• Increasingly, organisations are concerned with their employees’ levels of financial anxiety and their general wellbeing.
  • Organisations are recognising that supporting employees through wellbeing programs, with habit  and mindset change is a real way they can add value to their people during this volatile time.

Increasingly, organisations are concerned with their employees’ levels of financial anxiety and their general wellbeing.

As our collective experiences through COVID-19 have shown, there has never been a greater link between work and personal life. It has led to many changes in the way we operate as businesses and as human beings. Handshakes are long gone, working from home has become the norm, and travel (for work or pleasure) will take a long time to return to its previous levels.

While some organisations have weathered the storm well, others have required significant adjustments. And it is the same for employees and their families. While some industries and organisations appear to be winning, others face ongoing turmoil and employees are too – with parents, children, spouses and friends employed across a diverse and uncertain space.

And, there are clear links between money and employee behaviour including productivity and absenteeism, fraud and safety1.

So how can organisations help employees with their very real concerns around financial anxiety?

The pandemic has also perhaps led to many of us becoming more reflective, which often leads to a growth mindset where we are more open to habit change. When applied to personal finances, changing money habits may allow people to be less stressed and more relaxed about their relationship with money. This could have a profound impact on their wellbeing and their performance as an employee.

Organisations are recognising that supporting employees through wellbeing programs, with habit  and mindset change is a real way they can add value to their people during this volatile time.

Changing habits and increasing financial wellbeing

The best financial wellbeing programs provide employees with more than knowledge. Programs that focus primarily on ‘education’ (budgets, investing and super being good examples) fail to address the foundation of financial wellbeing – fundamentally – behaviour towards money and money habits have the greatest impact on financial wellbeing2.

We also know that organisations are increasing their focus in this area. Around Australia, there has been a significant increase in organisations investing in and implementing financial wellbeing programs in 2020. In fact, research suggests it was the clear leader as an employer sponsored benefit3.

In fact, one of the only areas to see a large increase in employee benefits spending in recent years is financial wellbeing. 34% of Australian organisations are providing fully funded financial health checks for employees (up from 26% in 20183). Further, 77% of employers surveyed4 indicated that financial wellbeing will become an increasing priority between 2019 and 2022.

Once a habit change is attempted, there is a correlating positive impact on employees’ financial stress levels5.

So, there are clear winners on both sides.

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Financial wellbeing programs: employee and organisational benefits

In the current climate, any financial wellbeing program should complement an organisation’s overall employee benefits strategy. In an environment where base pay is flat, benefits must become the new pay rise – and raising the profile of the value of benefits should be a focus for HR and employee relations teams.

What has become clear through delivery of our smartHabits program over the last 12 months is that employees are looking for well-rounded programs that are not focused on wealth creation, but on incremental behaviour change and improvement.

The key aspects of an effective financial wellbeing program:

  • Focus on incremental habit change and not budgets.
  • Program is available to employees’ family members
  • Make it fun and entertaining whilst also tracking the audience participation via constant polling.
  • Use story telling.
  • Don’t presume everyone wants to be wealthy: Many people just want to have a stress-free relationship with money.

Financial wellbeing programs should align with family needs, with virtual learning and tools to support family conversations around money. After all, family income plays a significant factor in managing financial stress and having the whole family involved creates a greater understanding of how to achieve financial goals.

To ensure success in implementing financial wellbeing programs – for both organisations and employees – they must contain a level of measurement. Research conducted in 2018 indicated that only 20 per cent of organisations globally take any formal approach to measuring financial wellbeing programs6. It is key to measure the impact of a program and incorporate any data and insights into refining the offering, to further ensure the continued impact and benefit to employees. 94% engaged in smartHabits program focused on awareness and habit change. 94% report a positive impact on their financial wellbeing after attending smartHabits7.

Success metrics of a financial wellbeing program are not necessarily an improved bank balance, or the take up of formal financial advice, but of the willingness of program participants to take action on reducing their financial stress. Key questions can be asked: Did the employees decrease their financial stress? What change occurred? Where are they looking for more information and support?

Happy and healthy employees are more engaged in the workplace and are more productive as a result. In mapping out a post COVID-19 employee benefits program, organisations should not ignore the positive impact of consideration for an employee’s life circumstances, including finances, beyond the office itself.

What is smartMonday?

Superannuation – and SO much more!

At smartMonday, we’ve combined the expertise and financial strength of Aon with a new smarter, action-oriented approach – to help you turn super into a true business asset. We’re making super simple; giving your employees smart, easy ways to take control of their financial future while providing you with another way to engage and retain the best people.

  • We care about the little guys
  • Empowering clients
  • We help members grow their wealth
  • More than super

When your business partners with smartMonday, you’re not just partnering with a trusted, multi-award winning corporate superannuation fund, but with a worldwide group of companies that understand how super fits into the bigger HR & business picture. With premium servicing and customised solutions, we’ll work by your side to help simplify super and turn it into a valuable asset for engaging and motivating your team.


[1] and
[2] Financial Wellbeing in Australian Adults, ANZ Banking Group, 2018
[3] 2020 Aon Employee Benefits Report (Australia)
[4] Aon Global Financial Wellbeing Study, 2018
[6] Aon Global Financial Wellbeing Study, 2018
[7] Participants’ Insights smartHabits Program 2020

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