Health Now

Staff Heading Across The Ditch? Give Them What They’re Missing With Employer Aid

Heading overseas – and often across the ditch – is undoubtedly a common topic of discussion among Kiwi workers – both those with families and those just about to graduate. While New Zealand has an array of attractive features for residents that locals love and can’t be found elsewhere, the disparity in salaries and employee benefits between New Zealand and Australia is proving to play a significant role in the decision to head abroad, with over 10,000 kiwis heading permanently across the ditch annually.

It’s no secret that staying as a skilled worker in New Zealand comes with challenges, such as our rising interest rates and a cost of living that is now causing many families to make notable cutbacks in their spending. And this doesn’t even touch on the regular media blasts about the “warmer climates” and law changes enabling easier pathways to Australian citizenship for New Zealanders. Simply put: it’s safe to say that for most, the thought has at least crossed their minds, with surveys showing that half of those looking to move abroad believed they could get a better salary overseas, with 44% considering the move due to the cost of living or a perceived better quality of life.

Unfortunately, business owners are one of the primary groups that are left dealing with the consequences. New Zealand has historically low unemployment rates, lingering around 3.4%. A survey completed in March 2023 of 540 Kiwi businesses showed that 90% were struggling to find staff, with a third of businesses having been advertising vacancies for over 6 months. When asked what Kiwi businesses were doing to combat the skills shortages, 71% of respondents said they were investing in training and upskilling existing employees, almost half were actively recruiting from overseas, and 39% were targeting our younger Kiwis to join their workforce by implementing youth engagement programs or apprenticeships. While these strategies are needed to help safeguard businesses, it doesn’t address a key issue: what are businesses doing to retain their employees in New Zealand?


What Do Employees Really Want?

According to Forbes, one of the top three things on an employee’s list is a workplace that is committed to health and well-being, with a Global Talent Trends survey finding that one in two employees would like to see a greater focus on well-being at their company – physically, psychologically and even financially. 

According to the article, “employees desire managerial support for their physical and emotional well-being… it is not enough for employers to simply offer employees the chance to participate in wellness activities… it’s about creating a culture of wellness in their organisation”.

So, is it really so hard to support your existing team in their personal health and wellness journeys, particularly with the known benefits that it has not only to their health, but also their work satisfaction and performance? According to NZ company, HealthNow, it can be as simple as setting up a dedicated Employer Aid wellness account for your employees, and encouraging them to use it to better their health and well-being in the ways they see fit – with a strong focus on proactive, preventative health. And better yet, implementing this action comes with very little time investment – especially when compared to the time, resourcing (and budget) expended on new staff recruitment, training, and the exit process. 


Employer Aid Fosters A Culture Of Wellness

Employer aid works by giving set funds to each employee annually that are to be used specifically for health and wellness purposes. It works much like a digital bank account, presented as a digital card on your phone, and accepted at any eftpos terminal where Mastercard is accepted. As an employer, you can grant access to the entire HealthNow suite of health providers and services – or limit it to certain services as you see fit. Either way, as an employer you have the confidence of knowing that the funds can only be used for health-related services and appointments, and you even get a breakdown of how the funds were spent overall within a year – meaning that you gain vital information and insight that can help guide future wellness initiatives that will be well received, instead of those that will be left unused and unappreciated.

The beauty of employer aid payments is that you’re also showing your employees your trust and dedication to their health by enabling them to control how they care for their health, including proactively, without being limited to the strict terms and conditions, exclusions, or policies enforced by private health insurance providers. These don’t acknowledge a person’s unique circumstances – and typically only cover “reactive” care when they’re already unwell, instead of proactive care that supports them in building and maintaining their health and well-being. Ultimately, this means that your staff don’t need to endure lengthy delays to accessing healthcare services or be out of pocket during the significant stand-down periods that health insurance often comes with – a cost that many simply can’t afford under the current cost of living conditions. With delays in seeking treatment often being associated with poorer health outcomes or delayed diagnoses, this can have a big impact on a person’s well-being – and their work performance, absenteeism and presenteeism rates, and overall satisfaction.


Ready to take the next step to retaining (and attracting) healthy, happy employees? Get started with HealthNow today.


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