Article: Leveraging financial wellness to battle the Great Resignation

HR Technology

Leveraging financial wellness to battle the Great Resignation

Money drives wellbeing, says Chitresh Sharma, CEO & Co-founder of Refyne India, and it's critical to manage. He shared more details at TechHR India earlier this month.
Leveraging financial wellness to battle the Great Resignation

Chitresh Sharma is no stranger to the start-up game. A serial entrepreneur, Sharma  has a master's degree in international marketing from University of Strathclyde, Scotland and previously co-founded two ventures - Swipii, Glasgow (2012) and Cloud9i Solutions, Bengaluru (2009). Speaking at TechHR India, Sharma outlined how his latest start-up, Refyne, is now revolutionizing how we approach salaries in India and the world, helping to improve workers’ financial wellbeing to battle the surging attrition rates. 

When looking at the ‘five pillars of wellbeing’ (emotional, physical, career, social and physical), money is often overlooked or taken into consideration last. However, as Sharma says in the opening of his presentation, “money drives everything,” he explains. “It’s such a core part of our life, that we start our day with money, we end our day with money, the entire simplification of life, that denominator is money. So being able to manage that part of your life is critical.” 

“The Great (Indian) Resignation” 

To start off, Sharma invited the audience to consider how 86% of people are currently thinking about resigning, looking for new opportunities and not happy with where they are right now. After negotiating the “worst times” of COVID, employers and business leaders are now facing the very real problem of historically high attrition rates. A low sense of one’s own financial wellness may be key in combating this problem, according to Sharma. 

“We are a country where personal finance management has never been part of our curriculum. We've been into different universities, different schools, but not once has anyone taught us how to manage our own personal finance. We are taught to manage billions and trillions of dollars for corporations but never our own personal finance,” he explains.

According to EY’s Earned Wage Access Across India Report, 81% of workers exhaust their salary before the month’s end, 72% use costly credit options, 71% cannot cover unplanned expenses and 34% exhaust their salaries by mid-month. With financial wellbeing and mental wellbeing so closely intertwined, it’s no surprise that amassing thousands in debt and gaining a negative credit score can have massive implications for our state of mind, even driving us into depression: ”Yet that [financial] stress is very hard to fight because you can’t speak to your colleagues, you can’t speak to your colleagues, you can’t speak to your employer. You can’t speak to anyone. It’s such a personal thing,” Sharma says.

In addition, the banking system in India is not, according to Sharma, yet built to support the vast majority of workers who do not have a credit score.

Change people's finances and change the world

He founded financial wellness platform Refyne to change this state of affairs. 

“Refyne was born with a single philosophy: simplify personal finance and get people on a personal financial wellness journey. We are not trying to sell a product. We are not trying to sell technology. We are here to get people on a financial wellness journey,” Sharma explains.  

To ensure that the service is not high cost and is able to deliver on their promise, Refyne partners with employers to get their employees into the journey. Available in 12 languages, Refyne comes in iPhone, Android and WhatsApp versions and tailored to the needs and experiences of the employee.  

“Instantly we start the journey by giving [users] a free one to one financial coach. It's not a classroom setup. These financial coaches are SEBI-approved. These are the people who will guide people to understand what exactly personal finance means. How do I save? How can I be prepared for bad climates? How do I distill that into simple layman's terms?” Sharma explains. 

The next thing is giving people liquidity and the ability to cover unexpected expenses. Here, Refyne gives users access to their earned salary in 60 seconds. The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year. “No questions asked as the money is transferred from us to the employee.”

Sadly enough, he observed that the business time for this particular Refyne service was at the peak of COVID, between 2 am and 5 am in the morning.

“It’s all about trying to move the unbankable segment to the bankable segment," he said. "That is what we are about. That is why our products are not overcharging in nature. The idea is to give a credit score which is built based on how people work at their work, how people perform at their work is absolutely directly related to how they're going to manage their personal finances. And that is why we want to enable people to get into a new scoring mechanic which covers for the larger market.”

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Topics: HR Technology, #TechHRIN

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