To support victims of family violence, and coinciding with White Ribbon Day, Mercer is taking action by providing a best practice framework of training and practical resources for customer-facing staff in the superannuation industry. Staff at all superannuation funds can now be better equipped to assist members who are experiencing financial hardship due to family violence.
According to Mercer Pacific’s Chief Customer Officer, Cambell Holt, over the past two years, Mercer Australia received over 6,000 calls from customers seeking financial hardship claims, 40% of which were from women.
“We know family violence is the number one cause of homelessness for women in Australia and is closely tied to financial hardship. We also know that violence against women costs the Australian economy over $14 billion each year. As an industry we have a responsibility to help these women – our members,” said Mr Holt. “By taking action now, we can offer some hope where there may be despair.”
To create better lives for members, Mercer is providing its staff with the much-needed support and skills to better support vulnerable customers who are seeking financial hardship claims.
“With one in three women experiencing some form of violence, it was vital that we not only prepare member facing staff for the difficult and traumatic conversations,” said Mr Holt, “it was crucial to ensure that staff were provided with the necessary resources to effectively assist and support vulnerable members.”
Under Mercer’s purpose of creating better lives, and to effectively manage challenging issues for vulnerable women, Mercer has developed a best practice framework of training and practical resources for the staff of any super fund.
“We have established workshop materials, internal training and member-facing documentation to better prepare our colleagues, and shortly will be releasing new employee support packages to help our staff facing into the realities of family violence,” said Mr Holt. “Member-facing staff who have gone through Mercer’s pilot program of training said that they felt far better equipped to have conversations with members experiencing financial hardship or family violence.”
Going one step further, Mercer is offering all of these resources at no cost to the superannuation industry. Any superannuation fund expressing an interest can receive a free resource toolkit that will deliver Mercer’s best in class framework and resources to external super funds so that they may support their member service teams better.
Mr Holt said that by offering the best practice resources, Mercer is focused on ensuring every fund in Australia can take concrete steps toward helping their more vulnerable members better.
“There is no reason why the industry can’t provide the much-needed support to women experiencing family violence. We have a responsibility to assist members facing financial hardship, and Mercer is here to help take the first step.
“Our clients and their members are at the heart of everything we do. The small actions we take today can help in creating better lives for all Australians and, importantly, for the women who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of violence,” said Mr Holt.
Join Mercer in taking the first step to creating better lives for our members.
For more information or for funds wishing to access the Mercer resources visit www.mercersuper.com/firststep
Mercer delivers advice and technology-driven solutions that help organisations meet the health, wealth and career needs of a changing workforce. Across the Pacific, organisations look to Mercer for global insights, thought leadership and product innovation to help transform and grow their businesses.
Mercer’s more than 22,000 employees are based in 43 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With more than 60,000 colleagues and annual revenue over $13 billion, through its market-leading companies including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit www.mercer.com.au.