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HR Leaders: Jennifer Smith, HR Director of Nazareth Home

By Dixie Wright on January 1, 2018

Jennifer Smith, HR Director of Nazareth Home—two elder care facilities in Louisville, Kentucky—is inspired by uplifting employees every day. Jennifer has over 26 years of experience working in HR to which she’s found PayActiv to be the most influential benefit she’s ever offered to employees in her career. She tells us the impact PayActiv has had on Nazareth Home employees and explains why this benefit works perfectly for their facilities.

Jennifer has over 26 years of experience working in human resources supporting employees in every facet of their lives. Although timidly at first, the PayActiv benefit quickly won the company over. She couldn’t believe the number of enrollments and usage they were seeing within only 90 days of going live with PayActiv. She tells us she’s never seen such an impact on their staff in the 16 years she's worked at Nazareth Home.

 

Why did Nazareth Home feel they could use the PayActiv Benefit?

Jennifer says she’s very aware that, unfortunately, many Nazareth Home employees live paycheck-to-paycheck. She explains the ways she saw need for the benefit in the company:

“I see financial stress here at Nazareth Home on a daily basis. It’s our job to uplift and empower our staff—because truthfully, we can’t survive without each and every one of them in our facilities. We believed PayActiv could help us do that by giving our employees a way to manage their finances effectively and avoid additional debt.”

Nazareth Home also wanted to help employees avoid taking out high-interest loans or using predatory check cashing places, a problem which finds staff in ongoing debt traps:

“We saw PayActiv as an incredible resource but also as a way to help employees not get into any more financial trouble. For a low paid employee it’s common for them to think, “It’s just a loan—I can pay it back in 30 or 60 days, I have all sorts of time to resolve it!” But sadly, this turns into much more of a mess (more often than not). We anticipated PayActiv could be a way to help keep them on track and become financially self-reliant.”

Was it difficult to create awareness on the benefit? What was the reaction/response?

Nazareth Home holds town hall meetings to announce new events happening within the company (including benefits like PayActiv). Yet Jennifer tells us that other than the town hall meeting to announce the benefit and an email blast, the grapevine effect handled the rest:

“We get about 10 or 15 silent leaders who dip their toe into the new product and then, guess what: You have the grapevine effect. It didn’t take long for it to happen, either. Sohail (PayActiv’s CTO) was also here for the rollout and put up some wonderful posters around the facility, and that was our marketing! Ultimately, you just have a few first employees who like the benefit and then you don’t even have to train people after that.”

Once employees started to leverage the benefit many became fans of PayActiv:

“It took about 30 days to figure out that the benefit was working fine and everything. Then we started hearing positive feedback. Employees were saying comments like, ‘This is so awesome, you have no idea!’ Or, ‘This benefit prevented me from going to do what I used to do in a financial emergency!’ (which meant going to get a high-interest loan).”

Do you have a story about an employee in financial stress you’d like to share?

Jennifer happily tells us a story of how PayActiv is making the desired difference:

“One employee has come to me and honestly said, ‘I don’t think I can ever leave or go to another company unless they have PayActiv.’ And I asked, ‘Why?’ And she explained, ‘I truly had no ability to manage my money before. Every other week I’d have either my lights turned off or my cell phone or something. PayActiv gave me the ability to better manage my money and also save more because I now can get paid on a weekly basis.’”

She also explains the effect of employees avoiding payday loans or other high-interest lenders:

“Now our employees have peace of mind knowing they’re still managing their finances, but they also know they’re not going to be tacked on with all this interest to access funds that they just needed to get by that week. They feel in control of their money for once.”

From an employer’s perspective, have you seen any direct/indirect benefit to your organization like in morale? How is it different from other programs?

Recruiting morale-boosting benefits is a strategic move for any business, and Jennifer describes how creating financially well employees with PayActiv has increased their workplace morale. She also describes how great PayActiv’s customer service team has been for their company:

“PayActiv has greatly affected our morale. When you see people smiling with a solution that’s easy and they share that with you, it’s amazing. PayActiv is positive and it’s easy. You also can’t discount the customer service that PayActiv provides. It is absolutely awesome. Any issues are resolved so quickly—oftentimes in 5 quick minutes—and they will even call us! They go beyond the call of duty to ensure great service every time.”

Would you recommend PayActiv to other employers looking for a financial wellness program for their employees?

“Absolutely, and I already have. I can tell you this, PayActiv is the most influential benefit that I’ve ever offered in my career. The impact has been tremendous for us.”

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