Sun Com Mobile's Secret to Employee Retention
With near record-low unemployment rates, most U.S. businesses are struggling to retain employees, and perhaps no industry is more challenged in this area than retail. The average turnover rate in the retail industry is just above 60 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.
To combat high turnover rates, retailers are offering employees perks such as PayActiv Benefit, an employer-sponsored financial wellness benefit that includes flexible and instant access to earned but unpaid wages together with a growing suite of additional services like Uber rides, Amazon.com purchases, savings and budgeting, financial counseling, and literacy tools. One such retailer is Sun Com Mobile, a Cricket Wireless authorized retailer, with more 230 stores across seven states.
In this interview with Total Retail, Toby Priddy, director of human resources for Sun Com Mobile, discusses how an earned wage access program is helping the company to retain its employees.
Total Retail: What challenges has Sun Com Mobile experienced with employee turnover, and what factors have contributed to those challenges?
Toby Priddy: Just like many retail companies, we experience a high turnover rate. Some of the turnover challenges we face stem from the national unemployment rate being at an all-time low, leaving us with a smaller prospective employee pool from which to recruit. It can also be difficult to find quality employees with the right set of skills and motivations that make them a good fit for a challenging sales role.
TR: How has Sun Com Mobile tried to improve employee retention?
TP: At Sun Com, we offer benefits packages that stand out among competing wireless dealers as a key strategy for boosting our employee retention. When designing these packages, we focus on identifying benefits that will improve our employees’ daily lives overall, including their personal finances. We partner with great companies like PayActiv to help our employees’ dollars go a bit further between paychecks by giving them access to savings and budgeting tools, financial literacy materials, discounts on prescriptions, online bill pay services, and 24/7 access to their earned but unpaid wages.
TR: Why is earned wage access a program that Sun Com Mobile has invested in, and why is PayActiv the right partner?
TP: We offer PayActiv as a way for our employees to bridge the gap between paychecks. We're very fortunate to partner with a company like PayActiv to financially empower our employees with the freedom to access their earned wages as needed. We know that our employees sometimes struggle to make it between paychecks, and this can be incredibly stressful. We want to help mitigate that stress while respecting our employees’ privacy and autonomy. With PayActiv, our employees are granted full control over their personal finances and are able to access their earned wages when they need it, without having to go to the company and ask for money or turn to other costly avenues.
TR: How is Sun Com Mobile promoting the existence of its earned wage access program, and what impact has it had on employee recruitment?
TP: During our onboarding process we make sure all employees know about the PayActiv program and the ways it can improve their financial wellness overall, including between paychecks. The program helps round out our employee benefits offerings and distinguishes our company from other wireless dealers that are also trying to recruit top-tier talent. Providing earned wage access demonstrates that we care about our employees and their families holistically, not just during the time they're clocked in.
TR: What are the business benefits that Sun Com Mobile is realizing as a result of partnering with PayActiv and its earned wage access program?
TP: Implementing PayActiv has helped increase engagement among our employees. When an employee falls on hard times, we've found that they sometimes need a helping hand to bridge the timing gap between expenses and payday, but may be reluctant to ask the company for financial help. With PayActiv, employees are able to correct their paycheck timing issue independently, and have access to the money they have already earned.
TR: What advice would you have for other retailers that are considering rolling out an earned wage access program for their employees?
TP: There's no better time than now to give your employees the tools to take control of their personal finances. A program like PayActiv can only help drive the engagement of your employees by letting them know that their employer cares about their needs. You trust your employees to handle their workplace responsibilities and have a role in the company’s finances — it only makes sense for them to have full control over their own household finances.
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