Jeanniey Walden (formerly known as Jeanniey Mullen) is an award-winning, entrepreneurial Chief Marketing Officer who uses innovation to transform the way companies work to accelerate growth and brand impact. Currently, she is the CMO of DailyPay, helping to transform the way employees get paid. Jeanniey believes success can only be achieved when you start with a foundation of authentic, inspirational and relatable customer experiences, and marry them with the latest in advances in technology. Throughout her career, Jeanniey has led global Marketing and Growth for Fortune 1000 companies, including Mercer, Ogilvy, Barnes & Noble and JCPenney, as well as industry-transforming start-ups, including Zinio, RebelMouse and Ringblingz. Jeanniey holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. A recognized “Woman in Business” and an entrepreneur, she has authored multiple books and launched five companies, including the Email Experience Council. Most recently, Jeanniey was named Transformational CMO of the Year by the CMO Club; she serves on the board of MarketingEDGE and is an advisor to select up-and-coming start-ups.Follow
On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Jeanniey Walden from DailyPay about why your company needs to offer a holistic benefits package.
Some Conversation Highlights:
When you say holistic benefits package, what are you seeing right now in the market?
Companies are realizing that they need to not just look at spot initiatives to impact employee engagement. They need to look at holistic packages, which encompass mental health and wellness, financial health and wellness, and really career development and opportunity. A lot of focus on just the word quality and purpose are coming to mind a lot. You can’t do that with just one or two specific things like having donuts on a Thursday. It really requires you to step back, think holistically about the employee experience, why they’re coming to work, what your company stands for and how you can create something that provides a long lasting and engaging atmosphere.
I love that you’re talking about mental health
So, programmatically the way that we’ve looked at benefits packages in the past and at least historically, we’ve looked at as health. And then we’ve separated health and we put wellness initiatives and programs and things like that, there’s time, money and energy, technology that we put into wellness initiatives. And then we’ve put some things that are financial wellness, initiatives, time, money and energy programs, technology, et cetera. And now you see that being also extended into mental health as well. What are some of the examples that either y’all have at DailyPay that you’ve seen that are just things that aren’t blade edge, just almost table stakes at this point?
Tune in for the full conversation.
Listening time: 27 minutes
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Music: This is RecruitingDaily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing and talent acquisition. Each week we take one over-complicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have Jeanniey on from DailyPay and we’re going to be talking about why your company needs to offer a holistic benefits package. So going to be a fun topic and Jeanniey I talked a bunch. So this is going to be rather casual and rather fun. So let’s do introductions. Jeanniey, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and DailyPay.
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah, absolutely. And I always love fun conversations, so I’m super excited about this one. I’m Jeanniey Walden. I’m the chief innovation and marketing officer at DailyPay and at a high level DailyPays mission is to create a new financial system that works for everyone at the most basic level. Basically, we change the way that pay works. There’s no reason you need to wait two weeks to get a paycheck anymore. You work today, you should be able to see how much money you earned today and then access it or save it, if you want to.
William Tincup: I think we talked about HR tech or around HR tech about this, that a lot of folks would think about this, at least historically in the hourly market or high volume market. But, you’ve also seen movements in the professional world as well, right?
Jeanniey Walden: Oh, absolutely. This is something that everybody finds benefit from, because think about it. You work, you earn money, that money could be making more money for you. If you listen to those really crazy podcasts like “Rich dad, poor dad”, where they talk about living financially free, it starts with you making smart investments with your money. So if you’ve earned money, why not not save it? Why not invest it? Why not use it to pay down a larger bill and boost your credit score so you can re-finance your existing auto-loan, get a better rate and have more disposable income. So you can do the things that matter most, take care of your family, your friends and really enjoy life.
William Tincup: Yeah, it’s interesting for the audience. Think about if you’re a consultant or accountant or you work in banking or whatever, and you’re traditionally paid every two weeks or whatever the the bid is. DailyPay is an option of then being able to look at that well, tab out at the end of your ride, like a Lyft driver or an Uber driver, et cetera. So I love it, I love what y’all do.
William Tincup: Let’s talk a little bit about holistic benefits package and what you’re seeing from customers and folks that you interacted with or interact with. When we say holistic or when you say holistic, what are you seeing right now in the market?
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah. It’s interesting, because there’s this confluence of challenges happening in the market right now. You’ve got everything that happened to us with the pandemic and a tremendous amount of mental stress as people are trying to balance health related issues and concerns with work related issues and concerns along with family. Then on top of it, you’ve got new generations in the workforce. Millennials have been here for a while, but Gen Zs, who quite frankly, graduated college as a pandemic was starting, they weren’t a able to get a good job in the job market. They’re looking for quality of life. Millennials grew up during 9/11, it’s just really an interesting time from a labor perspective, where there’s so much that is weighing on that.
Jeanniey Walden: Companies are realizing that they need to not just look at spot initiatives to impact employee engagement. They need to look at holistic packages, which encompass mental health and wellness, financial health and wellness, and really career development and opportunity. A lot of focus on just the word quality and purpose are coming to mind a lot. You can’t do that with just one or two specific things like having donuts on a Thursday. It really requires you to step back, think holistically about the employee experience, why they’re coming to work, what your company stands for and how you can create something that provides a long lasting and engaging atmosphere.
William Tincup: I love that you talking about mental health, it’s so much easier to talk about mental health after as we’ve been through COVID because people are just more open and more apt to disclose their own journey or other folks’ journeys as well. So like it was relatively taboo before, not taboo at all to, to talk about it and companies adjusting to that for their employees and also for their candidates too, there is a recruiting side to this as well. And being able to attract the talent, but also to be able to keep the talent. First of all, I love that you kind of brought up mental health and wellness, et cetera. And you also put financial in there as well.
William Tincup: So, programmatically the way that we’ve looked at benefits in the past and at least historically, we’ve looked at as health. And then we’ve separated health and we put wellness initiatives and programs and things like that, there’s time, money and energy, technology that we put into wellness initiatives. And then we’ve put some things that are financial wellness, initiatives, time, money and energy programs, technology, et cetera. And now you see that being also extended into mental health as well. What are some of the examples that either y’all have at DailyPay that you’ve seen that are just things that aren’t blade edge, just almost table stakes at this point?
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah. That’s a great question. And one of the things that’s so simple, and then I’m going to give a shout out to Aramark because they actually shared this idea at a different conference that I was at, but it’s your ERGs, your employee resource groups. It’s all starting holistically, people are looking at their entire life and everybody’s been talking for a long time about bringing your whole self to work. What does that mean? You can be who you want. You can share your challenges. And people are expecting companies to support their needs. And if their need is financial, they’re looking for the company to provide them with financial options. If their need is related to health, they’re looking for their company need to say, “Here’s what health related options we have”, but it starts, cultures become a big thing.
Jeanniey Walden: So these employee resource groups are one of the best ways that companies can start understanding the holistic needs of their employee base because they represent the categories that are of most interest to the employees. Now, Aramark does this cool thing and it’s so great, I’ve been sharing it everywhere. What they’ve decided is, they need to create a holistic strategy that starts with the employee’s passion. So instead of just doing a regular referral bonus, like you get $500 or $1,500, if you refer somebody that comes to work for the company, they do that, but then they match that bonus and they invest it into the ERGs that, that person is associated with. So they can continue to evolve that culture from the inside out. So if you are in the, in the case of DailyPay, the daily moms ERG, or the daily women ERG, or we even have one for people that have been working for over 15 years called daily gray, everything’s daily with us.
Jeanniey Walden: Imagine if your culture is focused on one of wellness and balance, whether it’s mental or financial and the people that work here can just go out and bring more people that are like-minded in their community to also manage set diversity and inclusion effort as well. So that’s a great example of taking something that used to be an individual tactic or technique and providing a holistic approach to it. That really makes a big impact and a difference at the workplace.
William Tincup: I love that. So one of the things in our title, why your company needs, we’ll double line that. So, when people hear this, and obviously see it in the title, they say needs, why do they need to? So again, you deal with CFOs all the time. So, I will ask the ROI question at one point, but why do they need to? If they’re listing to this and it sounds kind of like, it’s nice to have, maybe not a need to have.
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. And I was going to say, let’s just take it down to the numbers. Look at the end of the day, a business is in business to make money. And that money is predicated on how efficiently they’re running their operations. Part of efficient operations and margin management comes down to how can you control your costs of probably the number one expense in most companies is the people cost. If a person stays longer at an organization that makes a more profitable opportunity for the business, it also improves customer service. And if you follow that, all the way down to the numbers, when a person leaves, we all know, I think the last number I saw is, it costs 1.4 times a person’s annual salary to replace them. So if you are in a high turnover industry, that’s having a hundred percent turnover annually, or if you are in an industry where your holistic approach to business is not positive. I just read a report this morning, over 51% of millennials have changed jobs within the past six months, over 30% of gen Z have changed jobs in the past six months.
Jeanniey Walden: So that like breaks all the rules of those high turnover companies, where you expect it. Now it’s everywhere. And that costs companies millions upon tens of millions of dollars just to replace that workforce, let alone the impact to customer service, which then has this cascading effect on the power of your brand, which impacts future earnings and revenue. So it’s all giant rabbit hole that you can go down. With any CFO, I’m happy to talk to them about this. But it all starts with effective people management and providing them exactly what you need to do, a holistic package that supports them, keeps them there and engaged as long as possible. And that’s how your company will be most profitable at the end of the day.
William Tincup: It’s funny, you and I are witnessing kind of a mind shift, a mindset shift between, when we offer a job to a candidate, you should be proud that you’re getting an offer from this company. And we’re seeing that change that, the candidate is saying, “You should be proud that I’m joining your company.” Employees are kind of saying the same thing, by leaving and by choosing to stay that, “I like what we’re doing, or I don’t like what we’re doing and I’ll go elsewhere”, and they can, and relatively easily in today’s market. When we think about holistic and we think about maybe the, the approach that people have taken to benefits in the past, again, kind of myopically, every year it’s been more kind of a game of how do we reduce costs.
William Tincup: So how do we change our benefits plan to reduce costs and defray, displace as much cost back to the employee or to use health savings accounts and in a way to essentially incentivize employees to do different things, et cetera. You and I are asking them to do something, we’re asking them to kind of rethink that model and rethink that for good reason. Not just because it’ll help them attract talent, but possibly with engagement, with retention and you just outlined a wonderful cost strategy of, “Hey, let’s just take the moral and ethical and making it the feel good stuff. Let’s take all that stuff out and do it just for pure capitalism reasons.” And here’s why you should do it. So, if we move people’s minds over, how do they start? So if they’ve got kind of an older mindset of benefits are provided by the company, we’re going to pay half, I think the minimum is half. We’re going to pay half your benefits. You’re going to pay the rest and good luck.
William Tincup: So let’s just start with something that obtuse. And then how do we move them to a place of saying, “Okay, all right. Rome wasn’t build a day. Here’s the things that we should be. Here’s some of the building blocks that we should be looking at in today’s world to kind of get you to a place.” Because you’re not going to go from zero to a hundred, that’s fine. But through the next three years, you need to go from that model to this holistic model. What are some of the first things that you would want them to do, or you would advise people to do?
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah, so at DailyPay, we have a set of values and one of our values is to start simple. And a long time ago, I worked at a company and the board used to say, “Focus on one blade of grass. And when you can set that on fire, then you can look at the whole field.” So I think, really you need to start simple. With something that you know will have a positive impact to buy you the time to do my second recommendation, which is to look at all of the data. Because every company’s going to be different, as far as how they get into holistic solutions. And it all starts by understanding where your gaps and your pain points are. For starting simple, one pain point that we all have, is around financial wellness. It’s the number one driver of mental health challenges in the workplace.
Jeanniey Walden: People are stressed out about their finances. And they’re stressed out about other things too. So start simple with that one because it’s big, it affects everybody, regardless of who you are, what background you come from, what job you have, how much money you make. Even the CEO of the largest company you can think of is worried about effective money management to some element, even if it’s how to make more money off the money they have. So start with that, a great solution is something like DailyPay, because it’s free to the employer and it’s a benefit to the employee, and it gives you the opportunity to make a statement from a cultural perspective that you care about your employees. You want to give them choice and control over when and how they access and view the money that they’re earning, because they’re are working so hard for you.
Jeanniey Walden: And it kind of builds up trust between the employee and the employer, so that you can then go deeper into analyzing what the challenges are, that are most affecting your company. And it’s funny that you brought up health benefits and “You pay half and we pay half.” Because I will tell you a story of, when I worked at Mercer, I went to a local shrm event where they were sharing a study around why companies should pay for certain benefits for their employees. If you look at your benefits every year during open enrollment, you’ll see that most companies cover one X your salary for life insurance and you can’t decline it, it’s just a benefit the company does. And this woman stood up at this shrm conference and said, “My name is Mary and I just came here. I’m talking at all of the events because I’m really encouraging all employers to cover portion of their employees benefits.”
Jeanniey Walden: She tells a story of how she’s got three young children and they’re very strapped for cash, and so over a year at open enrollment, she would have her husband get the minimum out of pocket costs for benefits and they would figure out how to pay for it when they needed it. And when they saw this life insurance and they knew the company was contributing, he actually went to his employer and he said, “Hey, we really need the money more so than the coverage. Is there any way that I could get the equivalent of whatever you’re contributing in my pay instead?” And they said, “No.” And unfortunately then, the man that was at manufacturing plant, had a heart attack at work, about six months later and he passed away.
Jeanniey Walden: And the woman was crying because she said, if it wasn’t for the company covering this life insurance, my children would not have been able to bury their father and say goodbye to him in the proper way. And that is a statement that is a story that I will never forget because everybody in the room at that moment realize the impact that companies have when they’re contributing to supporting, not just the employee, but their entire employee’s family. And just everything about it just really makes you think differently about the value of providing holistic strategies to help your employee. Because you’re not just helping the person that works for you, you’re helping their entire family. And in extreme cases like this one, is that something that those children will remember forever, that that company really was there for them when their dad passed away. So, it’s not kind of stuff that keeps you going after you get started.
William Tincup: I love it. So, benefits managers. We want to start with, or we want at least be one of the building blocks to be financial wellness. And obviously DailyPay plays in the financial wellness space. What’s been your experience in dealing with and your interaction with benefits managers. And the really the question is, again, they’ve kind of come up through historically working with Aetna, working with United healthcare and going through this annual beating of open enrollment and figuring out what’s best for their employees and what works cost-wise and all that other stuff. And what works for their employees and because they’re going to be managing it, what they can manage as well. How has been your experience in kind of getting them to understand, I would say the complexity of financial wellness, but let’s start and act like it’s complex. What’s been your experience in interacting with, especially the kind of the hardcore benefits managers over the last 20 years, what’s been y’all’s experience in converting them to understand the importance of a financial wellness and also what financial wellness is?
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah. I don’t think you need to convince somebody that there’s the importance of financial wellness if you’re in the benefit space. I think the response we typically get is relief, joy, and then a little bit of, “Oh my God, this is too good to believe that finally somebody is in my world and is giving me a way to help everybody.” Anybody that works with 401ks inside their company absolutely lives this every day. And when we talk to benefit managers that are looking at managing the 401k, they say it’s like soul crushing. Because legally when an employee’s having a financial challenge and they need to go to the benefits manager and say, “Hey, how can I get access to funds?” 401ks, obviously, most people know you can take a loan from. But legally the benefits manager is required to tell you the maximum you can take from your 401k.
Jeanniey Walden: So it’s all too frequently that you’ll hear the story that the benefits manager, the person only needs $310 and 24 cents to get out of a financial crunch. But because this person traditionally doesn’t have access to their 401K funds and they hear that they can take a loan out for up to $10,000, they get worried and they take the entire loan. And then they use that money on a variety of things and another financial emergency comes out and they’ve used that money and they don’t have it. And then they default our 401k loan, it’s a very challenging and frustrating conversation for benefits managers when they’re thinking along those lines.
Jeanniey Walden: Now things like DailyPay gives you options because now the money’s sitting there, you can log into your DailyPay app and you can see your DailyPay balance. As you work, you can start in the morning, see that you had $153 from yesterday at lunch, you can check it and be all excited because now that number is at 271 and you know that it’s there for you because it’s tangible, and you also know that you have the control to take only as much as you need because you can see it. It’s just like your bank account. When you log into your bank account and see your checking account is $492.10, you don’t run to the bank account and take it all out because maybe tomorrow it’s not going to be accessible to you and ATMs are going to be shut down.
Jeanniey Walden: So being able to give access to people and that again, that choice and control it, benefit managers love that. They don’t just love it, they appreciate it and understand it. And then they get excited about, “All right, how can we take this further? How can we use this to help people get educated about how to manage their finances better?”
Jeanniey Walden: And so on the flip side of the 401k conversation, when you can see people that are using DailyPay, not to take money out to pay a bill, but to save as they earn. And they go on the app and say, “As soon as I earn $50, move it to my savings account”, but they’re not in a 401k, benefit managers get super excited about having a conversation with, “Hey, I see you’re saving $50 a pay period, but you’re not in a 401k. How about this? We have a match. If you save 25 from DailyPay, keep it liquid in case you need it, but take the other 25 and start saving with a 401k. We’re going to match it and give you another 25.” So all of a sudden your 50, just turn it into 75. Isn’t that amazing? Then you got disbelief on the employee side with, “Wow, I never thought I’d be in a position where I could save for the future.”
Jeanniey Walden: And if your benefits plans include 529s and other types of initiatives, it really makes an impact. I got an email from credit karma that said, “Did you know if you paid $20 of debt down a day, you pay $7,200 a year.” Literally it’s just math, it’s 20 times 365, but these small things really add up at the end of the year and get people excited. And once people are excited about being financially educated and better well off, then it gets to be something that want to do and it becomes habit forming. And then there you go, all of a sudden, they’re saving and they’re able to have that emergency savings fund and they’re able to make plans for future vacations and other things with their family that hadn’t been a possibility before. So I would say benefit managers are of the most welcoming and excited for these types of conversations.
William Tincup: Two questions left. One is, you mentioned the board earlier, how do we educate the board? And, c-suite in general, but let’s just stay at the board level. How do we educate them as to the importance of holistic benefits?
Jeanniey Walden: That’s a great question. So I think with any board, you need to, you need to translate the information into the relevant items that are on their minds right now for the boards that they represent. So certainly right now DE and I, diversity equity and inclusion, pay equity, all of those things are on the minds of probably almost any board member at any company. And the reality is when you can take some of these holistic benefits and you can translate that message into how it positively impacts a DE and and I strategy or your CSR, your responsibility strategy, or even your ESG, environmental, social, and governance strategies, then you’re speaking the language of a board. So, well, I know we don’t have much time, so I won’t go down my little rabbit hole of exactly how you discuss that with a board, but anyone who’s listening that wants that advice, shoot me an email, I’m happy to give you the walkthrough on that. But you really have to translate it into those larger initiatives.
William Tincup: Love it. Last question is, how do we inform employees and candidates as to what to ask for as it relates to holistic benefits?
Jeanniey Walden: Well, that’s a good question. I think it’s the responsibility of all of us, for you with podcasts like this, for DailyPay with the messages that we put in market and with other companies that are providing and doing a great job by offering holistic benefits to just be ambassadors, get the message out. I’ve probably shared that Aramark story at least 50 times in the past three weeks since I’ve heard it. And until then, people potentially didn’t know about it. But as the message gets out, then employees start to ask for it. And I think, one of the things that we see at DailyPay is, when an employee works for a company that offers DailyPay, when they leave, 68% of them look for their next job offering DailyPay.
Jeanniey Walden: So, once you experience holistic benefits, great benefits, then you start to seek those out with your next employer. That’s where we’ve gotten to this cultural with employment where you referenced so brilliantly, it’s now employee saying, “You’re lucky to have me. You’re lucky that I chose you.” And that’s where it’s going to keep moving. And if all else fails, then I would say go to TikTok because that’s got to be the solution for everything right now.
William Tincup: What a great way to end. Jeanniey, thank you so much for your time, I know you’re crazy busy. But thank you for carving out time for the audience and for me and for educating us.
Jeanniey Walden: Yeah, absolutely. And next time maybe we do this on TikTok.
William Tincup: Sounds good. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.