London Tech Week Showcases Innovation

Category Archives: Blog

London Tech Week Showcases Innovation

London Tech Week which happened last week isn’t the city’s only opportunity to showcase the high calibre of innovation that takes place in the capital. New technologies emerge from every corner of the city at every time of day and night.

But Tech Week is rightfully a major event on the tech world’s calendar. This festival of innovation acts as a significant marker – an annual reminder of just how well this city excels in recognising the ways technology can transform areas that are ripe for change and make that change happen.

Every year it’s astonishing to see just how quickly technology can move in just 12 months. From a seed of an idea, to a fully developed technology that is facilitating real tangible impact. It feels like a matter of months since the inception of Hastee Pay and we’re already providing an impact for a range of clients using our on-demand payment technology to benefit their workers. By removing the struggle of individuals waiting long periods for pay that they have already earned, Hastee Pay’s solution enables businesses give workers instant access to the wages with zero impact on companies’ cashflow.

London Tech Week shines a spotlight on the city which is undoubtedly a world heavyweight when it comes to developing tech, from the astounding number of the start-ups that have emerged from the boroughs to the east, to the tech ‘unicorns’ (a private company valued at more than $1 billion/£745 million) that call this city home.

As founder of Hastee Pay, it’s inspiring to learn that the UK is home to 37 percent of Europe’s total unicorn tech companies worth a combined total of $23 billion. But what makes London, or the wider UK, such a desired destination that even Europe’s largest tech companies want to nestle in among the start-ups?

Investors have grown wise to the innovation that’s taking place both in London and in pockets across the UK. Of Europe’s top ten VC funds, seven have set their roots down in the UK, recognising the sheer magnitude of potential in our homegrown tech industry. This is all cause for celebration, and London Tech Week is the perfect platform for this.

While London Tech Week is just five days, it’s worth noting that Hastee Pay’s innovative technology is about disrupting how workers are paid forever.

Hastee Pay at CIPD HR Show

On 13th June, our very own James Herbert, founder of Hastee Pay, delivered a speech celebrating disruptive technologies and questioning the outdated and archaic traditional ways people at this year’s CIPD HR Software and Recruitment Show.

The show which took place at Olympia London between 13 – 14 June, is a key event in the calendars of HR businesses and HR technology vendors alike. As a provider of disruptive technology that enables workers to access the pay they’ve earned immediately without affecting business cashflow, Hastee Pay represented innovation in HR alongside the likes of Capita, Experian, Glassdoor and Sage People.

James’ speech, titled “Revolutionising the Way People Are Paid”, explored why disruption is so vital in our ever-changing society, highlighting how the likes of Amazon, PayPal and Uber have revolutionised outmoded conventions, bringing them up to date with the standards and expectations we have come to live by in the 21st century.

In his presentation, he shared the Hastee Pay ethos that agile, forward thinking businesses must not shy away from disruptive technologies and should instead be proactively challenging traditional conventions and questioning whether they really work for the business or its workers.

James highlighted how financial wellbeing in the workforce impacts business agility, and how this in turn is being threatened by the mounting financial burdens currently experienced by younger generations who will begin to make up the majority of the workforce in the coming years.

The presentation included key insights into the current state of financial wellbeing in the workplace from Hastee Pay’s new research report ‘The Future of Workers’ Pay’, drawing from fresh data gathered from interviews with 1001 workers in part-time, full-time and temporary workers in the UK.

Providing valuable insights for HR professionals, the research questions how many are struggling with personal finances, if they have considered/used payday loans and what if anything are their employers doing to address this issue which is affecting their financial wellbeing and the success of the businesses where they work.

In his presentation which was well received, James also explored how flexible payment options can be instrumental in alleviating financial pressures and promoting financial wellbeing in the workforce, with reference to Hastee Pay’s achievements helping a leading event crew provider attract and retain and stronger workforce through flexible on-demand payments.

For further information on Hastee Pay’s research report, ‘The Future of Workers’ Pay’ please email hello@hasteepay.com

FCA high interest consultation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday delivered an outline of plans to reduce the number of people using high interest credit options such as home-collected loans, in-store credit cards and rent-to-own schemes. There are 3 million people in the UK currently using high cost credit schemes and 19 million people regularly have to use an overdraft. While the plans put forward do represent a step in the right direction, simply capping prices or issuing mobile alerts fall short of the level of action that is required to make real change.

These guidelines will not be enough to prevent people paying extortionate fees to borrow before payday and experiencing severe financial stress. Reducing the reliance on high-cost credit is only possible if the people who are using these services are fully informed about the dangers of these schemes and made aware of what alternatives are available to them. After all, the FCA themselves reported that in general, consumers had a poor understanding of their own loan repayments.

Debt should not be a taboo issue; we urge politicians, institutions, businesses and employers to embrace initiatives that allow those who need financial support to access it without getting themselves into situations that can quickly spiral out of control.

Fortunately, technology can be of great use to those who need access to funds before the end of the month. Granting access to income as it is earned is a far more powerful and fair solution, avoiding the negative cycle of inflated repayments and spiralling debt. Technology allows us to control every second of our lives, but staff are still having to wait until payday for the cash they’ve earned.

Hastee Pay changes that, offering a revolutionary new way for people to manage their finances. We allow employees to receive pay immediately it is earned, making waiting for payday a thing of the past.

Financial freedom improves wellbeing and productivity, benefiting both staff and their employers (with no cost to companies and zero impact on their cash flow).

AdobeStock_107091165-1

Is disruptive tech worth the investment?

First seen in Financial Director in May 2018

Businesses must embrace disruptive technologies, but first they must learn to recognise the traits of meaningful disruption says Peter Ingram, our very own CTO.

Disruption is more than just a buzzword, it’s happening all around us. PayPal revolutionised the way we pay for things online and transfer money with friends and family. Uber has changed the way we travel in cities. Challenger banks such as Monzo are shaking up the archaic banking system with a streamlined digital approach. Open banking is enabling data to be shared securely between multiple accounts belonging to any one person, bringing us greater visibility and control over our finances.

But it’s not just about technology for the consumer. Emerging technologies are set to reshape the way businesses operate. It makes complete sense when you think about it. Take payroll, for example. The traditional pay cycle simply doesn’t fit comfortably with the way we live in 2018. It’s an area that is ripe for disruption.

The wellbeing, attendance and retention of the worker is becoming increasingly important to businesses today. If businesses can take steps to alleviate pressures in their workers’ personal lives, they can leverage these workplace perks to reduce the spend on recruiting and staff turnover.

More than 50 percent of all organisations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups, according to a recent Willis Towers Watson study. Research by Kronos and Future Workplace finds that 87 percent of HR leaders consider improved retention a critical or high priority for the next five years.

These factors aren’t just important to businesses that employ permanent workers – with the emergence of the gig economy and industries that traditionally rely on casual, temporary and shift workers, being able to attract and retain a reliable, productive workforce has a significant impact on business agility.

Meaningful Disruption

So what should businesses look for in the disruptive technologies that are on offer? With so many innovative solutions emerging for businesses – and differing variations of each from different players contending for the same slice of market share – it’s difficult to know what’s worth investing in. Factors such as integration and scalability and compliance must be taken into consideration.

Open APIs & microservices are essential attributes in any disruptive technology. Acting as translation layers that enable your systems to communicate with the technology and vice versa, these are important in avoiding the complexities associated with outdated legacy systems. Avoiding monolithic blocks of code will reduce the time and cost spent getting the integration right, avoiding the technical debt traditionally accrued through work that must be redone repeatedly.

The ability to scale up easily is paramount, therefore a worthwhile technology must incorporate autoscaling – available through any technology built with microservices from AWS, Google or MS Azure. Autoscaling means additional servers are switched on automatically, only when necessary. When the service is hit with an influx of traffic, more server space is automatically assigned to the service.

Autoscaling should also bring the cost down for the business since the technology provider only pays for what they use meaning they’re not overpaying for servers that they are not yet using at full capacity.

Without autoscaling in place, the reliability of the technology can also be compromised through the provider placing strain on existing servers and waiting until they are at full capacity to manually scale up. As more users begin to adopt disruptive technologies, the quicker the need to scale up grows. Manually scaling up each time the servers reach capacity can only cause repeat reliability issues.

Compliance and data security are vital factors that must be seriously considered. While it has become a saturated talking point, GDPR is undoubtedly an important factor. Again, this is where a product supported by reputable microservices will provide the best possible value because they ensure the back-end activities happen in a safe and compliant manner.

When it comes to multi-region data residency, the technology must be flexible. Germany for example, rules that you can only keep personal data belonging to German citizens in specified areas deemed acceptable by the German government. It’s therefore important to ensure the technology provider can accommodate these needs. In terms of global scalability, this will be vital to your business.

Future Proof

The world is quickly adapting to the demands of the younger generations that crave instant gratification and are beginning to represent the majority of the workforce. If businesses are to remain relevant to those younger generations, attracting and retaining an agile workforce will be key. Businesses must think about how they too can adapt to better suit their lifestyles in the way the likes of PayPal, Uber and Monzo have forced whole industries to rethink the ways they operate.

While there are plenty of technologies emerging that are designed to help businesses address this very issue, it is essential that those technologies will deliver a return on investment, adding true value for both the organisation and the worker while providing simple integration, robust security and unlimited scalability.

 

priscilla-du-preez-623040-unsplash

Flexible Payment and Financial Wellbeing

Alternative payment models will prove essential to businesses satisfying the increasing demands of the modern workforce says Simon Draper, co-founder of Hastee Pay.

Forward-thinking businesses understand that today’s workforce demands more in terms of workplace perks and rewards. While flexible working hours and remote working are generally considered perks, these are becoming more widespread and could soon enough be considered as standard as free teas and coffees. The question is, will these benchmark rewards really be enough to satisfy the younger, more demanding generations rising through the ranks? Will they be able to really promote the financial wellbeing? Will they be really capable to foster financial wellness? 

Millennials – and now centennials too – expect flexible, transparent, fast and mobile initiatives from employers. In all work environments including the growing gig economy, the duty of care that employers are obliged to deliver must change. Employers must extend that duty of care and consider how they can nurture financial wellbeing at work and outside it. 

According to the Employee Wellbeing Research report by the Reward & Employee Benefits Association, the implementation of carefully-formulated financial wellbeing strategies in UK workplaces grew by 20% between 2016 and 2017 and it looks likely that this trend will continue to grow.

So why should employers care, and how far should the duty of care extend of o? Some might argue that providing paid employment with fair workplace policies and a comfortable working environment should be enough to keep workforces satisfied. Ultimately it comes down to how much the employer wants to keep up with the evolution of workplace trends and see the correlation to help them attract, retain and motivate the best talent and demonstrate greater levels of productivity.

Some employers might be content with simply following the best practice trends as they emerge, but others will want to be seen as the leaders at the forefront, driving new trends in terms of financial wellbeing and employee satisfaction. For those that wish to be known as the leaders of the charge, it will be crucial to recognise the most pertinent daily struggles of their employees and explore proactive and practical ways to help provide some form of relief.

On the money

By extending their duty of care to cover the financial wellbeing of the workforce, employers can increase their appeal to new talent, retain existing personnel and ensure the best possible engagement from their workforce. Research from debt charity Step Change shows that financial troubles have a significant impact on mental health with 5,000 users of the charity’s online debt counselling service over one year showing signs of anxiety or depression.

The charity’s research also uncovered more worrying findings, showing a steep 34 percent rise in the number of under-25’s seeking help with high cost credit in the last two years.  With experts at Manpower Group predicting that by 2020 millennials (now aged 21-35) and Gen Z (aged 20 and younger) will make up more than half of the entire workforce, the financial wellbeing of employees has never been a more important factor.

Challenging the payroll cycle

Money is undisputedly the number one concern and driver on the minds of most employees. A study done by the American Psychological Association shows that 61 percent of respondents face poor mental health due to stress strictly linked to a lack of financial wellness. Whilst free drinks and a nice working environment can improve our work life experience (and a little PR), for most people money is understandably the reason to get out of bed in the morning.

However, the rising epidemic of financial insecurity has led to a reliance on risky payday lenders, with one in every ten UK employees utilising payday loans every year and 70 percent of those relying on payday loans on a regular basis according to research by The Guardian and Pews. And that’s before you take into account overdraft fees and the even more worrying and costly alternatives. Employers that can promote financial wellbeing can offer a safer, easier and more ethical solution built around those principles will find it easier to recruit, retain and engage talent.

By offering an alternative to payday loans, employers not only can increase the financial wellbeing at work, but they can encourage and reward productive behaviour, creating a positive multiplier effect for all parties to win; workers feel less stressed, resulting in greater productivity for employers. While many could be left scratching their heads over how this can be achieved, the answer is plain and simple. It’s time to disrupt the way people are paid and start to promote financial wellbeing. 

While monthly payroll works for the employer, it doesn’t always serve the worker. Beyond the demanding expectations and requirement for instant gratification within younger generations, employers must acknowledge the financial burdens that can so quickly intensify, even for the steady earners. Research from The Times shows that, at a time when both consumer debt and the cost of living are high, and real wages and savings are down, 33 percent of middleclass families are struggling to pay the bills and couldn’t cope with an unexpected £500 bill.

Employers still wondering why any responsibility should fall on them should take note that 38 percent of workers would move to a company that prioritises financial wellbeing within its workforce according to research by Barclays. Those that employ full time workforces and those that rely on shift, variable, gig and seasonal workers could see huge benefits from offering workers quicker and easier access to their pay. It has also been shown that there is a direct link between effort and reward that benefits both employer and worker which needs to be stable in order to keep alive the financial wellness.

Removing the struggle of individuals waiting long periods for pay that they have already earned no longer has to rely on businesses changing their payroll cycles and risking cashflow dilemmas. With new HR technologies available, businesses can embrace giving workers instant access to the wages that they have already earned with zero impact on companies’ cashflow. This means promoting financial wellness.

All of the evidence in favour of disrupting existing pay-cycles is there in plain sight but it’s down to employers to decide whether they want to adapt to the necessary demands of the modern workforce giving them the financial wellbeing that they want or sit back and watch as other businesses take strategic advantage and flourish through a stronger, happier and healthier workforce.  We can’t help but suspect that within a few years, we’ll look back and laugh when reminiscing on monthly pay the same as we do with CDs, Blockbuster video rentals and landline phones. 

Hastee Pay