Bupa

Realising the financial return of a holistic financial wellbeing program.

Company
Bupa
Size
16,350
Industry
Aged care
Employee base
Salaried and waged

Making an instant impact

We realised our financial return on investment within the first quarter which is fantastic. It landed into open arms, the take up from the get-go was like nothing we’d experienced with other benefits. So we knew from launch that we were in the right place with this.

Katie Duxbury
Head of Payroll Services, Bupa

What business problems were you looking to solve by focusing on financial wellbeing?

There’s a chronic shortage of nursing and caring resources. Getting the reward package right is so key for us in meeting this ongoing challenge. We’ve got salary sacrifice schemes where people are saving into their pension or buying bikes and annual leave and that’s great if someone has the ability to save, but if that isn’t your priority it loses all its appeal.

The timeliness of our compensation is another challenge. We compensate some staff through timesheets and it means we’re always paying in arrears, which can make it very difficult for our colleagues to plan.

So if someone calls in sick, a home manager is required to fill that shift to make sure our care ratios are right. But the individual who fills that shift may not be paid for another six weeks because of the delay in payroll. Previously this meant we turned to agencies to get staff. But agencies are very expensive. It’s much cheaper in an already squeezed margin to get our existing employees to do those shifts.

We’re also aware that in terms of getting paid, there’s no one size fits all. We have people who are paid monthly and are quite happy being paid monthly, alongside people who desperately need access cash-flow more frequently.

 

Were there any barriers to implementing?

There were some initial stereotypes from our senior executive sponsors. There was some real discomfort around whether we were just tech-enabling people to get into debt quicker and that wasn’t what we wanted to facilitate. So, our approach was always going to be very prudent in safeguarding against the possibility of that taking place.

The technology was pretty new to the market and Bupa is a well-established company. We don’t necessarily like being trail blazers, we like tried and tested models. Because this concept was new, the data points available to build a business case needed a little bit of imagination and contextualisation to our sector to understand what that cost benefit forecast would be and get that internal buy-in. 

Once we got over those hurdles, the introduction of the technology was straight forward.


How has earned wage access impacted Bupa’s business? 

We realised our financial return on investment within the first quarter which is fantastic. It landed into open arms, the take up from the get-go was like nothing we’d experienced with other benefits. So we knew from launch that we were in the right place with this.

Our key objective is to provide a fantastic level of quality care to our residents and the best way of doing that is reducing the number of people that have contact with those residents. If we’re having to deploy agency resources that means there isn’t the same familiar face in front of our residents, it doesn’t create those meaningful relationships and influence those clinical outcomes in a meaningful way. Any initiative that helps us reduce the number of people who come into our homes is really key – especially when we’ve got dementia units and when we’ve got an emphasis on infection control.

Where managers were struggling to get employees to take a shift or stay later, that has really turned around. It’s been a complete game changer for us. Someone can pick up a shift they weren’t planning on doing and then access that money straight away. That kind of scenario is unexpected additional compensation, so they’re not even touching the money they’ll get at the end of the month through payroll. That has created this situation where we’ve got employees who have monthly regular income and rather than getting a second job for an extra cash injection, they’re creating that through the app which is exactly the scenario we were hoping for.

What’s the reception been like from employees?

We surveyed our people within a month of having the app launched and got around 600 replies. We noted a reduction in financial stress, reduction in being distracted at work, which for us is crucial when people are administering medication and giving 1:1 care and we also noted a reduction in the use of payday loans and overdraft facilities. Again this is exactly the positive impact we were trying to have.

Just under half of our employees have enrolled and have the app in their pocket. Of those people, half are using the product to access earned wages. The people who aren’t using the app to access earned wages know they’ve got that emergency buffer if they need it.

In our experience the financial wellbeing space is not just about money changing hands, it’s about providing a safety net and comfort that you are insulated against any emergency and financial shocks. So, there’s a benefit even if people aren’t using the app to stream.

We’ve heard positive stories from a cross section of our colleagues. We’ve heard that a mother of four uses the app to manage her bills and outgoings so she doesn’t have to resort to predatory lenders – something she has had to do in the past. Then we’ve got a young man who is still living at home and probably leaning into the bank of mum and dad a little bit more than he should be, and he’s using the app to create his own financial independence. We’re talking about something that really does go across the demographics which is fantastic.

It’s all good news from our perspective. Getting that sweet spot between meeting business objectives while colleagues are getting financial wellness support has been a real game changer.


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Simple steps to set up earned wage access

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