How can you give your team the benefits they really want?

Isabelle Comber5 minutes
Business tips
How can you give your team the benefits they really want?
In this article

Great leaders know, a happy team is a healthy team. But common “employee wellness” initiatives often miss the mark. For example, say you establish a soccer team for your company - some of your employees will be eager to lace up their running shoes, but we guarantee that just as many would rather do anything else.

When it comes to employee benefits, a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn’t work. Some might want to sweat it out at the gym, some might want to unwind with a massage, some might want time for quiet meditation… The list goes on and on. 

But offering every single one of your employees a tailored wellbeing program would be a full time job, right? Not if you’re offering wellbeing budgets facilitated by employee cards. 

Airwallex employee cards are easy to issue and manage, they unlock endless options for your team, and the results can be amazing. Let’s explore how they can transform your employee experience, and easily give your team the benefits they really want (and deserve!).

What are the real impacts of employee wellbeing benefits?

Australian employees need a helping hand when it comes to their wellbeing. According to AHRI’s Workplace Report, 43% of employees report living well, despite struggles, down from 53.1% in 2021, indicating a decline in resilience. 68.5% feel like they are experiencing burnout, citing impacts to performance, satisfaction, and commitment at work. 

Employers can help their teams get some crucial balance back in their lives. This can make a huge impact on an individual level for team members, while also improving retention and giving businesses a competitive edge for their employer value proposition. 

The numbers don’t lie. According to FlareHR’s 2023 Australian National Employee Benefits Index;

  • Employees with benefits were 50% less likely to consider leaving their current employer;

  • Employees with access to a comprehensive benefits program are 25% less likely to feel emotionally exhausted from their work; and,

  • When workers receive benefits, they are 23% less likely to feel overworked.

Additionally, according to Seek, 63% of Australians agree that knowing an organisation offers its employees benefits or ‘perks’ in addition to salary, makes them want to apply for a job. 

In short, the benefits of benefits are mutual - and powerful - for your team and for you.

How can you set up wellbeing budgets and cards for your team?

Setting up employee wellbeing budgets shouldn’t be complex or stressful, that would be counterproductive!

Employee cards - virtual or physical - are the easiest and best way to give your team their wellbeing budget. With Airwallex’s Issuing capabilities, you can issue cards in seconds, set a fixed or recurring budget, and set a category of spending. 

Before you start, you need to have a global business account with us (it’s quick and easy to sign up, it’s your gateway to Cards plus all of our amazing business account features!). Our accounts team can help you enable Cards, and then you just need to pop money in your Airwallex wallet - the centralised location that will fund your wellbeing budgets. You’re now ready to set up your first employee card! 

Step 1: Create a Card Holder

Use your employee’s details - legal name, email address, home address - to assign them as a card holder. 

Need to create cards en masse? Your employee can also complete this step themselves. 

Step 2: Create an Individual Card

Now you can create the card itself. This is where you select whether you want to issue a physical or virtual card.

Personally, we love virtual cards - which can be issued instantly and have heaps of handy features including Apple Pay. Learn more about virtual cards

Step 3: Set up Authorisation Controls

Authorization controls allow you to specify rules around how your wellbeing cards can be used. You can manage this at the time of creating a new card or later when you update the card.

The first thing you probably want to do is set a transaction limit. This can be set once or be recurring if you want to refresh your team’s budget after a certain period (every quarter, for example). 

For wellbeing budgets, the best way to make sure they’re going towards health-related costs is to specify the allowed merchant categories codes (MCC) where the card can be used. You could select code 7298 (the code for Health and Beauty Spas), which means your employees can only spend with merchants who have that category code. 

Bonus step! Link Spends to Your Chart of Accounts

If you’re using our Xero or Netsuite integrations, you can seamlessly connect your employee spend data to your chart of accounts.

Now your team is ready to go! And remember, you can cancel or freeze a card at any time. 

How can your team spend their wellbeing budgets? 

Wellbeing budgets allow your team to access what they really want. This can span the dimensions of wellness, from physical to mental and spiritual. You can also include Learning and Development in the mix, empowering your team to grow professionally.

Here are some of the most popular ways that teams use their budgets;

  1. Exercise classes; including circuit classes, yoga, pilates, boxing, weight training, tai chi, cycle…

  2. Subsidised gym memberships 

  3. Exercise app subscriptions

  4. Massage therapy

  5. Meditation classes

  6. Meditation app subscriptions

  7. Mental health app subsriptions

  8. Acupuncture

  9. Naturopathy

  10. Float tanks

  11. Day spas

  12. Swimming pool visits and memberships

  13. Infrared saunas 

  14. Vitamins and supplements

  15. Aromatherapy 

  16. Reflexology

  17. Charity donations

  18. Work from home ergonomic equipment

  19. Conferences

  20. Tutorials

  21. Learning platform subscriptions

  22. Meal delivery kits 

  23. Professional network memberships

  24. Professional courses

How do we know that wellbeing budgets are so great? 

We’ll let you in on a little secret, we know that wellbeing budgets are so great because we use them ourselves at Airwallex! 

Our team has a budget for their wellbeing on their Airwallex employee cards. Our People Team set a $250 limit which resets every quarter, and employees love making the most of it. 

How do I spend my wellbeing budget? Every Monday I take a reformer pilates class at a small studio right next to our Sydney HQ. With my virtual card, I can easily book a time that works for me, whether that be after work or around lunch time.

Taking the class is an awesome way to break up my day and take some time that’s just for me. Plus, I feel great knowing that with my choice I’m supporting a local small business - just an extra little bonus that puts some pep in my step. 

Which Australian companies have wellness budgets?

We’re not alone in our passion for wellness budgets. Other Australian companies that have wellness budgets as a key part of their employer value proposition include;

  • Linktree: Every Linktree employee gets a budget to spend on wellbeing; from gym memberships to courses, childcare, pet insurance, holidays and green energy initiatives

  • Eucalyptus: Part of their 'Balance' benefits, the team at Eucalyptus enjoy a budget to support their physical wellness.

  • BCG: Team members at BCG receive an annual budget to support their physical and mental wellbeing, plus travel opportunities.

How can you get started? 

If you’re not yet an Airwallex customer, join us! A Business Account is your ticket to employee cards, plus better spend management tools, cost efficient FX and Transfers, and so much more. Sign up now

If you’re an Airwallex customer ready to start your journey with employee cards, contact our specialist team today.

Disclaimer: This information doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation, or needs. If you are a customer of Airwallex Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 487221) it is important for you to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the Direct Services, which is available here.

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Isabelle Comber
Business Finance Writer

Izzy is a business finance writer for Airwallex. She specialises in thought leadership that empowers businesses to grow without boundaries.

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