February 8, 2024

Measuring the ROI of Earned Wage Access: How to Assess the Value for Your Organization

By Ryan Ashton

Measuring return on investment

By Ryan Ashton


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Measuring return on investment

Earned wage access (EWA) has emerged as a table-stakes offering that organizations are adding to their employee benefits portfolios. As companies increasingly integrate EWA solutions into their business processes, a critical question arises: How can a return on investment (ROI) be quantified, to fairly assess its tangible value for organizations?

The Landscape of Earned Wage Access

Before delving into ROI measurement, it’s crucial to understand the landscape of earned wage access. As a reminder, EWA allows employees to access a portion of their earned wages before their regular payday. This flexibility is designed to provide financial relief and improve cash flow management for workers, directly reducing the reliance on high-interest payday loans or other financial stressors. But EWA also has real business value to organizations, in the form of improved HR metrics and other quantifiable data points.

Defining ROI in the Context of EWA

ROI, in the context of earned wage access, extends beyond mere financial metrics. While traditional ROI focuses on monetary gains or cost savings, the impact of EWA programs encompasses a broader spectrum. To comprehensively assess the value, businesses need to consider factors such as employee satisfaction, retention rates, and overall workplace morale.

Key Metrics for ROI Measurement

At Instant, we work with our clients to clearly define the key metrics that the program will be measured against, and continually track these metrics to validate program success. Some of the metrics we measure in collaboration with our clients:

Financial Impact

Begin by evaluating the direct financial implications of the EWA program. Measure the reduction in employee turnover costs and potential savings from decreased absenteeism. Quantify the decrease in demand for payday loans or other short-term financial solutions, providing a tangible monetary value.

Productivity and Engagement

Assess the impact of EWA on employee productivity and engagement. Consider conducting surveys or analyzing performance metrics to gauge whether employees utilizing EWA demonstrate increased focus and job satisfaction. Higher engagement levels often translate to improved productivity and contribute to the overall ROI.

Retention Rates

Employee turnover can be a significant expense for businesses. Evaluate how EWA influences retention rates within your organization. Reduced turnover not only saves recruitment and training costs but also fosters a more stable and experienced workforce, positively impacting the company’s bottom line.

Employee Satisfaction

Implementing regular employee satisfaction surveys can provide qualitative insights into the perceived value of EWA. Understanding how employees view the program, its impact on their financial well-being, and overall job satisfaction is crucial for assessing the program’s success.

Establishing a Comprehensive Framework

To measure the ROI of earned wage access comprehensively, it’s essential to establish a structured framework. This involves:

Baseline Assessment

Conduct a thorough assessment of pre-EWA conditions, measuring turnover rates, shift compliance, employee financial stress indicators, and existing financial support programs.

Implementation Tracking

Monitor the implementation of the EWA program and track key metrics over time. This includes changes in employee behaviors, utilization rates, and feedback.

Comparison Analysis

Compare the baseline assessment with post-implementation data to identify trends and correlations. Evaluate changes in financial stress indicators, employee satisfaction, and overall workforce dynamics.

Continuous Improvement

ROI measurement shouldn’t be a one-time endeavor. Implement mechanisms for continuous improvement, gathering ongoing feedback, and adjusting the program based on evolving employee needs and company goals.

Realizing the Human Capital Value

While financial ROI is crucial, it’s equally important to recognize the human capital value of EWA. Improved employee well-being, increased loyalty, and a positive workplace culture contribute to the intangible benefits that may not be fully captured in financial metrics.

Measuring the ROI of earned wage access requires a multifaceted approach that considers both quantitative and qualitative factors. By assessing the financial impact, productivity and engagement metrics, retention rates, and employee satisfaction, businesses can gain a comprehensive understanding of the value EWA brings to their organization. Implementing a structured framework for measurement and continuous improvement positions companies to not only enhance the financial well-being of their employees but also make informed decisions about the continued optimization of EWA programs. As the workplace benefits landscape evolves, the ability to measure and articulate the ROI of earned wage access becomes instrumental in shaping strategic and impactful employee benefits strategies.

If you have questions about the value of earned wage access programs to your organization, we’d love to help. Drop us a note at instant.co/hello and let’s chat.

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