if you can't find that, that might be good. But anyway, jumping into it. My name is Josh Vernon. I am one of the co founders and the chief exec at an organization called Wagestream, we're a charity backed financial well being platform. And I'll show I'm sure we'll jump into that topic a little bit later on. But just before that, I might hand over to Michael initially and then Amy, our other panelists introduce themselves. So Michael, over to you. 

Michael: [00:01:11] Hello, everyone, and thanks to for joining. My name's Michael Joyce. I'm coming to you from a country in Melbourne. I'm the acting head of a program called FIAP Financial Inclusion Action Plans, which is run by Good Shepherd. We are a charity in Australia focused on women and their children and families and with a specific focus on financial well being and financial inclusion. So we run a range of activities, including no interest loans, financial counseling, family violence support. But we also run a program called FIAP where we try and work with organizations right across different sectors banks, insurance companies, universities, fintechs, you name it, on what they can do to try and improve financial well being and financial inclusion for their customers, their staff, their community and supply chains. And in that context, we've been working with Wagestream on some research and findings, which we'll be talking about today. So thank you. 

Amy: [00:02:13] Thanks, Michael. Good morning, everybody. My name is Amy Watts, and I'm joining you from the language region this morning. I've got over 25 years of experience across the service delivery industry. Most of that is with global hotel operators. I would say that I have a pretty unconventional career. I started my career in labor management and quality improvement before moving into more traditional generalist HR leadership positions. I joined a core back in 2018 in Sydney before I moved into my current position as Vice president of Talent and Culture for the Apartments and Realty Business based here on the Gold Coast. Almost four years to the day. Today I oversee the people experience for about 120 25 hotels. We've got about 6000 team members in our business unit at the moment. And my responsibility spans Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii. For those of you who are not familiar with the core, where a really large hotel operator, we've got about 5000 hotels across the globe, we're present in about 110 countries. More locally down here in the Pacific where about 400 hotels. So we're the largest hotel operator in the Pacific. And you might be familiar with some of the brands that we operate under, such as Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Metro Peppers. And I could go on for the rest of the morning. 

Josh: [00:03:44] Awesome. Thank you so much both for those wonderful introductions. So maybe just to set the context before we jump in. Michael mentioned a piece of work that we've collectively been working on called the State of Employee Financial well being Report. And essentially, and I allow Michael to jump into this in a bit more detail, but it's one of the largest studies into how employees are feeling about their finances undertaken at a really important time when the cost of living has been increasing rapidly. I'm sure for everyone, every time you go fill up petrol or if you're lucky enough to move to EV, that hasn't happened recently for you, but the cost is just going up. Even if it's buying food from the grocer or wherever it might be. And this report is also coming at a really interesting time where talent shortages are rife across all industries. So a fascinating piece of research into one of the biggest challenges that employees are facing and hopefully gives employers some insight into what they can do to support and therefore better attract and retain staff. And then for broader context, which is an organization has been working with, we've got about 2 million employees on the platform at the moment and work with organizations like the core. So we're bringing both worlds together of the incredible financial inclusion side and hopefully the customer side to say how do we bridge those and ideally take the theoretical into practice. So without further ado, maybe we jump in. Maybe Michael, we can kick off with you. Are you able to give a little bit more context on what the State of Financial well being report is at the size and scale and maybe why FIAP and Good Shepherd were interested in getting involved? 

Michael: [00:05:29] Yeah, absolutely. It's something, you know, financial well being is something that has increasingly become measurable. We've got some really good tools to start to measure it and, and we've got population level reports run by organizations like ANZ and CBA that show us what's happening to the country as a whole. And there's lots of different trends. We see some particular groups women, single parents, the elderly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are really not benefiting to the same level as other people are. But we know when we work with FIAP, we work with a lot of organizations who've got thousands and thousands of employees and surely there must be a way to reach them. And we also know for our for the partners we work with, they're interested in look out looking after their own employees well being. So we wanted to try and get a picture of what's happening with their financial well being as part of that whole picture. And what we saw is there wasn't really much research that looks specifically at employees. So what we do, what we've done is tried to triangulate from a few different sources. We had some we talked to about 500 HR professionals to find out what their organizations were doing. We had a survey of around 1000 employees who are some specific questions, some in-depth interviews with a selection of around ten people to, you know, to sort of get some, some colour and anecdotes and details of what was happening. But I think most interestingly, we also use what's called the Roy Morgan single source data. So that's a research company that surveys about 50,000 people regularly to get a snapshot on all sorts of different things, and that does include questions about financial well being. We were able to use that to get a really detailed picture of what employees and employers thinking, feeling and experiencing in terms of the finances. 

Josh: [00:07:24] Fantastic. And I think we'll jump into all of that, itching to understand exactly what that looks like. But maybe before we do, Amy, you come from an employer's perspective, and we've had some interest in cats over time as to how financial has evolved within an organization. Not everyone has seen it as a priority, and I think those views perhaps have shifted throughout COVID. But from an employees perspective and maybe from a more specifically, has financial well being always been a priority? Is it becoming more of a priority over to give some color to that? 

Amy: [00:07:59] Yeah. What I would say, Josh, is we haven't always seen it as a priority and probably even beyond that, I'm not sure that traditionally it was really seen as an employer's responsibility, certainly beyond paying correctly and on time and potentially setting up an occasional super session to make sure that team members have that at the forefront of their minds. But, you know, our employee demographics largely depleted their savings during COVID, and they've shown really incredible resilience through the last couple of years with all of the changing working conditions and, you know, the things that we had to ask them to do as a business. And for us specifically at a core, we were we were really fortunate because as a business, we had access to what was known as our all hardest fund. And so that was a fund of dividends, which was actually diverted from the directors of our business to our team members, so that we had access to funds to help try and support those team members throughout the pandemic who found themselves in real severe financial difficulty. And reading some of the stories of our team members who were trying to access those funds was just truly heartbreaking. And since then, our view has become that we really need to contribute to the health and well being of our team members in more ways than we ever have before. And I really think that this is something that deserves our collective attention. The well being of our team members has always been at the forefront of what we do. But having seen now firsthand the devastating effects of a financial emergency on so many over the last few years has really heightened our attention to what well-being entails. And certainly going beyond just the mental and the physical health. 

Josh: [00:09:49] Yeah, and there is such an interconnected nature. I feel like we've been trying to bang a drum about that. And I think, Michael, you've probably been doing that for even longer, maybe from your side. Why do you think financial well being, like mental health and whether it's an ok Day or even physical well being, whether it's gym benefits, has always been a part of an employer's toolkit. And Amy, to your point, financial health may not have been why do you think that is the case, that it's been held back a little bit? 

Michael: [00:10:20] Look, it's talking about money is one of the biggest taboos we have in our Western society. You know, it's a real feeling. We're very reluctant to talk about it if we're reluctant to talk about it with our family and friends and bring it into the workplace is even harder. There's sort of there's often a feeling from employers that, well, it's our job to pay you. What happens after that? That's your problem. And it's a very old fashioned way of thinking that people are going to leave their problems at the door and have a life outside of work that doesn't interact with work. We know that's not the case. We know what happens in your personal life affects work life and vice versa. That includes finances. So something has to be done to to break down that taboos. Yeah. And I think. I'm sorry. Go ahead. 

Josh: [00:11:05] There you go. 

Michael: [00:11:06] Continue. And one other component of that taboo is there's often been a focus that when someone is financially struggling, people think it's their own fault. It's their fault. They think, well, you must have made some bad decisions. You've signed up for dodgy credit or buy now pay later. You're spending too much or you just don't know enough. And so we think, well, learn more, do some financial literacy, and that'll fix the problem. But look, over the last few years, it taught us anything. That's that's not the case. Things are outside of our control. Our resilience can be tested by external challenges. We need a lot more compassion than just being told to learn more and do better. We actually need more broader supports. 

Josh: [00:11:51] And on that point of compassion, maybe one for you, Amy, like when when we started chatting to a core, it was so clear that that hottest culture there wasn't deep, genuine care for employees within the organization. It's not we don't often see the same level of compassion. Sometimes there's an ivory tower type approach, or as you put it, Michael, perhaps a more old school approach to people managing their money. It might be hard to give advice on this, but Amy, if you were like you guys had an opportunity where the business got behind it and you got to see the benefits of financial well being, what would you do in an organization to try and build that compassion if it wasn't forced like it was in a core in that hardest fund situation? 

Amy: [00:12:38] Yeah, I think I mean, when you ask me that, Josh, I immediately go back to our hardest principles because for those of you who are not familiar with hardest, hardest is a course cultural program. It's researched, it's backed by science. It's not something that's just made up for our business. But it really speaks to what and how people want and how they interact. And principle number three is actually every person has a story. And so it's about knowing team members as individuals, asking questions. And then once you understand your individual team members story, then you're able to try and assist them as best as possible. 

Josh: [00:13:19] Yeah, love that. I'm going to take it in a one direction away from the individual. And maybe, Michael, can you give us some insight into the actual the findings of the report on a macro level, What what what's the reality for employees in Australia from a financial well being perspective? 

Michael: [00:13:38] Well, look, I think Amy mentioned that people's savings were run down during COVID, and that continues to be the case. We found that of the employees we surveyed, fewer than 50% were able to save anything regularly, and that's one of the cause of financial well being. Are you able to save So can you build those buffers that people need? And there's 30% of people are finding themselves regularly running out of money for food and everyday expenses and struggling to meet those commitments. So it's really high numbers of people who are in paid employment, but they're still struggling. They're not able to meet daily expenses. They're not able to save for immediate emergency expenses. And that definitely means they're not able to plan for the future. And those are sort of the key elements of well being, how you manage things now and in the future and people are struggling. I'd have to say also that the picture is worse for women and it's worse for younger employees. And paradoxically, the women actually save more often, but save less. That does reflect continuing inequalities in the workforce. Gender pay people who are more likely to work in casual workforces, whether it's by necessity or choice. But it does also show that there's a lot of cost pressures that are really impacting families, too. 

Josh: [00:15:00] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, does that align with when you're speaking to colleagues in the community or even experiencing it in your core as well? Because sometimes those I mean, you guys have that third principle of everyone's got a story, but sometimes those big amorphous figures of like 30% of people don't have enough money for food. Like, that's a shocking statistic, but hard to hard to feel it. Does that align with what you guys what you see? 

Amy: [00:15:27] Yeah, definitely. I would say it's not just young people and women now, though. You know, there's a huge issue with regards to the cost of living that's currently going on and that pressure, we're definitely seeing the impact of that on our employees. So this is definitely something that resonates with me. And it's, you know, it's really hard to see. And I'm worried about our people and I'm worried about their ability to make the core aspects of those pieces of their lives. And, you know, commercially, we would love to just give everybody wage rises, right? But, you know, we can't just continue to just outbid each other. And in order to attract talent, we need to stop that cycle. And if we're paying competitively, then I think we need to try and find other ways to help to support our teams. 

Josh: [00:16:15] Yeah. And it's also I mean, two points on that. One is it's not just the hospitality industry. We see it across all our customers, whether it's aged care or retail or childcare or security. It is a slightly more pervasive issue across the industry. But Michael, on that point, a lot of a lot of customers that we go and chat to have that comment would be fantastic to just pay people more. I don't know if you are able to speak to any of the research behind or even the thinking behind the fact that income levels are low. It's important to get equality and get people paid. A fair and living wage doesn't have such a strong correlation. What is it that correlates to someone's positive financial well-being? 

Michael: [00:17:01] Yeah, it's a really good question. And I think, you know, we have come a long way in looking at financial well being now, but the biggest determinants are socio-economics. So it does depend on income, past history, education levels where you live. There's a lot of big macro drivers that affect things that are obviously very hard to change. But the good news is that financial well being is very strongly linked to behavior and attitudes and those are things that can be changed. So much of it is actually about feeling in control of your money. And people who have relatively lower incomes, but a really good understanding of where their money is coming and going can actually have a higher financial well being than people's incomes might be higher, but they're getting buffeted, they're only responsive, they're not planning, they don't know where the next bill is coming in. That really creates a lot of stress, that really creates a lot of worry that actually results in lower well being. So we do need higher incomes. You know, it's the best thing that can can change to improve well being, but it is hard to change. But when you do start to look at behavioral support capacity, giving people tools to engage with their money because people are afraid, you know, I know so many people who get a bill and leave it unopened because they're scared of it and that only makes things worse. That only makes the worrying worse. If they have some confidence that they can actually open that deal with it, ring their provider, explain the situation, their well being will improve. 

Josh: [00:18:36] Yeah, the I'm sure there's a behavioral economics term putting your emu, the emu effect, where you put your head in the sand on that exact point of not feeling comfortable connecting with your money. It's interesting because in our product mix there's a handful of really practical things like being able to flexibly access your money or flexibly save towards goal through payroll or chat to a coach. But the one that gets the highest uptake is this feature called Track. And really all that is, is allowing someone to connect with their money in a more real way. Because for a lot of us on this call, it's most likely that we're getting paid a fixed salary week on week, the same amount a month, a month. And the mental math that goes into accounting for I know I get four grand a month and my rent comes out, etc. is much easier than a frontline or an employee at a call who gets 201 week 800 than x 1200. So just that that feeling of having control or seeing what's coming in is where most people spend their time in our platform, which is interesting. I will move on though, Amy, one point to just before we chat about what organizations can do, do you see in the workplace the impacts? There's all these reports about the impacts of how, how poor well being affects a workforce. But from a commercial business perspective, do you see financial well being having any impact from a commercial perspective on a cause business? 

Amy: [00:20:09] Yeah, Yeah, I do. Josh And I think, you know, the financial stress is definitely become more prevalent in the last couple of years with the inflationary issues that you're talking about on the back of the pandemic. And you know, it's funny when I think about that, I think about when I was growing up and, you know, in a couple of my first jobs and I remember leaders saying to me, you know, you can't bring your problems to work. You've got to leave your problems at the door. And you come in and you do your shift and you pick your problems up when you leave again. And I think you just you just can't do that. Like, we're so deeply intertwined with our work. And I think here in a core, our principal number two of hardest is that people want the real deal. And that principle really speaks to individuals wanting and needing to be themselves. And you just can't simply not bring your whole self to work and do your best work. You know, you can't separate yourself from who you are as an individual and the troubles that you're having. So for our team members who are experiencing this financial stress going on for them, we see that manifesting in their attitude and in their approach to colleagues and to guests. And you know, in the worst cases it manifests in absenteeism. And all of those obviously are really detrimental to the business. I think at the end of the day for us, you know, we really just want incredible talent in our organization. We want great people working in our business, looking after our guests and our owners and each other. And in order to do that, we just recognize that we really need to take more of a holistic approach to well-being. 

Josh: [00:21:55] Yeah, it's absurd to think that ten, ten years ago or 15 years ago, we could have expected someone who can't make rent that week to come in and provide service on the same level that they would have been able to make. It just baffles me. You're right. I think COVID and even the technology that we use now, like you guys could be at home and I wouldn't be able to tell the difference that's deeply intertwined into your life. All right. We do have a question from the audience on FBT. I don't know if anyone has a particular view on this on the panel. And it's around how can we get the government to support reducing FBT so that we can provide employees with more benefits? I don't know if Amy or Michael, you've got a view on that. 

Amy: [00:22:49] Oh, absolutely. 

Josh: [00:22:51] Okay. 

Amy: [00:22:52] My view is exactly the same. Yeah. If we can get the fat reduced, then I'm sure that we'll have a lot more employers that are prepared to offer more benefits to team members. 

Michael: [00:23:05] Yeah. Yeah. Look, I think without being an expert on that, I do know at the moment Treasury does actually have a white paper open are asking for submission into a national employment strategy. The the FIAP members that we work with are involved in writing a submission and we are encouraging Treasury to include more focus on on financial well being in the work they do more broadly in financial capability. We have a focus on gender equality as in that submission, but it's certainly something if you do have a corporate affairs arm that's interested in not lobbying the government, there is a good window to do that. But it does actually tie in to, I think, one of the the next sort of research we have, which is around what employers are currently doing for financial well being. 

Josh: [00:23:50] You want to keep going and provide some insight into what the research showed employers are doing and what they want to be doing. 

Michael: [00:23:58] Yeah, because I think this really linked into one of the the anecdotes we had from the in-depth interviews, an organization talking about their salary sacrificing. And I think this is a it was a not for profit organisation, so their employees can save thousands by doing salary sacrificing. But only one in six employees were taking it up. So they do actually have an offering, but people aren't using it. It's really hard to know why. Whether that is because of a communications issue, a knowledge issue. Just like I said, people don't want to talk about their finances. They're scared by them. And when you're given a form that talks about fit and salary sacrificing and leasing options, it can be really daunting. So we do want to break down those sort of barriers. What we found more broadly is that of the employers we talk to, about 60% of them said if we're doing something for employee financial well being, we've got some supports in place. But when we ask the employees, only 20% said, Yeah, my employer does. So it's a massive gap. Sorry, I just gave you the wrong number. It was 36% of employees. 

Josh: [00:25:11] Michael, Why do you think that is? Do you think it's employers trying to or thinking that they've tick the box and saying, Yep, we've got super fund X or salary sacrificing, but then the employees just never using it or never getting value? Is that what that disconnect is? 

Michael: [00:25:28] Yeah, it's a combination of I'll tell you, the first thing is not knowing what the employees want. If the strategy is just driven by what's available, which as you mentioned, it may be by working with a super fund or, you know, an existing corporate partner, if you start from from there, then you won't tailor things to what the employee is actually need. So in the research pack that we've worked on together with Wagestream, we do have a strategy guide as to how to start to develop a strategy. In the first step is to listen to your employees. 

Josh: [00:25:59] Yeah. Are you? Without giving away all the secrets, whether you can. Are you able to share a little bit more? Like, what is it? If you're thinking about how to develop an effective financial well being strategy and thinking about that first step of what employees want? Is there any further insight that came out of that that you're able to share? 

Michael: [00:26:20] Yeah, look, there is a real opportunity and I think the research shows that there is a demand for this. But you do need to start with your own organization, work out what is going to be most effective. And we have seen, for example, some of our FIAP members have been really effective because they have managed to tie into their payroll systems. And for example, we had a bank who, whenever anyone was getting into payroll and looking at the screen about their banking details, was showing them prompts, saying you can open a second account to put some money into savings, do it automatically. That had a really great uptake. Now they could do that because they're a bank. They have a lot of control over their systems. It's not going to be the same for everyone. It's not always that easy. But once you do have a picture of what people want, then you can start to develop a business case and a strategy. You can work out what you want to measure. Are you trying to see an increase in retention? Are you trying to reduce absenteeism? Are you trying to work on your engagement scores? And you can try and see what financial well being tools affect that. And from there you can work on specific tools to implement. 

Josh: [00:27:27] And maybe from a non bank perspective, you might not have those super powers, but the core is nonetheless winning awards left, right and center from an HR perspective. How did you guys go about that first piece of listening to your employees or even coming up with the financial well being program that you've got in place today? 

Amy: [00:27:50] Yeah, I think the first part really is asking the questions and we're quite lucky in terms of the trust that a lot of our leaders have with our team members. And so a lot of our team members, you know, it's been manifesting in a number of different ways. And as I mentioned at the start, my the region that I take care of is quite it's quite broad. But, for example, you know, team members would would come and tell us, you know, can I work in an extra day at home this week? I'm going to work an extra day at home this week, for example, you know, because they don't have enough money for for petrol to come in. In particular, here in the Gold Coast, our rental vacancy rate here in the Gold Coast is something insane like 0.5%. And so team members would be coming in and telling us, you know, that they haven't been able to find anywhere that is within their range of of rent. And, you know, within the next two weeks, they're going to be sleeping in their car. So anecdotally, as we were hearing this kind of feedback that really that really told us that we needed to do something. And in the more extreme circumstances, you know, as we've talked about, there is still some some taboo around people being able to talk about their financial concerns and their financial issues. But that would that would manifest in someone's lunch going missing in one of the hotels. And so that would tell us that we had a problem in that property. So, yeah, it was sort of it was collecting some of these scenarios and then and then really being able to go forward to the other leaders that I work with to say, look, we need to we need to do something around around financial well being beyond what we already do in terms of the superannuation and whatnot that we've already spoken about. Mental health has been really high on our priority list, in particular through COVID. You know, it's been it's been really tough for everybody, but in particular, the tourism and hospitality industry has had a really, really tough couple of years. And so, yeah, just putting all of that together meant that it was pretty easy actually, for us to be able to take it to other leaders within the business and have them listen. 

Josh: [00:30:14] Yeah, I guess the evidence is there and you've also got those values that underpin it, which you can always point back to and say, Hey, this is the right thing for our organization. By the way, did you did you answer that question also based on the question that came in? Because word for word it was do you have any anecdotal feedback around the taboo of finances? So thank you for the anonymous individual who posted that. I hope that's answered. Now, you also picked up on one really interesting point, which is just the relationship with mental health. And Michael, we're doing another panel next week with beyondblue and they just did a report with Asik as well on that link and showing that people are twice as likely to have mental health challenges. I think mental health has always been probably not the right word to use, but a sexier topic for HR professionals than financial health has been. But it is so incredibly intertwined. The relationship between those of you able to share a little bit more on that and I guess both what we'll be covering, but that report as well. 

Michael: [00:31:21] Yeah, absolutely. Look, it is, as Josh mentioned, beyondblue have published some research recently, which is not surprising when you look at it, but it's still good to see it laid out in front of you that half of the people who have mental health and mental well being issues also have a financial well being issue. And the other way around half the people with a financial well being problem suffer mental health consequences as well. So it's a vicious cycle and it's not surprising financial stress can cause mental distress and it's very expensive to be mentally unwell. It's hard to work, it's very expensive to seek treatment. It has a lot of impacts in your life. So the two are really closely intertwined and you're never going to achieve mental well being unless you can also achieve financial well being. But it's difficult to talk about and it's difficult to get support and talk about those things, which is why we are spending so much effort talking about the taboos. And we have seen real inroads in mental health. We're all having conversations in the workplace that we could not have imagined ten years ago, and I'd love to think of a future where our financial conversations can be on that same directory or that same direction. 

Josh: [00:32:35] Absolutely. Agree. Or I'm going to take us back to one question, which we sort of answered before, but I feel like we can hopefully give the audience something even more concrete and audience plays as well. There's been some awesome questions coming through, but if anyone has any questions for my. Amy, I'm probably the least interesting up here, but Michael and Amy mainly just put them in the Q&A box. But Michael, when we think about so we understand financial stress is a big piece. It impacts businesses. It also impacts mental health. That report did do some research into what employees want at an aggregate level. I'm not sure if you're able to share a little bit on that. And then I can also jump into what we're seeing across the 2 million odd employees on our platform. 

Michael: [00:33:20] Yeah, look, we we all know staff retention is a massive, massive issue. And the employees we interviewed definitely said that financial well being would help. We had around about half of them said, yeah, that would that is something that would make me think more favorably of my employer if they gave me better ways to engage with my finances, better ways to understand, manage my own financial well-being. But they are looking for things beyond what's been offered in the past. If we look at what people are currently doing, there is a lot of it is very focused around superannuation and retirement. You know, very much due to the relationships that businesses do have with super funds and super funds. Can they go in and give general advice? It's great for some people, but it's much less relevant when you're younger and struggling with day to day living expenses then when you're getting close to retirement. So it's just not hitting the mark. And there is a real opportunity to improve retention by working on the things that employees genuinely want.

Josh: [00:34:22] Yeah. I mean, we find the same so on our platform and I mentioned some of the features before, but I think one of the biggest things we hear from employers is that if you are getting a superannuation fund in, which can be a really phenomenal tool, oftentimes it's a single topic to a really diverse audience. And if you just take a core or aged care, you may have a 60 year old individual who's five years away from being able to access that or seven years away, and that's an awesome topic for them to understand how to reduce risk and optimize it. But for a 20 year old coming into the workforce who has never submitted the tax statement to the government, they're just completely different things that need to be focused on. So we see as well we see outside of the chat component, learn in our app is one of the most heavily used then the access component, being able to flexibly draw down on some money and then savings below that and then finally coach. And for full transparency, we only see about 2% of individuals pick up a coaching conversation. And I think it's still goes to that taboo point, whereas we see 50 to 60% of people use other features. 

Josh: [00:35:35] I think it is still that taboo point around. It's difficult to have a conversation with another individual about your finances, but hopefully if it's done in an anonymized and supportive space, it can be a benefit. I may, Amy, jump to you. A lot of this may be just from our perspective, but a lot of employers we speak to, you get in the room with them and they really they deeply empathize with the challenges around financial well being and want to support their staff. And it's often HR who has that empathy and often other people in the organisation, but led by HR. But then when they go and take that and try build a business case for lack of a better term or integrate into payroll or whatever it might be to make it work. It's challenging. I don't know if you've got any tips from how you guys have not only implemented Wagestream but everything you've done around financial well being. Like what pointers would you give other employers looking at implementing a system of their own? 

Amy: [00:36:41] Yeah. Good question, Josh. I do. What I would say is that I think that the key is that there's not a one size fits all for everybody. And that's why the partnerships that you choose are so important. So I would spend time doing your research on what partners in particular in the financial well being space are available and what resources and tools they have that you could provide to to your team members. These will be different, obviously, depending on your budgets and the team member demographics that you have at your own organization. But that's also why Wagestream made perfect sense for us at a core, in particular, our team members, as we've talked about all have their own story. They all have their own individual circumstances and different worries. And so I think it's really important that you focus on relevant engagement with individuals about their own personal situation, because this is hugely powerful. And then I would say giving people the ability to work on short term, medium term, long term goals, encouraging them to be able to think about the future, things like that are really important. And in particular in in the Wagestream system, our team members are able to view their upcoming expenses against what they're earning. It helps them to make better decisions about their spending. And I guess a unexpected great piece for us that has come from having the system as well is that when team members say there's a bit of a gap in the expenses that they have coming up and what they're anticipating that they're going to earn. We've seen that they've also been likely to pick up additional shifts with us to make sure that they're making that additional money. So in particular, the resources that we've chosen from a core perspective have really been a win win for both the employer and the employee. 

Josh: [00:38:50] Yeah. Thank you for that call out. I promise I wasn't fishing for it, but it is very kind. But I do. I think that's an important point. There are financial well being solutions out there from being just one of them that can deliver genuine ROI into the conversation we were having before. People bring their whole self to work. So supporting well being is much more critical than just ticking a box. You can get proper business benefits. I may I may jump to one of the final points and just see if either of you have anything else to share, whether it's on the report or in general in this space of financial well being of the audience. And maybe, Michael, we can kick off with you and audience. In the meantime, if there are any other questions, please feel free to drop them in. 

Michael: [00:39:37] Yeah, look, I love the point that Amy just made about looking at those goals, short term, medium term, long term, because that is how you can build financial well being, is to have an understanding of what's happening today with my money and then what's coming up, what do I need to save for and a long term vision as well. And it is possible to to work on all of those things at lots of different income levels, lots of different job levels, you know, if you have the right mindset. So if you start by listening to people thinking about their goals, thinking about what they needs, there is a real opportunity here for employee employers to take action and it's really going to benefit their employees as well as the businesses. So I definitely love you to have a look at the research. It's on the Wagestream website. If you are interested in thinking more about what your business can do for financial well being and financial inclusion, then definitely get in touch with Good Shepherd and the FIAP program and we'd love to talk to you. 

Josh: [00:40:40] Awesome. Any final pieces from yourself? 

Amy: [00:40:45] I would just say I haven't started looking at the financial well being of your team members. Hopefully you've got a few tips and tricks from from the webinar today. You might be surprised with regards to what you can do from a resource perspective and a budget perspective for sure. And I think as we've already talked about, the cost of living pressures, they're not going away any time soon. So it's really important that employers are looking at different, I would say, intrinsic benefits because anecdotal feedback that we hear from our team members is when they're considering other opportunities from some people who might be looking at other companies and whatnot. Is that all of the all of the pieces that we provide around the financial well being and and other other resources that we have available for our team members in this space really factors into their decision to stay with the core and and the happiness at work with us. So yeah, hopefully you get into it. 

Josh: [00:41:55] Absolutely agree with that. We did have a couple of questions drop in in the meantime one which Michael might be for you, but it's just to report go into how many employers are actually running a financial well being program today. There's those stats around the misperception if you if you're comfortable talking to that. 

Michael: [00:42:15] Yeah yeah so we found of the employers we talked to 58% said they did have an employee financial well being and we have reasons why of those other 32% who don't have one. Now a lot of them were talking about lack of budget, not knowing where to start, you know, not knowing what employees want, you know, all those sort of reasons why they think wasn't important. And we're trying to change that. And we'd also go into thinking about what is in the programs that are currently offered. And you do see the highest thing are those things around superannuation seminars focusing on retirement. There's a little bit of some people have tied financial well being into their tips through employee assistance programs, but we typically we don't have much information around the uptake of those or whether those are effective and those are sort of the things that would be really good to find out when you are talking to your your employees about what they want. 

Josh: [00:43:13] Yeah, absolutely. And I think we're seeing it as well. The tide is shifting where more employers are getting involved. But there was that alarming statistic. So it went through the report, went through the insides of saying 50% of people don't save. 40% of people struggle to pay their bills. 30% of people run short for food. And then the fact that 58% of employers believe they've got a program in place. But then the most shocking one was on that backdrop of financial stress being the number one concern for employees, despite employers understanding that only 6% of employers plan to run a financial well-being program in the coming 12 months. And Amy, to your point before, I think it's a big part of what you were saying around. Does it seem too complex? Do we have the budget for we don't really know where to start, so I'd echo your points before, even if it is chatting to fear for us or Amy, I think people would be surprised with the impact that they can have on their employees lives and therefore the business by at least beginning to explore the area of what more they could do. Yeah. All right. I think we will leave it there. And I just want to say a huge, huge thank you to Heidi, but also to Michael and Amy and Amy in particular. Thank you. Because you had a cold coming in. We're a superstar throughout. No coughing attacks. But thank you all so much. I think it's it's a really important topic and I'm glad we had the time and space to chat about it openly. If anyone wants to read that report, they can jump on the Wagestream website or reach out to any of us and we'd be happy to chat further. But thank you again, guys. 

Michael: [00:45:03] Okay. 

Josh: [00:45:04] Bye.