Employees want financial wellness support from employers. Here, MetLife’s Talent Acquisition Manager, Alex Hunter, and Fox & Hare financial adviser, Glen Hare, explain some of the ways managers can help staff feel more confident about their financial future.

What are some of the common financial causes of stress that employees deal with?

Alex: Money is the number one source of stress for 59 per cent of employees, as reported in our 2019 "Employee Benefit Trends Study". They’re also worried about outliving their retirement savings, so they want help with superannuation and life insurance.

Glen: Statistics from the Australian Psychological Society show that finances are one of the top causes of stress overall. Financial stress includes bad debt, home loans and supporting a family. Half of all Australians have limited savings, and one in six are only just managing to repay debt,.

Why is it important to support financial wellness for all employees?

Alex: Gallup research for the "Right Culture: Not Just About Employee Satisfaction" report shows people who feel supported at work are 21 per cent more productive. Also, it's the right thing to do. We’re in financial services so we should be offering that support. Our employees are family so we want to make sure they’re looked after.

Glen: Many people might feel like they're on the hamster wheel or just drifting, which creates a sense of insecurity. A lot more corporates are now seeing finance as the third pillar to the wellness triangle, and just as important as physical and mental wellbeing.

What are the benefits of financial wellbeing programs?

Alex: People derive purpose and a sense of achievement through their career. And if they take control of their finances, they can achieve what they want in all other areas of their life. It’s about ensuring a sense of security in the present and the future. With greater financial literacy comes greater financial wellness.

If you’re in control of your finances, you’re more likely to be in a better position to handle big life-changing events, such as starting a family, setting up your own business, buying property or having the funds to cover unexpected financial shocks, such as illness.

What financial wellness initiatives are offered at MetLife for its employees?

Alex: Each year we release a new staff benefit. This year it was an extra three days gifted leave over Christmas. Last year we moved to fortnightly pay. We also offer:

  • Income protection and other insurance discounts – Metlife covers fees and premiums for Death and Total and Permanent Disability cover for employees
  • If you’re unable to work due to illness or injury you’re covered for up 75% of your salary plus 9.5% super until you turn 65
  • Super matching up to 3% on extra contributions for employees who’ve been with the company for three years or more
  • EAP counselling services
  • Flexible working practices that acknowledge just because you're not sitting at your desk doesn't mean you're not working. We measure outputs, not desk hours.

What are people most frustrated about when it comes to money?

Glen: That they don't have a plan or a budget. Their biggest financial aspiration is to make their money work harder to set them up for the future.

What tip would you give organisations around financial wellness?

Alex: Ask your staff what they want. Don’t push benefits to people that aren’t relevant.

Glen: Do something. Your staff are thinking about their finances. People value education and knowing how they can make better decisions for themselves and their families.

Read the Employee Benefit Trends Study 2019 that reveals how more financial wellness programs create a thriving workforce.