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Interview: Toby Priddy, HR Director, Sun Com Mobile

By Dixie Wright on February 26, 2018

HR Leaders: Interviews series

A more recent PayActiv adopter, Sun Com Mobile, is already seeing the benefits of employee financial wellness. The organization’s HR director Toby Priddy tells us how it’s gone thus far. He especially highlights the recruitment benefits they've seen and the pluses now available for their new hires. Before, employees had to wait up to 4 weeks for their first paycheck. Now with PayActiv new hires see the fruits of their labor almost immediately and are more secure sooner.

About Toby

Toby has worked in HR for over 14 years and has been with Sun Com Mobile for over 2. You may as well say Toby started from the ground up in HR. As soon as he could crawl, Toby was in the office as his mother worked in HR running an office for a small insulation company for 32 years. Being able to help people is what inspires his work today: being able to get the answers that no one else can, or being able to direct employees to the right people to find answers which help their lives.

Why did you think your employees might need the PayActiv program?

Sun Com Mobile knows that quite possibly the highest stress for new hires is waiting for their first paycheck. This is especially true for Sun Com employees as, due to the way their pay cycle is set up, new hires sometimes don’t see income until 4 weeks after their first day of work.

Toby explains why this made them think PayActiv could be a great program for their company:

4 weeks is a long time for a person to go without a paycheck. We were given this information about PayActiv and could easily see that there’d be a great need for PayActiv’s earned wage access service in our organization. Our new hires would then be able to access their earned income before their first scheduled paycheck.

He also tells us why current employees may use the PayActiv earned wage access service:

I would say current employees would use the program due to a bill that they overlooked or a payment that they forgot to make. [PayActiv] is a great benefit to them as well. They may say, ‘I don’t have the money right now, I can’t wait until my next paycheck, but now we have the means to live and even flourish until the next paycheck is taken care of.’

Do you have a story of someone you know who’s in financial stress you’d like to share?

Toby shares a story of an employee who was in dire financial straits after Hurricane Harvey hit, and how with the help of the company and PayActiv, the employee was saved from severe loss:

We had an individual that was in danger of losing their house and their car after Hurricane Harvey hit. With the help of PayActiv, and some of the help on the company’s part, we were able to get the employee everything they needed at the time in order to save them from going into foreclosure of their house or repossession on their car. They still live that paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, but they’re in a better place now.

When Sun Com announced that PayActiv was coming or had gone live, what was the reaction/response from employees? Was it hard to market the service/create awareness?

Sun Com Mobile employees were highly curious about the new benefit coming their way when PayActiv was announced in the company and were quick to jump on the opportunity:

There were a lot of questions at first: what is this? How does this work? What can we do in order to sign up for it? With the help of PayActiv sending the marketing material out to the 174 stores we had open at the time, we were able to easily educate our employee workforce. And from the looks of it, we had some pretty dramatic initial enrollment rates. We were proud that there was really kind of a need out there and we were able to service it.

He goes on to tell us the adoption of PayActiv in the company spread quickly, too:

It wasn’t hard to create awareness at all. Once the word got out there that we had this service available to the company, it kind of spread like wildfire. And any questions that anyone had they would either just ask their manager or GM or even call HR directly.

From an employer’s perspective, have you seen any direct/indirect impact to your organization like in turnover rates or morale?

Like with most employers and most new employees, it’s a joint struggle between employees being stressed while waiting for their first paycheck and employers needing a focused new hire. But Toby saw stress dissipate for new employees and watched morale increase with PayActiv:

I would definitely say the morale has come up because of PayActiv. When we first let an individual know they had to wait four weeks to get their first paycheck, they were very discouraged. But with PayActiv you can see that kind of uptake in morale when they realize, yes, they do have to wait those four weeks to get their first paycheck, but they can borrow into it much sooner than that. They were very happy about that benefit.

Toby also mentions that our commitment to user support makes PayActiv different from other programs:

The user-friendliness and the education pieces you provide—whether it be by phone calls, whether it be by website, or just being able to send out that flyer information—also makes PayActiv stand out from the crowd of other financial wellness programs. It’s just so much easier to work with than ones I’ve actually dealt with in the past.

Would you recommend PayActiv to another employer looking for a financial wellness program for their employers?

Absolutely. I don’t see any company that would not benefit from offering PayActiv as it is no cost to the employer and it’s nothing but an uptake on the employees and the morale it provides. I don’t see any downside whatsoever from the PayActiv program.

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