Keeping retail hourly workers engaged and motivated is a tough challenge at any time, and the stresses on frontline workers from the coronavirus pandemic have not made it any easier. But OSL Retail Services, Walmart’s wireless partner, has found success with an on-demand pay offering that has quickly achieved an 80% adoption rate by its employees.
During an Oct. 28 webinar titled A Motivated Workforce: The Key to Success for Holiday 2020, now available on demand, speakers revealed why the on-demand pay benefit has proven so appealing, as well as lessons for other retailers seeking hourly workforce “perks” that will really make a positive difference in employees’ lives.
Webinar presenters included:
- Cynthia Reale, VP of Human Resources, North America for OSL Retail Services, which hires 300 to 500 employees a month;
- Jeanniey Walden, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at DailyPay; and
- Andrew Gaffney, Editorial Director, Retail TouchPoints.
Reale shared insights regarding what
they’ve been doing to keep their employees safe, motivated and productive. Part
of OSL’s strategy to help ease worker stress includes on-demand pay using
DailyPay, empowering employees to better plan for the future and pay bills on
time — a capability that’s of extra importance during these challenging times.
Heading into the holiday season, 70%
of Americans working for hourly wages are struggling to make ends meet due
to ramifications of the global pandemic, according to a survey conducted online
from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2020 by The Harris Poll on behalf of DailyPay. Among
the 2,042 adults aged 18 or older surveyed, 47% are
taking extra steps this year, compared to last, to make ends meet: 22%
are working extra hours, and 18% are taking
The survey also foundthat
45% are looking for an on-demand pay benefit to help them with their
finances. Among this group:
- 21% would be able to manage holiday spending better;
- 17% would be able to make monthly payments on purchases
- 13% would require fewer loans to make holiday purchases.
“I wasn’t surprised by the number of people who were
struggling,” Walden said regarding the stats from their poll. “But the thing
that struck me most out of this entire study was a reliance on the employer — 47%
of people who took this poll are turning to their employer to look for advice
on better financial management, and some sense of financial relief over the
holidays, so that they can avoid taking a second job. [That reliance] then
turns into offering things like on-demand pay, holiday bonuses or increasing
the hourly minimum during the holidays. The revelation that I see is since
COIVD, the employee has started to really see the employer as the leader in
supporting their financial wellness.”
Employees Displayed Immediate
Interest in On-Demand Pay Option
At the beginning of 2020, when Reale joined OSL, she was exploring
ways to increase services for employees, and began looking into on-demand pay
for the company’s 3,000-person employee base. While OSL was in the midst
of deciding on implementing a plan, COVID-19’s debut created uncertainty about
deploying a new system.
“I remember thinking, ‘Is this the right time
to go out with a new system when we don’t know what we’re dealing with?’ But
the more I thought about it, it was the exact time that we should have gone out
with this, because employees were having problems getting access to the funds
and they had expenses that they’d never seen before,” Reale said. “The day that
it went live, by noon we had 900 employees already registered for DailyPay.
So we knew that this was what they needed. It was satisfying to know that we
were able to do it and do it when it was needed most.”
When OSL first deployed the service, communication with
employees was key. “We need to make sure that when we’re rolling something out
that there is a good story to it, and that we’re speaking to the employees,” Reale
said. “The vast majority of our employees are millennials, so we decided to
make a video and we just had fun with it. We were looking for some stuff to
just change the dynamic in the conversation in the middle of what everybody was
dealing with. The millennials gravitated to it because it spoke to them, it
talked about ‘You are in control of your own time and the access to funds.’”
Now, OSL has 63% of its employees using DailyPay
on a regular basis — and the feedback is always positive, Reale said. “We hear real-life
stories of how it’s improved their situation of financial access and just being
able to address those things that come up in the middle of everyday life, and
everyday life is different for us all now. It’s been a huge positive experience
for everybody,” she added.
Additionally, the on-demand pay service
has helped OSL in the recruitment and onboarding process for new employees as
well as with worker retention, a perennial problem in retail. Since launching
Daily Pay in April, the company surveyed its employees to get direct feedback,
and the results continue to be positive. A majority (80.2%) of employees
said they are more able to plan for the future and pay their regular bills on
time since using DailyPay.
The service also has helped improve
the employee-employer bond, with 80.6% of employees reporting that their
opinion of OSL has improved since the company implemented DailyPay. And a
whopping 97.5% of DailyPay users said they are either likely or highly
likely to recommend the service to a coworker, friend or family member.
“A lot of the comments that we
heard back from employees were heartwarming, like some people saying, ‘I’m
helping my mom who was affected by COVID,’ ‘I’m using this to pay for my
brother’s textbooks when he went back to school because he didn’t have a summer
job,’” Reale said. “You realize it’s more than just having cash in hand. People
are using it to really help out others, whether it be family or even coworkers.
So there’s just so many positive things that come out of that. I hear about it
every day when I’m talking to individuals, but the survey results just
magnified it and provided us with good data that it’s making a difference for