Fourth, the leading global software provider for the retail and hospitality sectors, has expanded its partnership with Wagestream to help improve the financial wellbeing of retail workers as the sector reopens.
The new partnership will mean retailers using Fourth’s workforce management solutions can also support staff by giving them access to Wagestream – the charity-backed financial wellbeing platform. Proven by data to reduce financial stress, and the knock-on impact for retailers and their staff, the Wagestream app gives employees a set of financial tools to get back on the front foot with money – allowing them to track, access, save and learn about managing their earned wages, throughout the month. The app also includes Wagestream’s market-leading Earned Wage Access (EWA) feature, which is proven by data to reduce reliance on predatory forms of credit and boost financial resilience.
The expansion builds on the partnership Fourth and Wagestream have had since 2018, which has helped reduce financial stress for thousands of hospitality workers – and, in turn, led to faster recruitment, greater employee engagement and better talent retention, for their employers.
Among Fourth’s hospitality client base, around 60% of employees typically sign up to use Wagestream – a significant proportion, when compared to other employee benefits that see an average adoption rate of 12%.
Road to recovery
As the retail sector reopens, Fourth expects there will be a strong appetite for workforce management and financial wellbeing tools among retailers to support and uplift employees. The FCA reported in February that the number of UK adults with low financial resilience has increased from 10.7 million to 14.2 million, while the CIPD’s Reward Management Survey found that 90% of retail and hospitality employers say the pandemic negatively affected their employees’ financial wellbeing. Moreover, mental ill health in the retail sector is set to cost businesses between £777 and £989 per employee per year, with financial wellbeing representing a key part of the problem.
Wagestream’s most recent Impact Assessment, published with guidance from charity and social impact partners, found that providing employees with a financial wellbeing platform can have a significant and positive impact in tackling these issues. Among workers using Wagestream, 77% feel less stressed and 72% feel more in control of their money; the vast majority (82%) also feel more positive about their employer as a result, and almost half (46%) say it has stopped them feeling distracted by money worries at work.
Sebastien Sepierre, Managing Director – EMEA, Fourth, said: “A huge proportion of the UK retail workforce has dealt with furloughing or redundancy during the pandemic, which creates massive amounts of in-work financial stress for employees and their employers alike. It’s more important than ever that retail businesses keep their people happy and engaged as they move into this recovery period, and we look forward to helping them reduce their employees’ financial stress. Wagestream is the only financial wellbeing platform backed by charities, proven by data, and built around the employer, and we are delighted to bring our retail clients the same benefits we’ve seen it create for our hospitality client base.”
Peter Briffett, CEO of Wagestream, said: “In-work financial stress is an invisible, urgent problem that is compounded by the outdated way most of us access, save, and manage our wages today. It impacts the majority of retail workers, as well as their employers – and the data now shows that giving people greater power over their pay, as part of a well-managed financial wellbeing programme, is the solution. We look forward to building on our presence in the retail sector and helping more people build up their financial resilience, through our partnership with Fourth.”
The partnership marks the wider expansion of Fourth’s human capital management offering into the retail sector, extending on the growth the company has seen in the hospitality industry over its 20+ year legacy.
The company provides an end-to-end suite of human capital management solutions comprising core HR, workforce management and planning, payroll processing, T&A, mobile collaboration, and engagement. Fourth also provides a comprehensive inventory management, recipe engineering, and purchase-to-pay suite powered by mobile applications. These are coupled with the industry’s most complete data and analytics suite to give operators the actionable insights they need to control costs, scale profitability, improve employee engagement, and maintain compliance. Fourth serves more than 7,000 customers across 120,000 locations globally.