Why Employee Wellbeing Should be in Focus for 2021

It’s hard to think of a time where human resources professionals are more attuned to what they can deliver their organisation’s workforce. 2021 was a year of significant change in the way we work, where we work, and when we work. Working from home opens up a can of worms – when do days start and finish? Are there set breaks? How does the rest of our lives fit in with work? 

There might not be a clear expectation around returning to the office, or if that is necessary ever again, for quite some time. However, we know that HR staff have a duty to facilitate new methods of working and ensure that employees are engaged and satisfied in their working arrangements. We know that top organisations are reassessing their employee benefit programs to reflect the new working environment more accurately. Employee wellbeing has taken the spotlight as COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone, both professionally and personally. When it comes to formulating benefits packages for your organisation, it’s essential to consider a range of variables and strategies – here are a few.

Are you looking at your employee benefits holistically?

Employee benefits used to consist of a salary, maybe health insurance, and not too much else. As workplaces have modernised in the last decade or two, we have seen the growth of various alternative benefits and programs – both physical and mental. Most larger organisations now offer a range of health-based initiatives, such as yoga classes, discounted (or free) gym memberships, mental health support lines, apps and development programs.

While this is fantastic, it’s not all that matters. Employers are starting to realise that their employee’s finances play a substantial role in their personal wellbeing, as well as their performance in the workplace. Almost one-third of Australians are not on track to secure their financial future, and one-in-four are not enjoying life, solely due to how they are managing their money. Finances are a leading cause of stress, and employers need to play their part to address this.

Is your wellbeing strategy making an impact? 

Employee preferences change over time. What worked yesterday may not be relevant today. Free lunches and tea & coffee in the break rooms are now stale. While not every workplace offers these perks, it’s not exactly special either. Given the current situation, what are the wellbeing initiatives that actually stand to make a meaningful difference to your current and future employees? Especially given the proliferation of millennials in the workplace, with 75% of the global workforce expected to be made up of millennials by 2025.

We know that finances play a major role in employee’s lives, so how does an organisation best address it in a mutually beneficial way? Redundancies, layoffs and reduced hours do little to ease the tension, no matter how unavoidable they are. Benefits such as Earned Wage Access (EWA) offer an effective way to reduce financial stress. Not only does it play a role in improving employee’s financial lives by allowing them flexible access to their earned pay, but employers stand to benefit too. Job seekers are almost two times as likely to accept a 13% lower salary when EWA is an option. 

We all live different lives, are your benefits flexible?

Not every benefit appeals to all employees. Think about it; everyone has different hobbies, health goals and social lives. Wellbeing programs that allow employees to pick and choose what programs work for them are becoming increasingly common – and for a good reason. The economy has shifted towards on-demand, flexible purchases that change as we do. Personalisation and flexibility are critical to almost every product and services offering. The same applies to your employee benefits. 

There are a range of differentiating factors you’ll need to consider, however as a general guide, ensure that the range of benefits you provide meet the needs of the diverse ages and income levels of your workforce. Surveys have found that many employers have never even taken their employees’ opinions into account when formulating benefits and wellbeing programs. How can you effectively meet your employees’ needs if you don’t listen to what they want? 

What does a successful program look like for your business, and how do you measure it?

No matter how good a strategy appears on paper, it’s nearly useless unless it can be implemented as designed. There is no hard and fast rule to assess the merits of an employee benefits program; however, there are many critical indicators that it’s doing its job. Take-up rate is one of the best – if employees are using the benefits you offer, they’re getting something valuable out of them. Speed to implementation is also critical – if a proposed benefit is timely to implement and unsustainable to maintain, it’s difficult to justify its impact and ongoing benefits for both the employee and the organisation.

Another measure may be employee retention. If your organisation’s turnover rate declines, it’s a great sign that your program is enticing people to stay on board. Financial benefits, such as EWA, have been shown to have game-changing benefits for both employees and their employers. Mental stress, often induced by financial concerns, is one of the leading causes of workplace turnover, with almost 40% of employees citing it as a reason for leaving their role. If an employee doesn’t feel financially fulfilled where they currently are, they’ll probably be open to other roles that may give them a better sense of financial security. Reducing turnover reduces hiring costs as well as business disruptions, so it’s critical you give your staff a reason to stay.


The wellbeing of your staff is critical to organisational success. If your company wants to empower your workforce financially, as part of a well-balanced employee wellbeing program by providing Earned Wage Access, contact Paytime today.