IIBN Member Adam Hankin is the General Manager for Wagestream in Ireland. We asked Adam in an interview to tell us in his own words what his company Wagestream does.
For more information about Wagestream, you can visit the website here https://wagestream.ie/
Wagestream is a fintech app which is revolutionising the way we get paid. It gives employees complete flexibility on when they are paid for work already completed. Wagestream gives employees access to their own earned wages during the pay cycle. They can access their wages as it is earned, instantly and it’s interest free. Whatever amount of money an employee takes during the pay cycle, is then deducted directly from their pay packet at the end of the pay cycle. Importantly, by using Wagestream, the need for the employee to borrow is done away with.
We partner up this innovative fintech solution with a wage tracking and budgeting tool, financial education and a savings scheme to address all elements of financial wellbeing.
What are your main priorities and goals in your role?
Our number 1 goal is to improve employee financial wellbeing. We want to kill off the payday/high interest short-term loan market and stop workers getting into unnecessary debt cycles with overdrafts & credit cards when short term cash flow issues arise. As General Manager for Ireland my main priority is to make the market a success and help as many employees and businesses as possible.
What are your biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges so far have been awareness and inaction. This is a brand new concept that very few people have heard about so getting the word out has been key. The second problem has been businesses who really like the concept but are happy to sit back and see who else adopts it first.
What are the benefits to a business by having Wagestream?
Wagestream is extremely beneficial to employees. Financial stress is the biggest cause of stress in the workplace for employees. Reducing that will have an instant impact on morale, productivity and service levels. By giving your employees financial freedom they give you loyalty in return. We’re a data led business and can see the instant impact on reducing staff turnover (by 10%), increasing hours worked (in a shift environment by 22%) and making it easier to recruit.
How do you keep your team/staff motivated?
This may sound cheesy but the feedback we get from employees using our app is all the motivation you need. You really don’t know how much of an impact financial stress can have on people until you hear the various examples of why they have used Wagestream in a time of need. Some of the stories would bring a tear to your eye.
What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?
Wagestream was the first company in Europe to offer this service so you could say we created a new industry. In Ireland our main challenge is around awareness and getting big brands using our service. In the UK, we have a lot of marquee clients like the NHS, BUPA & Costa Coffee franchises using our service and we can see the momentum that brings.
What new trends are emerging in your industry?
I think open banking will open up multiple opportunities. We’ve already integrated open banking into our platform so our customers can see their banking data and earned wage data all in 1 view. The next iteration of our rollout will give employees lots of opportunities to improve their financial situation, budget better and avoid costly bank fees.
How will CoronaVirus affect you or have you started to feel the effects already?
I’m immensely proud by how we have reacted to COVID-19 so far. The minute the UK & Irish governments announced measures to allow Illness Benefit to kick in from day 1 we developed a way we could pay employees their sick pay from day 1 into their account daily and we would waive fees. We have daily brainstorming sessions on how we can help employees and employers in these times and within 1 week have launched 4 initiatives to help. Who knows what the world will look like after this, but we do know that the financial stress experienced by employees and employers will be huge and lasting and we’re dedicating all our time to finding tech solutions that can help.
How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?
The ultimate success at the moment is hard to define. I’m a believer in setting milestones that once achieved, is success in its own right, but then you move onto the next milestone. The drive to succeed is largely from within, to prove to myself that I can launch and scale an idea that fundamentally changes the one thing that hasn’t changed in nearly 100 years; how we are paid.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?
Have a work ethic that leaves you with no regrets. I look back at my very first business and even though I worked hard I feel I could have worked harder and I’ve always regretted it. I got comfortable with a certain level of revenue and I’ll never make that mistake again. Maximise the opportunity in front of you.
What have been your highlights in business over the past year?
The ultimate highlight has been the feedback from people that are using the app to improve their lives and reduce stress. Secondary to that was witnessing how universally positive the media have responded to Wagestream. They are really behind reducing financial stress for employees and giving an ethical alternative to high interest loans, credit cards and overdrafts.
What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2020?
We plan to grow both in Ireland and the UK but are also launching operations in Spain, Holland and America.
Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?
A household name and the “must have” employee benefit.