Ahead of the Annual Forum scheduled for 13 July, we spoke with James McFarland from Stanford Brown, one of our forum sponsors. James is the Director of Insurance & Benefit3, and speaks with us about about the close relationship between financial wellbeing and mental health.
Can you tell us a little bit about Benefit3?
Benefit3 is the Employee Benefits and Wellbeing division of Private Wealth firm Stanford Brown. Since working with our first Corporate client in 2001, we have built a deep expertise surrounding the integration of all three pillars of wellbeing – finances, body and mind – to support progressive companies and see their people flourish. We work with a diverse range of employers, including two of the worlds largest tech companies (FAANG companies), Airlines, large Australian manufacturers and professional services companies to design, broker and support their wellbeing platforms.
Why do you think it is important for employers to focus on their teams financial wellbeing?
Financial matters are the number 1 cause of stress in Australians lives and is a major contributor to our mental health and confidence. Furthermore, studies show that 37% of Australian employees spend 3-4 hours a week at work thinking about or distracted by their personal finances, this is costing employers approximately 2.7% of annual payroll.
A well structured financial wellbeing program not only tackles this issue but will provide great value to your employee proposition and is a differentiator in a competitive recruitment market.
Why does working in the wellbeing space excite you?
We are passionate about financial wellbeing; our mission is to provide Australians easy access to financial support.
We believe that the first step towards financial confidence is through education and knowledge. We have identified employees experience two main barriers to accessing financial support: they don’t know where to start or who to ask, and believe employers have the unique opportunity to provide this support through the workplace.
What are some of the challenges in your work?
Attracting and keeping talent is always front of mind, the financial services industry has a significant talent shortage and it has never been more vital to support and reward your people. I am always looking for new and innovative ways to engage our people and support their total wellbeing.
You are a new member of WayAhead Workplaces – Why did you decide to join and what are you most looking forward to?
I am most excited about speaking with other employers to hear about their experiences and learn about new solutions in supporting the wellbeing of their employees.
Director of insurance & benefit3