Spotlight on: Tricia Foster, Head of Pay & Benefits for Holland & Barrett

Tricia Foster is the Head of Pay & Benefits for Holland & Barrett and has worked in the payroll industry for over 30 years. We recently spoke to Tricia about her expertise in the industry and why they’ve recently rolled out Wagestream to all Holland & Barrett colleagues.

You’ve recently launched Wagestream to your Holland & Barrett colleagues, why did you see this as an important thing to do?

At Holland and Barrett, we’re really focused on the health and wellbeing of our colleagues as it’s part of our ethos as a company, and this includes focusing on the impact of financial stability on our colleagues’ mental health.

Earned Wage Access is relatively new and hugely exciting for us and all our colleagues. We’ve been aware of the benefits it can have for a while, but the recent challenges meant we had to get this live as soon as possible, and Wagestream’s team has supported us in a simple and quick launch.

We hope that Wagestream will give our colleagues that additional support that is so necessary during a challenging time for all, as well as drive recruitment across the business by showcasing our flexibility and support as a wellness employer.

What is unique about the Holland & Barrett people?

We have a very unique and specific product range which requires a certain level of training and education. It’s key that our colleagues are able to properly support our customers in making the right purchases, so we want to retain those people as much as possible.

We have such a great team, and we want to make sure that they know they’re valued. Wagestream is a key part of helping us do that.

You’ve worked in payroll for a long time, what are some of the things you’ve learned?

Payroll is a highly technical and specialised role, but I’ve learned that payroll professionals need to have that technical focus but with an understanding of their colleagues’ needs.

It’s about getting that balance between the day-to-day technical work and remembering who is at the end of it all. Bringing those things together can be really powerful for organisations and their people.

Did you have any early reservations about offering Earned Wage Access and how have they changed?

I have to say, in the beginning, I did have some reservations. It is relatively new and we’re all so used to being paid on a four weekly basis, so there were definitely some moral concerns around overuse. But now, I can see just how powerful this can be. With this, we’re giving people the opportunity to take control of their money so that they can support themselves. We want our staff to be empowered and this is key in driving that.

I think Wagestream is such an amazing feature for Holland & Barrett. This has help me out countless times when I have needed to extra cash to pay my unexpected bills and food. Utterly amazing!! Well done Holland & Barrett.

Holland & Barrett Team Member

Within payroll, we have complete transparency of all colleague transactions and we are able to report that back to all areas of the business. We have set the parameters to suit how we wish to operate with Wagestream and have the flexibility to understand usage on a case by case basis. So far, I can only see positive signs and I hope to see this continue.

What are some of the other benefits of the Wagestream platform?

I didn’t initially realise the power of the Track function within the app. Track allows colleagues to see in real-time what they’re earning which is great for helping our colleagues to budget effectively and not have any shocks at the end of month and has therefore reduced the amount of payroll queries for those who are paid on an hourly basis  

Wagestream is not just about earned wage access, it’s about complete financial wellness, with this they also provide a savings solution which allows you to automatically add to your savings pot every time you finish a shift or access your wages. There’s also the learn section in the app which helps out with financial education.

For payroll professionals, it can be daunting implementing a new solution. What was the implementation process like?

It was actually so simple. Of course, there is some work to be done to make sure it’s set up properly but not a huge amount. The Wagestream Team take on as much of the work as they can. Their technology means that there are no manual deductions or calculations like with other solutions, so it doesn’t even touch our internal payroll system.

What are some of the results you’ve seen?

It’s great that Wagestream is accessible to all. It’s all ranges of colleagues using the service, across all parts of the business. It just shows that no matter what you get paid, when and how you get paid really makes a real difference.

We have regular meetings with Wagestream where they take us through the feedback they receive from staff through surveys and it’s clear that it’s having a huge positive impact on our staff. We can see that 80% of users are using the service to cover unexpected expenses, essential bills and expenses*, demonstrating that it’s a helpful lifeline right now.

*Wagestream user data

What would be your one piece of advice to any other organisations thinking about implementing Wagestream?

All the right people need to be involved in the early stages of implementation as there needs to be understanding and a consensus about the reasons for doing it. I would say that working with Wagestream has to be a “partnership” between your organisation from the beginning and payroll professionals should certainly be the key stakeholders to keep communication and all operations aligned.

I am now sadly leaving Holland & Barrett after almost 4 wonderful years and I will be taking Wagestream with me, as I know this is a benefit that needs to reach more and more people.

Thanks so much to Tricia for speaking to us!

If you want to know more about Wagestream, get in touch.