Opinion Technology Wellbeing

Redefining payday: Bupa launches new app so staff can get paid instantly

In a move to help nearly 11,000 care home colleagues take control of their finances, Bupa has partnered with

Rebecca Pearson, Operations Director for Bupa Care Services

Wagestream, the income-streaming app.

For many of us, workplace benefits are something we see as standard. A ‘nice to have’ that we’ll occasionally dip in to.

Over the years employers of all sizes have rolled out schemes from discounted gym memberships to mental health support.

While all benefits play a role in keeping colleagues healthy, happy and engaged in their careers, it’s not often that employers hit upon something that has a major impact on people’s lives. That’s why I’m really excited about Wagestream – an app which is flipping the idea of pay day on its head.

Rather than waiting until the end of the month, colleagues can log on and instantly access wages for the shifts they’ve completed. We recently introduced this at Bupa, making it available to all colleagues working across our care homes.

Why does it matter?

Financial stability plays a huge role in our overall wellbeing and it can be incredibility stressful when things aren’t going right.

No matter how good we are at budgeting, there’ll always come a time when a bill will take us by surprise – whether that’s to fix a broken-down car or an unexpected vet’s bill.

As employers it’s up to us to make sure our people are supported financially, which is why our number one reason for launching Wagestream was to provide an extra safety net for staff. It’s something to fall back on when that unexpected bill does land, preventing people turning to friends or family or – even worse – relying on high-interest payday loans.

In an ideal world we’d give everyone a pay rise but, in reality, this isn’t always possible – particularly when considered against the funding crisis currently facing the social care sector.

Instead, we’ve introduced measures such as Wagestream to help colleagues take control of their finances, and give them extra flexibility, so that unexpected bills aren’t as stressful.

The impact

The response so far has been brilliant, and nearly 80% of colleagues agree that they’re feeling less stressed now that they’ve got access to the app. What’s more, more than half of people who’ve used the app agree both that their financial situation has improved, and that they feel more in control of their money.

But, while the numbers tell a good story, for me it’s the anecdotal feedback that has the biggest impact.

We introduced the app in November last year, meaning that colleagues were able to use it ahead of Christmas. As such we’ve had some lovely examples of people picking up extra shifts, and being able to go Christmas shopping with their wages on the same day.

It might seem like a small thing, but it’s exactly the kind of freedom we want colleagues to have.

Shaking up the sector

What’s more, apps like Wagestream have the potential to have a huge impact on the sector.

I’m sure I speak for most – if not all providers – when I say that we’re trying to reduce our reliance on agency staff, to ensure that our residents receive care from the familiar faces that they know and trust.

One of the trends we noticed was that, while our colleagues love working for Bupa, they’d balance their in-house roles alongside agency shifts, so that they could get paid on a weekly basis. With Wagestream in place though, we’re levelling the playing field and helping .

It might seem unusual for me to share this – perhaps even more so for me to encourage other providers to follow suit – but I really feel that this could be one of the strongest opportunities we have to help address the agency/in-house balance.

More than that though, instant payment facilities can be great for staff, giving them the independence and flexibility to take control of their finances, reducing stress and improving their overall wellbeing. For me, it’s a win win.

 

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