'Financial wellness is part and parcel of employee wellbeing'

How can HR take a more proactive role in employees’ future financial health?

'Financial wellness is part and parcel of employee wellbeing'

Employee wellbeing isn’t a new buzz word, but a reality that employers and employees are embracing, according to Jacinta Jones, Chief Customer Officer at Roll-it Super.

Jones told HRD that this is about much more than just offering yoga at lunch time or fresh fruit in the kitchen.

“We spend a significant amount of time at work and being taken care of is critical for business profitability, but also for personal prosperity and feeling purpose. When an employer does this well it pays off,” said Jones.

“Financial wellness is part and parcel of employee wellbeing, and until now, employers haven’t really had the knowledge or practical tools to help employees with getting hold of their short-term savings and budgeting needs, as well as the long-term financial growth of their net wealth via super.”

Jones added that employers are very much aware a percentage of their workforce is living paycheck to paycheck, and simply increasing their wage isn’t the answer.

READ MORE: How to improve your financial wellness strategy

“Living week in and week out with a feeling of financial scarcity is overwhelming. We have all done it at some point in time,” said Jones.

“Over the long-term, being overwhelmed financially has a devastating effect on individuals and the health of the family unit, and living with financial scarcity can also pass on poor money habits to children and the cycle continues.”

According to Jones, strengthening financial literacy and full transparency triggers people to engage in their super and make other key decisions regarding their money.

“In particular, when empowered in this way, women no longer are afraid and begin to truly value this pot of gold sitting in their super fund accounts,” said Jones.

“Statistically, women are often paid less than men, then step out of the workforce to focus on caring for their families, leaving them over the long-term, in a dramatically different financial position to their male peers.

READ MORE: Tesla’s new benefit highlights financial wellness

“Team this with their super invested in an under-performing default fund selected for them by their employer, and their financial position over a long period is suddenly eroded.”

So what tips does Jones have for how HR can take a more proactive role in employees’ future financial health?

  • Research what tools are available at your fingertips to enable staff to make more informed, practical and tactical financial choices;
  • Alert and encourage employees to look into wider societal changes that are taking place that may impact them and their families financially. For example, the July 1 changes intended to end unwanted life insurance premiums eating up members’ superannuation. Good practice for HR is to raise awareness of the changes - a gentle nudge for employees to read the letter received by their super fund and to consider their life insurance needs would help them make an informed decision. Encouraging employees to actively engage in their super and the underlying life insurance policy, is key. Now is the time for employees to give their super and insurance a full health check.

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