Podcast: DailyPay’s Jeanniey Walden on Growth, Employees and the Future of Financial Platforms

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Mark Feffer: Welcome to PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report. I’m Mark Feffer.

My guest today is Jeanniey Walden, the chief innovation and marketing officer at DailyPay. The company’s known for its leadership in on-demand pay, but now it’s looking at other areas where it can apply its technology. And, they just raised half a billion dollars to help them do it.

We’ll talk about that, and more, on this edition of PeopleTech.

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Podcast: @DailyPay is known for its leadership in on-demand pay, but now it’s looking at other areas where it can apply its technology. #HR #HRTech Share on X

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Jeanniey Walden. Welcome to PeopleTech.

You know, a while ago, when we first started talking about you coming in to chat with us, you had just released a new index that was measuring parts of the industry or aspects of DailyPay. Could you tell me about that?

Jeanniey Walden: Sure. So we started out last year when COVID hit with index tracking the decreases in the number of hours that people were being scheduled to work and also the number of people across industries that were being scheduled to work. We wanted to understand the impact that COVID was having on various industries. As COVID continued last June, when we thought we were going to all get back to work, we created a rehire index looking at where were the trends turning in the right direction for the industries that had fallen down. And with our false start last year, that index kind of plateaued and stayed the same.

But now we’ve started to look at it a little differently with our Reopen America Index, where we are aggressively tracking which industries are hiring, but not only that, which time of the month are they hiring and in what local locations. For example, we saw a significant increase in quick serve restaurants hiring to staff and also customer support in Kentucky around the Kentucky Derby. So there’s all of these different trends where the need for staff, while we all know that it’s a nationwide problem, is also hitting certain peaks in different parts of the United States at different times of the year based on how America is reopening.

Mark Feffer: The impact of the index. How do you think it’s going to help?

Jeanniey Walden: The index helps in a few different ways. First and foremost, for a lot of smaller businesses or medium sized businesses, they’re feeling really stressed out because they feel like they can’t hire enough talent to support their business reopening needs and their growth needs. And it first and foremost gives those companies an ability to check against other companies in their industry and also in their area. Maybe a certain QSR, quick service restaurant, is feeling like they just can’t hire enough people in Ohio. And then they look at the index and see, “Oh, this is a problem across all of Ohio, not just for quick serve, but also in hotels and transportation, everyone’s being challenged.”

So that then gives them the ability to look at how they’re attracting talent and make some critical decisions around the types of messaging that they’re putting in market, the types of ads that they’re putting out there. And even, just as importantly, the types of benefits or attracting qualifications. Because if everybody in Ohio is really struggling to hire people, and the demand is very high, that means you just don’t need to be compelling about why someone should work at your McDonald’s or your taco bell. You need to have a compelling statement about why choose the restaurant or quick service industry over a job in the home healthcare space. And I think everybody’s seen during COVID, as people lost their jobs, they took that opportunity to reevaluate where they personally wanted to be from a work balance standpoint, and they often were leaving one industry and starting a new career in a different industry.

Mark Feffer: Now let’s shift gears a bit and talk about something that just happened the other day; DailyPay announced a pretty significant fundraising round, a mix of equity and credit facilities, I think, that totaled about a half a billion dollars. So that’s a lot, obviously. Could you tell me how that came about and where you hope to use that investment and for what?

Jeanniey Walden: Absolutely. Since the beginning of DailyPay’s history, we’ve realized that yes, employees need access to their pay as they earn it, but just solving that problem doesn’t change anything for good. It’s a temporary change and a temporary bandaid on a much larger problem. In reality, what needs to happen is the entire financial system as we know it needs to undergo a massive overhaul. So our mission is to create the next financial system by rewriting all of these invisible rules of money that have been created over the years throughout the financial system, suggesting things like you can only get paid on the 15th and the 30th of the month, or an off-cycle payment must be processed in a certain way, or even tips and rewards need to be captured and kept until the next pay period.

We’re starting with pay, because that makes a big difference on the economy, not only for employees, but also in the back offices for employers. But that’s just the beginning. I think part of this raise that we focused on is fueling the ability for us to create that next financial system and move beyond on demand pay into different areas and ensure that retailers and employees are having the best interaction that they can, and that financial institutions and employees are having the best interaction that they can. So I think you can expect a lot coming out of DailyPay over the next few months and leading into next year as we continue to build that financial system.

Mark Feffer: And could you boil that down to a couple of products for me? I think of DailyPay, I think most people right now still think of DailyPay as facilitator of getting paid. What are some of your new products going to look like? Will they be in retail or other consumer spaces?

Jeanniey Walden: I can’t speak to some of the upcoming products in much detail yet, unfortunately. But I can speak to some of the products that we recently launched that have certainly expanded our focus and this bigger focus on this entire financial system. One of them we just announced at the APA Conference yesterday, and it’s called The Payroll Anomaly Manager. Now, this is a capability that automatically leverages AI and evaluates all of the suggested pay that a person should be receiving, and looking for anomalies to reduce the number of errors in pay that people receive. And this is a problem that every company has across the board all the time. It’s possible that I forgot to clock out and didn’t work for the next three days and somehow my manager didn’t catch it. And all of a sudden, according to the payroll system, I’m supposed to get paid $23,000 when in reality, I’m only supposed to get $500.

Sometimes those types of errors get through. And when they do, the employee receives the money, they may or may not spend it. The employer realizes that they made a mistake, and then they have to try and correct that mistake. And there are just a number of behind the scenes initiatives that take effect. This costs the company lots of time. It can cost the company a lot of money. If it happens in the other direction, if I accidentally clocked out at break and didn’t clock back in for the rest of the week, maybe I get paid $23 when I should have gotten $523. Now you’ve got to run an off cycle payment. Because this has been such a critical need and one of these invisible rules that if it doesn’t get caught in the payroll system, then we just correct it on the backend. It doesn’t need to be that way.

So Payroll Anomaly Manager looks out, looks at algorithms on what I’ve historically received. Looks at everything else that’s happening within the company. “Does any hourly employee ever get a paycheck for $23,000? No. Okay, there’s probably something wrong with this one.” And really goes in there to help stop that before it happens to keep the program as efficient as possible and the employee’s relationship with the company as positive as possible. So that’s one example how you’re starting to see us expand way beyond just the regular pay.

The biggest area and the teaser that I can share with you all revolves around what we’ve deemed as this item called the pay balance. And whenever an employee earns money today, that’s money that they’ve earned that’s rightfully theirs, it counts towards their net worth. But that pay balance that they’ve earned never counts anywhere else until they get their paycheck in the traditional system. So if I open up my banking account today, you can see my checking account balance. You can see my savings account balance. And if someone said, “What’s your net worth?” That’s what they’re looking at. They’re forgetting my pay balance. And for many employees, that pay balance can be a significant piece of their total net worth.

Now, it’s not just about understanding that there’s another one to two, to $3,000 that’s being unaccounted for right now in all of our economic valuations of worth. It’s also money that you should be able to spend as you earn it, not just accessing it and taking it out and putting it in another account or on a pay card and then moving it somewhere else and doing something. That pay balance should be able to be leveraged across any venue at any point in time to help you get the loans so that you can buy a new car, to help you at two in the morning if you get off that late shift in getting the diapers that your family needs. So this pay balance, I think, is probably one of the most powerful elements of DailyPay’s financial technology platform that really is going to unlock a tremendous amount of value for everybody throughout the entire financial system.

Mark Feffer: Could you just tell me how you look on the landscape, the competitive landscape where DailyPay operates? And I’m thinking really right now about the payroll and the HR context of it.

Jeanniey Walden: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.

Mark Feffer: Just how do you view it? What do you think the issues and the opportunities are for you?

Jeanniey Walden: We don’t really see any competitive elements of payroll, HR, retail, banking. We see them all as conduits to creating this incredibly powerful new financial system. I mean, there’s so many untapped opportunities and potentials across all of those venues that we’re just starting to realize and to recognize. And we would have to break them down one by one and this podcast would go on for about six hours. But just starting in the HR space, I don’t think that until recently HR leaders understood the impact that offering DailyPay to perspective candidates had.

But what we’ve shown and what we’ve seen is that people looking for jobs are looking for benefits that companies offer that add value to their lives. Getting access to your pay as soon as you earn it is one of those values. So HR companies that are using the offering of DailyPay in their ads are seeing their jobs fill up 53% faster than if they’re offering jobs without suggesting that there’s a DailyPay element to it. Do I think it’s the holy grail? Probably not. But I think there’s a way that HR can capitalize on it that they hadn’t considered in the past.

The second way for HR is around 401ks. Because DailyPay gives people the ability to access their pay to use it to pay bills or whatever they need if they want to, but also to use it to save, we have all that data and we do share that with our partners. So if we’re seeing in a partner client that a certain group of people are saving money that they’re making every pay period with DailyPay but they’re not leveraging a company’s 401k where there’s a 401k match, it’s a huge opportunity for an HR team to sit down and do more 401k education and look at different solutions around financial counseling. If you’re putting $50 every time you work away in your DailyPay savings account, why not keep 25 available from a liquidity standpoint in your DailyPay savings account, put the other 25 in your company matched 401k, where it makes you $50 and your 50 just turned into 75. So there’s a lot of great opportunities to support all of the different benefits inside a company today.

Mark Feffer: The last question for you is, there’s been a lot of talk about the workplace changing over the last year, hybrid workspaces, more flexible work arrangements, and all of that. It’s a pretty fundamental set of changes that are being discussed. Does it impact you?

Jeanniey Walden: Does it impact DailyPay?

Mark Feffer: Yeah.

Jeanniey Walden: No. Look, one of the interesting things is during COVID everybody’s workplace significantly transformed almost every aspect of it except pay. And for those companies that came in and said, “Hey, we’ve transformed where people work, how they work, how we digitize our processes. We should be looking into transforming pay as well.” Kudos to them. Kroger stepped up and really did a fantastic job by offering this to all of their employees during COVID and so did a number of other of our large clients. And we love that. I think for us, it just opens up more opportunity to complete that transformation by considering the aspect of pay as well.

Mark Feffer: Well, Jeanniey, thank you very much for being here today.

Jeanniey Walden: Thanks for having me on. Hope to talk soon.

Mark Feffer: Me too.

I’ve been talking with Jeanniey Walden, chief innovation and marketing officer at DailyPay.

And we’ve been talking on PeopleTech, the podcast of the HCM Technology Report, a publication of RecruitingDaily.

This edition’s brought to you by Criteria.

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PeopleTech is part of Evergreen Podcasts. To see all of their programs, visit www.evergreenpodcasts.com.

And to keep up with HR technology, visit the HCM Technology Report every day. We’re the most trusted source of news in the HR tech industry. Find us at www-dot-hcm-technology-report-dot-com. I’m Mark Feffer.

Image: DailyPay

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