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Richer Company Culture Demands Flexible Pay

James Herbert

Financial wellbeing must factor into workplace transformation. The future of the workplace depends on it. Contributor James Herbert, CEO – Hastee Pay.  

Three quarters of workers would prefer their employers to invest in their wellbeing rather than endure another office party. While the idea of anything party themed is wholly unappealing so early in the new year – even if it means a free bar – this particular figure was actually released back in November by Shine Workplace Wellbeing and reveals that 74 percent of workers would prefer their employer spent £100 on their health and wellbeing over the coming months instead. 

Standard HR offerings such as pensions and cycle to work schemes have been commonplace for years but do little to address many of the issues that impact workers needs on a daily basis. In recent years, enhanced wellbeing strategies have emerged, incorporating benefits such as medical cover, discounted gym membership and increased holiday allowance.

Remote and flexible working patterns as well as bringing your dog to work are now becoming more commonplace across many businesses but it’s hardly surprising that workers are beginning to expect more when it comes to wellbeing especially when seeing the world’s leading organisations transforming their workplaces to create better working environments.

Building company culture from the ground up
Leading edge organisations are looking beyond simple perks and are transforming workplace culture. 

Apple goes a step further than allotments and dry cleaning and offers free housing for interns along with three meals a day free of charge. Its purpose-built and widely publicised $5 billion headquarters ‘Apple Park’ was designed to help workers excel in their roles through collaboration. 

Apple Park provides an open layout where everyone works in the same space, encouraging collaboration and relationship building between people and departments that would have traditionally been segregated. In some cases, even CEOs sit in the open alongside the wider workforce providing accessibility and transparency while also inspiring the workforce which gets to witness successful leadership in action. 

While not every business can afford to provide its workforce with perks to this level, organisations across the board should be focusing on the increased recruitment, retention and productivity that are at the core of wellbeing initiatives. If they are to truly deliver on these KPIs, businesses must address the financial plight of the workforce which has a poor impact on workers’ mental health and distracts them from performing their roles to the best of their abilities. 

The financial wellbeing gap
When your workers are struggling financially, it is very likely your business will suffer. Hastee Pay’s Future of Pay report revealed that 78 percent of workers have used finance options to source money quickly between pay days. Suprisingly, borrowing isn’t limited to those on lower salaries; 75 percent of high earners in senior positions regularly rely on credit cards between pay days. 

The research highlights the wider impact of worker debt on businesses with one in four people in the UK saying they struggle to concentrate at work when thinking about their personal finances. One in five say they have wasted working hours dealing with repayments. The problem is that pay frequencies haven’t changed while the way people spend their money has. We are now living in the on-demand age where consumer demand is satisfied with one-click ordering and same day delivery. 

Highly targeted ads based on our online activity place products we’ve shown interest in on our social media feeds and some social apps even listen to our conversations and use voice recognition to send us targeted ads based on our conversations. We are constantly being encouraged to spend more in an age where the average UK household will struggle to pay an unexpected £500 bill. 

Entertainment and e-commerce subscription services such as Spotify, Netflix and Amazon Prime have exploded with growth over the last decade. With a seemingly endless range of compelling services to choose from, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’re spending as the cost automatically leaves your account each month. The trick that these services profit from is presenting users with the monthly cost which is seemingly reasonable to the end user who won’t necessarily think about the combined annual cost of each service they’re signing up to. 

Transforming the way workers get paid
Covering the necessities such as the cost of living, unexpected bills and the rising costs of public transport can be enough of a struggle for workers before spending on extras such as subscription services and lifestyle services. The traditional monthly pay cycle only makes this harder. In December, a third or workers in the UK will have received their pay early yet this means they are left to make their funds stretch further in January. In some cases, workers will be waiting between five to six weeks for their January pay.  

If company cultures are changing, then pay frequency must change too. Without flexible access to pay, workers risk falling into a spiralling debt cycle, relying on high-cost credit options to get by between pay days potentially struggling to make the repayments. This will have a knock-on effect on their workplace performance and ultimately company profits. 

Enabling greater financial wellbeing through flexible pay doesn’t mean throwing out the traditional pay cycle. Businesses should explore available options that provide workers with the security of flexible pay when they need it. These solutions sit comfortably alongside traditional payment methods with zero disruption to payroll systems and zero impact on business cashflow. 

What’s more, flexible pay will provide businesses that cannot afford to invest in sports facilities, nurseries or dry cleaning services with an employee benefit that is attainable, free to implement and makes a genuine difference to all their workers’ lives not just a select few. Their company cultures will be richer for it. It’s time to rethink the monthly wait for payday.

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