Financial Wellness
October 21, 2021

Measuring the Impact of Your Earned Wage Access Benefit

No matter what industry you’re in, earned wage access (EWA)—granting employees access to a portion of their wages ahead of payday if needed—is becoming a crucial benefit to offer your workforce. On-demand pay options like EWA have gained momentum during a tight labor market, proving to help companies stay one step ahead of the competition and procure more talent. When you’re choosing an EWA program, however, consider how you’ll measure its success once it’s up and running. How will you know EWA is “working” for your company?  

We've put together this short guide to help you measure the success of your EWA program. Looking at these four metrics can help you quickly show key stakeholders the impact EWA is having on your organization.

1. Ease of use

Implementing an earned wage access benefit isn’t meaningful unless employees can actually figure out how to use it. Choose an EWA provider that has a proven track record of quality customer service and dedicated onboarding—ideally working with someone who can offer plenty of time helping you get the program up and running. 

It’s also smart to go with an EWA provider who is free for both your company and your employees. Many times, employees are hesitant to use a so-called “financial wellness benefit” if it charges them fees for accessing their own money. (Psst: Branch has always been free for companies and employees!)

Once your EWA program is live, don't just look at adoption rates; you can also survey your employees and ask how easy to use the feature has been. Is it straightforward to navigate? Are you having to field EWA questions yourself, or does the provider handle employee concerns?

2. Attraction & retention

Since faster access to wages is such a highly desired benefit right now, your EWA program should help boost attraction and retention at your company. (Be sure to promote earned wage access as a benefit on any hiring pages or job descriptions!) How quickly are you able to fill open roles after advertising your EWA benefit as opposed to before your company offered EWA? You can also gauge sentiment by asking new hires how much EWA played a role in their decision to join your company. 

Next, look at your retention rate. Give EWA some time once it’s in use, and look at your numbers at the end of a six to twelve month period. Have you been able to retain more employees? In general, we’ve found that earned wage access can boost retention by as much as 36%

3. Engagement

Studies show that financially stressed employees are typically less engaged and less productive at work. That lack of engagement impacts your bottom line. In fact, a survey of more than 10,000 Americans found that businesses are losing $500 billion per year due to employees’ personal financial stress. 

Ideally, offering earned wage access should help alleviate some of that financial stress, helping people focus more when they’re clocked in. This boon in employee productivity can also benefit overall business results. Look at the metrics you currently use to measure productivity: examine the numbers before implementing EWA to get a baseline, and revisit them after your EWA program has been in effect for several months. Also, don’t forget to get a read on employee morale. Are people more or less motivated and engaged at work? Consider an informal survey to gauge workplace sentiment. 

4. Financial wellness

Things like employee retention and productivity are great for your bottom line, but if the goal was to offer a financial wellness benefit, you have to also measure whether or not it’s improving people’s financial health. Survey your employees after implementing your EWA program to gauge whether or not it’s impacted their financial health. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), financial wellness includes four aspects:

+ Control over daily and monthly finances

+ The potential to absorb a financial shock

+ Being on track to meet financial goals

+ The freedom to make choices and enjoy life

(Learn more about the CFPB’s opinion on earned wage access and how Branch’s model aligns with their guidance.)

Do your employees feel like they have more or less control over their finances? Are they better prepared to handle a financial emergency or unexpected bill? Ask your employees to rank each of these factors to help you determine how effective your earned wage access offering has been. 

Gauging employee sentiment

Monitoring the above metrics and gathering data through research, surveys, and general observation can help stakeholders evaluate an EWA program's success. Above all, having open communication with your employees can allow you to measure the impact of all your benefits on a regular basis. To learn more about Branch’s earned wage access feature, click below. 

Learn more about EWA

Continue reading