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Breaking Stereotypes: The Future Of Finance And Tech Is (And Will Be) Women

Work culture in organizations is gradually moving towards diversification and inclusion. The current times are witnessing gender stereotypes bring identified and shattered in the wake of gender sensitization and diversity. Organizations across the globe are making concerted efforts towards the goal of equality of opportunity. Still, equality at workplaces is a far fetched dream. Take for instance the case of the US, where: 

Yet they earn lower salaries and fill up fewer seats in male-dominated professions like technology and finance. Fortunately, these stereotypes – those of women typically avoiding math, science and often all things logic – are on the verge of shattering.

A study conducted by the global research organization Catalyst stated that among Fortune 500 companies, the companies which had the highest number of women directors on board have shown better financial results and those having at least three women on their board have stronger-than-average results.

Gender Stereotyping deeply impacts the psyche and confidence of the female workforce. As per research, by the age of 6 years stereotypes regarding intellectual ability take root in girls. Girls identify themselves less with STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). At the workplace, women find a less conducive environment to hold leadership and skill-based jobs, share their ideas in discussions concerning these subjects. 

Indian Scenario: Tech

The current Indian scene has begun a positive, and hopefully soon – pretty picture: 

  • Women representation in corporate jobs has increased from 21% to 30% in a span of five years, as posted in  Zinnov-Intel Gender Diversity Study 2019
  • Females are represented higher in non-technical roles at 31%, while in technical roles their share is 26%. 
  • Only 11% of the C-suite positions are held by the women, they were represented at  20% in mid-roles and 38% in junior roles. 
Women's Day

If these stats are compared with the global figures, Indians are surely taking strides in leaps and bounds to cut across cultural misfits and gender Stereotyping issues. As per a NASSCOM study of IT professionals and middle management from companies of Europe and India, 35% of the people with specialist technology roles are women in India as compared to a mere 17% female representation in Europe. 

Several organizations like Oxfam India through its campaign Bano Nayi Soch are all in for progressive ideas that subvert the norms of patriarchy.   

In 2016, Facebook initiated recruitment practices focused on bringing in black and female workers into their workforce – in who now make up 36% of its workforce. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and the only woman on their board posits the concept of ‘leaning in’ in her recent book as the idea of being ambitious in any pursuit.  

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the CEO of Biocon and the first woman billionaire entrepreneur, reiterates that there is no dearth of talent in meritorious women and even though a small minority, they are well respected and worthy of inclusion. 

Indian scene: Finance

Women are considered excellent investors, but female representation in the finance sector remains meager. A CFA Institute Gender in Investment Management study shows a mere 11% representation of women investment professionals in the industry.  Research across the globe has proved how a culturally rich and diverse workforce delivers optimum results and lower risks for investors. Experts cite several pros of getting the women included in the workforce. 

  • Firstly, female inclusion will tend to bring in newer perspectives into the industry that can usher in a new revolution in the industry. Quality of output and decisions will definitely see improvements. 
  • Gender diversity can lead to innovations and rethinking of the old investment strategies that are sure to impact investment outcomes. 

Several initiatives have been taken to improve the involvement of the females at all levels. For instance, Young Women in Investment, India’s first initiative seeks to create female awareness and interest in the investment management industry. The initiative focuses on presenting investment as a long term viable career option to the women. The success and support of this initiative have definitely paved the way for the inclusion of females in the future of finance. 

Initiatives to Break Stereotypes

While we’re doing well, there can be several initiatives that can make the future of tech and finance into a substantial female-centric arena: 

  • Tech can be leveraged to advance gender parity and women empowerment in a number of ways. The development of the gig economy is offering a contingent workforce that is sure to lessen such gaps in the future. 
  • Unlearning the biases in our mindset and doing away with gender stereotypes will be a daunting task that would demand our attention towards sustainable and all-inclusive economic growth. 
  • A survey conducted by Unilever showed that 77% of men and 55% of women felt that men are best suited for high-stake projects. Such views deeply impact gender parity issues. Marketers and media need to stop the sexist portrayal of women. 
  • Social, political and cultural fronts should take it upon themselves to curb these formative practices of stereotyping and expose both the genders to all kinds of non-traditional fields like tech or finance to let them make their decisions rationally. 
  • There is a dire need to bridge the skill gap among women by taking advantage of digitization and tech innovations. The global “talent shortage” is currently at 38%, with the top ten hardest jobs to fill in STEM professions. The focus has to shift to building competencies and skillsets among women. 
  • Another key area of concern is the online representation of women. There are 250 million fewer females present online as compared to males. Connecting and bringing greater access to regions with no internet can bring about unforeseen opportunities and can even act as catalysts synthesizing women’s inclusion in tech and finance. 

The instilling of the right temperament among the youth holds prime importance as the majority of them make their career choices by the age of 26 as per a survey. Women do not lack in tech or finance skills and knowledge, what they lack is the proper nurturing environment enabling them to fulfill their dreams sans any bias or stereotyping. Once the institutions of today get in sync with gender equality and diversity themes, the potential and opportunities awaiting women in tech and finance can be attained.
And we can surely hope for a feminine era in finance and technology awaiting us in the near future. 

“You are fierce, bold and daring! Also, the best when it comes to caring.”
Happy Women’s Day!

Featured

Spouse In The Same Office: A Closer Look At The Implications for HR

Compiled By: Sandeep Raghunath
About Sandeep: He is the Head of Human Resources at EarlySalary, with 10+ years of international experience in HR across industries.

It is perfectly natural for a professional to fall for another if they’re working in the same office, or are spending a significant amount of time together. Open and vulnerable conversations are fairly likely to occur, and the more familiar they become with each other, the more potential there is for mutual attraction. While they may be frowned upon, relationships within an office setting are far from uncommon. Some partners even often end up getting married. 

In this context, however, the HR function isn’t expected to remain out of the loop. Organizational policies, cultural sensitivities, etc – there are many factors influencing the HR functions’ role in managing professionals with a spouse in the same office. How can they approach this? Let’s look at some important aspects.

Disclosure of relationship

It is vital to maintain an environment where it is known that keeping a relationship or marriage secret is not in the interest of the company and can have larger implications. According to Sarah Churchman, head of diversity and inclusion and employee well being at PwC, the only way to manage relationships is for the couple to be totally out in the open. “If they don’t inform us, someone else in the department will. Not because they are necessarily behaving in an inappropriate manner, but simply because they may fear a problem with favoritism.”

Some enterprises have a policy in place allowing for managers to be demoted, transferred or even dismissed in the case of the manager being in a relationship with their direct report without disclosing the same. It is, therefore, essential that an office couple is made to sign out a disclosure form with the HR Department. This allows for a line of communication between the office and the parties involved and also serves as a formal notice of their relationship. It also prevents misinformation and rumor-mongering in the workspace which hampers productivity. 

Different organizations have varying HR policies on how they deal with a spouse at the same office. If a company is strictly against work relationships, one of the spouses can be dismissed, though it would not be a popular move and discourage transparency. “You can’t legislate against office romances or indeed falling in love, and an outright ban would be totally unworkable,” says Churchman.

It is imperative for a company to have a policy on office relationships and furthermore ensure that all employees, especially spouses, get familiar with these and abide by them at all times during work hours. This includes coffee breaks, lunch breaks, business trips, etc.

Personal life and Professional life

The need to maintain a professional relationship between spouses in the same office space is vital. Often, the hardest battle in managing office relationships is inculcating the need to strike a balance between personal life and professional life. According to a research “on flirting at work” conducted by Amy Nicole Baker, an associate professor of psychology in University of New Haven, and an author on workplace romance papers, it was found that people who frequently witness other colleagues flirting often feel less valued by the company and have a decline in job satisfaction. This feeling of discomfort can also lead to many quitting their jobs. In order to prevent others from being uncomfortable and thus putting oneself under the radar. 

Spouse In The Same Office: A Closer Look At The Implications for HR
“Open and vulnerable conversations are fairly likely to occur, and the more familiar they become with each other, the more potential there is for mutual attraction”

Public displays of affection and flirtatious conversations can disrupt the working of the office and reek of unprofessionalism. It is essential to treat your spouse like a regular colleague within office hours and even in work parties, off-sites and other such events which are an extension to the office workspace.

Senior-Junior Relationship

In the case of a senior and subordinate getting married, the need for professionalism is critical in order to prevent conflict of interest. According to most office guidelines – it is necessary for the senior spouse not to be involved in the appraisal or evaluation of their partner. The two must not work together in the same department in order to curb the space for favoritism and nepotism within the workspace. There is also a potential threat to the security of confidential client information and the risk of information leaks.

To avoid the occurrence of favoritism, one spouse should be transferred to another department, and ideally, no couples should work together in the same department.

Divorce

The unfortunate scenario of a married couple splitting up can have deep repercussions on their work ethic, their behavior in the office as well as the office environment itself. The disclosure form should specify what would happen to both the parties in case of this occurrence. The way two ex-partners are treated in the office also deserves attention. They might act in a more isolated nature and may be unable to maintain good performance. This situation is a nursing ground for potential blame-game and office politics. This difficult period of the employees’ life should be battled with care and acceptance. They might not need advice and might need someone to listen to them in order to clear their mind and concentrate during work hours. In case of poor performance, they should be nudged towards the direction of working better and given gentle reminders instead of indifferent statements like “Your divorce is not our problem.”
Perhaps an Employee Assistance Program to help deal with such traumatic instances is worthy of consideration from employers.

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Can Millennial Stress be Resolved by Financial Wellness?

Stress is an issue bigger than ever for millennials, who are rushing ahead with their worklife, finding little time to enjoy the intricacies of life. They are not only toiling themselves with projects, preparing reports and meeting targets, but also when off the work they busy themselves worrying about their debt, savings and expenditure.  India has been, off late, a very volatile economy with companies shutting down production and filtering out chunks of employees. As such millennials are forcing themselves to work in return for poorly paid salaries and unsatisfactory job environments. In most of the cases, they are not able to manage their day-to-day expenses and have to revert to debt; while in other cases are confused about their financial course.

A whopping 76% of Millennials say they are experiencing financial stress, up 23 percentage points from 2018, according to the PwC 2019 Employee Financial Wellness Survey.

Financial stress is the top contributor in affecting employee health and morale followed by their jobs and relationships. Matching your salary with your expenses is only the tip of the iceberg, when cash flow and debt issues add to the worries. Employees are worried that they are not able to save enough and will face or are facing a financial crunch. Let’s look at the major issues hounding today’s millennials in terms of finance:

Past concerns  

With higher education becoming more expensive each year, an increasing number of new employees enter the corporate sector already laden with the burden of huge debt in the form of education loans or personal loans. As per Workplace benefits report 2017, 40% of millennials say that they left high school and college unprepared for the real world. As such they look upon their employers for the necessary guidance and help related to a majority of topics around financial wellness. 18% of millennials want more help with their student loans.

In some cases, these debts may be gifted down from one generation to another. A son may have to pay off a home loan or some other debt incurred by his father. These circumstances dilute the finances and millennials find it difficult to lay away the stress.

Present concerns

According to the 2017 Workplace Benefits Report, a significant number of Millennials say they feel unprepared to manage their finances and need help with topics across the financial wellness spectrum, including saving for retirement (43 percent), general savings help (40 percent), paying down or managing debt (34 percent), saving for major expenses (36 percent) and budgeting (31 percent). 

Peer pressure, maintaining the status quo and lavish lifestyles often lead millennials to the brink of a financial crisis if they do not plan their finances well in advance. Many are highly ignorant about how to proceed with investments; banks or mutual funds, long term or short term, commodity or shares, and a lot more. About 43% feel that they require more help with investing, 40% wanting more information on how to save taxes and 21% feel that they want to save more. It’s an additional issue when they require funds in a lump sum for unforeseen expenditure or a major purchase. They either trap themselves in instalments or else fall in a debt trap. 63% of Millennials consistently carry balances on their credit cards and two out of five have trouble making minimum monthly credit card payments.

Future Concerns

Besides provident fund schemes, gratuity and a few other benefits, employees aren’t assured adequately about their future. They remain concerned about their retirement and pension, their children’s education, medical expenses and a lot more. Pension schemes are offered by insurance firms, but which one is best suited remains a matter of concern. Career opportunities and growth also impact future and present decision making. Not surprising then that employees, especially millennials, find themselves to be dependent on their employers.

Why should employers take up financial wellness programmes?

Financial stress not only impacts an employee on a personal level, but his working capabilities and mental faculties get impacted too. Stress can be behind severe health concerns that may lead to employee absenteeism, employee turnover, and dissatisfaction. The issue of financial health becomes of utmost importance to keep the solubility of the firm intact on one hand and to achieve common organisational goals on the other. As per a survey, an employee spends 12 hours on an average each month stressing about their finances. 

Bank of America Merrill Lynch report says that the lack of confidence in financial matters affects Millennials’ workplace behavior. On average, employees spend 3 work hours each week (12 hours per month) dealing with financial stressors.

A well thought of and structured wellness programme may act as a tonic for the employees’ financial health:

#1 Making an in depth study of employee concerns before finalising on the mode the financial programme is critical. Not everyone shares the same crisis, and not everyone will desire third party approvals or advice before taking decisions. A financial assessment is essential before you initiate the program and want it to succeed. This can be an eyeopener for those employees who may have been unaware of the causes of their financial stress and will make them ready to adopt the new financial course.

#2 Educating employees about financial health and other resources should be taken care of as well. This can be one through seminars, online courses, or even lectures and classes conducted by an expert or professional.

#3 The employees must be educated on healthcare costs as well. It doesn’t hurt to take this opportunity to promote healthier lifestyles as well. This can save them a lot in the long run. Group insurance schemes and health insurance schemes should be encouraged as a norm in the organisation.

#4 Financial debt management, especially the management of student loans, is another area of focus. Employers, if possible, could even consider taking it upon themselves to sort out the education loan or debt of the employees as a gesture of goodwill. This can be offered as an employee benefit as well. Executed right, the company can go a long way in earning the reputation of being the best in class when it comes to their employees’ welfare.

#5 Then comes the basic question of managing the current expenses such as installments, deductibles, premiums and other expenses. There are several paradigms involved in financial planning and it can be overwhelming for a millennial who has just been placed on his job.

Encouraging employees to take part in these programmes and letting them get involved through participation, and one on one discussion will assist them in reducing their financial stress. The overall focus of the employee can shift to organisational task boosting his productivity and overall efficiency. At the individual level, it will boost their confidence to manage their current expenses and plan for their future expenses in advance. Financial wellness programmes can, therefore, help in improving employee health and quality of life. A healthy and financially sound human resource can be an unending source of profitability and efficiency for any enterprise.

Should you opt for the Personal Loan Moratorium? Read this before you decide

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting initiatives such as lockdowns across the world have impacted the livelihood of millions globally as well as in India. As a result, many borrowers in India have witnessed a sharp decline in their income making it difficult if not impossible for them to keep making timely loan repayments. To provide relief to such borrowers, India’s Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) initially introduced a 3-month moratorium on term loan repayments for the March to May period. This was subsequently extended for a further 3 months in May for the June to August period. But this is a temporary relief, so to make an informed decision you should consider the following key aspects of RBI loan repayment moratorium.

Applicability of the Moratorium

RBI’s moratorium guidelines specify that it applies to borrowers of all term loans such as home loan, personal loan, car loan, etc. that were sanctioned before 1st April 2020. So if you have already applied for and been approved for the moratorium in March, you can potentially not make any EMI payments for up to 6 months starting on 1st March 2020 and ending on 31st August 2020. After the end of this period, you will, however, have to resume the normal monthly EMI payments once again.  

What’s more, you can apply for the moratorium even if you have multiple loans outstanding with the same lender or with different lenders. But do keep in mind that while you are free to apply for this facility, it is at the discretion of the lender to actually grant this request. For example, some lenders have put in place the criteria that an applicant’s loan account needs to be up to date i.e. no missed payments/defaults till 29th February 2020 to qualify for the moratorium.      

Moratorium Impact on Credit Score

RBI has specifically stated that any EMI payments missed during the moratorium period will have no impact on your credit score provided the lender has approved your moratorium request. Lenders too have confirmed that they will not be reporting missed payments as defaults during the moratorium to credit bureaus and also no late payment fees or penal interest on overdue amounts will be charged during the approved moratorium period.

The Interest Accrual Consideration

While not having to make EMI payments during a cash crunch is a good thing, there is an interest accrual cost that you need to consider. During the moratorium period, interest will continue to accrue on your outstanding personal loan principal at the start of your moratorium period. You can find your outstanding loan principal in your latest personal loan account statement. Alternately, you can use a free personal loan EMI calculator that shows your outstanding principal amount based on your originally sanctioned loan amount, loan start date, and interest rate. Let’s understand how the interest accrual calculation works with an example:

Let’s assume your loan principal outstanding at the start of the moratorium is Rs. 1 lakh and your loan interest rate is 12% p.a. Also, suppose you have availed the full 6-month moratorium.

Based on the above assumption, the monthly nominal rate of interest = 12%/12 months = 1% per month i.e. 1/100 per month Interest for the 1st month of moratorium
= 100,000 x 1/100 = Rs. 1000
Total Interest accrued for 2 months of moratorium = (100,000 + 1,000) x 1/100 + 1,000= Rs. 2010. The principal outstanding is increased by the interest accrued in the previous month, hence principal loan outstanding for the second month is Rs. 1 lakh + Rs. 1,000 (interest for the first month)

By using the same calculation, you will get the following figures:

Total Interest for 1 month of moratorium Rs. 1000
Total Interest for 2 months of moratorium Rs. 2010
Total Interest for 3 months of moratorium Rs. 3,030
Total Interest for 4 months of moratorium Rs. 4,060
Total Interest for 5 months of moratorium Rs. 5,101
Total Interest for 6 months of moratorium Rs. 6,152

Thus in our illustration, you will end up paying an extra Rs. 6,152 as interest accrued for the moratorium period of 6 months. Obviously, if your outstanding loan amount or interest rate is higher, the interest pay-out will also be higher. So, while the personal loan moratorium may not cost you in terms of late fees or penal interest charges, you will have to incur the extra interest cost as shown above.

The Best Course of Action

Many experts have already said this, but it does hold – “Apply for the personal loan moratorium only if you have no choice. If you do not have cash flow issues, stick to your repayment schedule like before”. This advice is practical as every borrower’s situation is unique. Some may be less impacted by the COVID-19 crisis than others and in such a case it does not make sense to pay the extra interest by opting for the moratorium. On the other hand, if you now lack the means to continue paying your loan EMI every month right now, the moratorium will give your much-needed relief as well as some time to try and sort your current financial issues, albeit at the cost of accrued interest.  

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Financial Wellness – All about having the financial freedom to make choices.

In the present evolving workforce, businesses are revaluating how they approach employee benefits. In the endeavors to draw in and hold top ability, organizations are meaning to make all the more engaging advantages programs. They are thinking about new, progressively extensive ways to deal with benefits. Considerably more significantly, they are pondering the make-up of their workforce and which benefits their employees’ worth most.

Millennial-age employees have various unique difficulties and are searching for specific advantages from their bosses. One of the worries of numerous millennial employees is financial wellness.
Financial wellbeing is about being in control of your day-to-day finances and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life.

Some of the signs of financial wellness include:

Being able to pay monthly EMIs or rent
A feeling of control over the financial situation
Having money for necessities
Can afford to maintain a good standard of living
Feeling of secure employment in the current job
Being able to pay for healthcare costs
Saving enough for retirement
Low level of financial stress 
Ability to handle three months unpaid without problem (under emergency crisis)
Confident in ability to afford healthcare-related payments

It is important to note that salary and financial wellness are not entirely dependent on one-and-other. A higher salary does not really bring about better financial wellness. Financial wellness is related to giving your employees the assistance and knowledge they need to smoothly manage their finances.

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, and they battle with financial wellness significantly more than prior generations.

How Does Financial Wellness Impact Your Workplace?

Failure to put resources into your workforce’s financial wellness can have an adverse impact on your bottom line. The first concern is the financial stress your employees face daily.  Businesses with the workforce that are worried about their finances suffer from:
Lower productivity
High attrition rate
Higher absenteeism
Low working morale

How To Help Employees Become Financially Well?

There are some systems and programs an organization can put in place to help its employees become more financially well.

Providing employees access to financial literacy helps empower them to take control of their personal finances. For this assist them with a benefits package that includes financial advice, investment assistance, and help in financial management is highly desirable.

In today’s digital age, employers making work easy for them is accorded a higher priority rather than a higher salary, although good pay certainly remains desirable. Further, employees also like to be cared for, and attractive benefits packages show that the employers care. Employee benefits are, therefore, very important to attract and retain a skilled workforce. There are many instant loan apps available in the market which comes handy while managing the financial crisis.

In addition to all these if possible, get them access to some credible financial coaches. Offering access to a dedicated advisor can give employees peace of mind knowing they have a finance expert to turn to for advice.

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The Convergence of Machine Learning and Big Data In Credit Risk Management

Compiled By: Balakrishnan Narayanan
About Bala: He is the head of analytics at EarlySalary, with over 15 years of extensive experience within the banking and finance industry. At EarlySalary he is responsible for building machine learning and analytical capabilities within the risk, marketing, and customer analytics. For Bala’s passion for solving complex business problems, in 2019, he got listed in the top 100 Data Scientists in Asia at Machinecon, Singapore.

Sources of credit – banks, financial institutions, and more – play a crucial role in sustaining economies and keeping cash flowing in the market. Any miss-assessment – via policies, market trends, etc – not only harms these sources, but their repercussions severely intensify in case of a wide-scale credit blunder. A historical example of such far-reaching chaos is the 2008 housing bubble market crash that traces its origin back to bad credit decisions and flawed lending judgments. The subsequent global financial horrors and the recession period is a trauma from which the market still hasn’t entirely recovered. Therefore it becomes critical for financial institutions to deal in credit whose risk has been adequately assessed. 

Primarily, institutions have a credit risk management system in place to check such miscalculations and avoid any high risk involved credit permission. A credit risk management system assesses the risk in granting credit to a customer, whether an individual or a company, based on their credit score, financial standings, and banking history. The efficiency of the credit risk management system in India might have saved us from a fiasco like the aforementioned 2008 crash, but like every other system and entity, credit risk management is also an area open to upgrades.  Tech developments like Big data and Machine Learning (ML) have brought much-needed advancements in the field of credit risk management systems. These aren’t new paradigms, despite their recent terminology. Even as early as 2014, 45% of bankers found data analytics to be useful in preventing fraud and non-repayment.

Now, more than half a decade later – how has our hold on data evolved? The answer lies in taking a deeper dive into big data and machine learning.

Big Data

We are now, more than ever, living in an age of data. Each and every activity of ours, whether in the real world or the digital realm, contribute to the formulation of our personal data. Compound this for each and every individual and you generate humongous stockpiles that are beyond the capacity of regular, or even moderately advanced data-processing tools. The field of big data comes to our rescue here, with capabilities in processing and analyzing the massive amounts of data we generate. Its incorporation in credit risk management has opened an infinite supply of crucial insights that goes beyond the general banking and assets related information. This helps in improving the credit risk management assessment. 

  • With additional data, like an individual’s payment behavior, interaction with other financial portals, and their projection of financial endowment on social media, we’re assisted in assessing their credibility and crafting better interest rates. For example – does this person often splurge on items unusually expensive for their income level? Do they follow betting pages on their social media? There is data to generate everywhere we look.
  • Data also helps people with no prior credit history in getting loans through similar analysis of their social media activity and other real-world non-financial activities. 
  • The availability of vast data forms an excellent source to analyze the behavioral and financial activities of non-customer individuals and companies and then offering them customized loans based on the result of credit risk management and getting new customers. Recently, in the aftermath of Covid-19’s initial stages, we were able to analyze customer data to assess how Indians were moving across the country prior to the lockdown. This gave us valuable insights into where to offer our services, and fine-tune our loans for specific regions.

Big data thus offers an in-depth look at customers’ activities and evaluates their legitimacy in being a good credit prospect. On the other end, machine learning analyses our data for future trends and predictions. 

Machine Learning

Machine learning provides superior analytical frameworks in examining data clearly and identifying the key patterns in relation to the customer behavior under vivid circumstances. This involves running different ML techniques to gauge necessary results based on risk assessment. 

  • Improved future predictions on customers’ ability and willingness to pay based on current data.
  • Identifying patterns driving the financial activities of the customer.
  • Constructing the financial behavioral profile of the customer in various circumstances.

Machine learning can involve self-improving and recursive algorithms via a range of techniques – supervised, unsupervised, and reinforcement learning. Without diving too deep into them – these concepts allow our tools to study data and learn from them on their own. For example, our data may be quick to dismiss customers with an interest in betting as worthy borrowers, but insights from machine learning may well reveal that in some special circumstances, such as when the candidate is from a mathematical background, they happen to be fairly skilled in the field, generate steady income and are excellent borrowers.

The convergence of Big Data and Machine Learning

The convergence of Big Data and Machine learning, therefore, is revolutionary assimilation to credit risk management. Their disruptiveness has not only improved the credit risk management system but aided in the expansion of the credit industry overall. The following is just a glimpse of their consequences in the credit sector:

  • Authorization of good credit, and a safety net for banks from the debacles of bad credit. 
  • Crucial insights for penetrating the ‘New to Credit’ segment with no credit history, with a personalized marketing strategy based on simulations. This can heavily expand the customer base. 
  • Accurate fraud detection with pattern recognition.

Since Big Data and ML are elaborating credit risk management systems, it is time to look at a key question. 

The Future of Credit Risk Management System

The credit risk management systems of today should thrive when propelled by big data and machine learning. The inclusion of artificial intelligence (AI) in the system will also offer crucial insights into how financial institutions may improve customer acceptance rates, and offer them accurate rates of interest. Together with the advancements in the individual technologies, a more specialized credit risk management system is on the horizon. 

A key fact that needs to be acknowledged is that these technologies are themselves in a stage of infancy and continue to see upgrades – both small and big leaps – with passing each day. We continue to suffer from biases in data that creep in every now and then in our algorithms. But as many would agree – this will only be improved as we feed our systems more data to fine-tune themselves. As a result, these biases will diminish over time and offer us the opportunity to work with more evolved and capable credit risk management systems. Technology is a field of anticipations and subsequent awes. Let’s see what the future holds for credit risk management. 

Get your loan approved within few minutes with instant cash loan apps

In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic and sporadic lockdowns – and their impact on our finances, running from pillar to post for loan applications and approvals is the last scenario you’d want to deal with. In this age, with all services digitalized, borrowing online is now easy. With dozens of lenders advancing loans online, instant cash loan apps have emerged as one of the most convenient options. 

While we all plan every penny of our earned income, slip-ups and financial emergencies are unpredictable. This is where instant cash loan apps can help for all your personal loan needs. The old conventional financial products are now evolving to suit different needs – whether they are spontaneous purchases or essential medical emergencies. In this article, we tell you about loan application eligibility in today’s age and 5 benefits of instant cash loan apps that can help you fight a cash crunch. 

How To Apply For An Instant Cash Loan & Get Instant Approval

Loan apps can complete the entire loan process online. You can check your eligibility without submitting any documents. Apply for a loan online by: 

  • Registering on an instant loan app, 
  • Uploading your address proof, 
  • Identity proof (preferably PAN card), 
  • Employment and salary details and, 
  • Your account details. 

Loan apps are password protected and so is every transaction made through them. This ensures your data security against identity theft and even if someone cracks your password, the money can only be transferred to your account. No third party can change the account details. 

Once your loan is approved, you need to upload a cancelled cheque leaf from the salary account. Your loan agreement is mailed to you after successfully uploading these documents. EarlySalary typically takes 8 to 24 hours to process the loan. The loan amount is transferred within minutes of loan approval.   

The Internet and smartphones have made instant cash loans in India a reality. With over a dozen instant loan apps in the market, getting cash loans within minutes of your application is no longer a utopian scenario. A quick comparison between the various cash loan apps for interest rates and repayment options can bring up options ranging from an instant loan to a salary advance loan and help you manage money crunch. 

Advantages of Instant Cash Loan

Famous athlete and Olympic Gold medalist Carl Lewis once said, “Life is all about timing”. It is in times of great uncertainty and professional commitments that time is now a more valuable asset. In various pursuits, don’t let lack of finances stop you. Here’s how a quick loan approval from a loan app can help you.  

  • Hassle-free Application Process 

Instant loan apps have a breezy registration and application process. Doing your homework by checking loan eligibility and EMIs with an online EMI calculator provides higher chances of loan approval.  With on the go access and instant loan approval, cash loan apps can help you whenever there is an emergency. Simply open Play Store/ App Store, dig out a reliable money loan app like EarlySalary, and upload the requisite documents. 

  • No middleman 

The biggest advantage of a cash loan app is privacy and security. OTPs and fingerprints verify every request or transaction made. There is no risk of losing your personal information. Your data is secured through encryption. In-app permissions ensure that you share only necessary information, no more, no less. 

  • Instant cash disbursal 

eKYC, online documentation, and online loan approval reduce the time taken by loan apps to disburse the loan. The lending process is simple and the decision to lend or not is typically made within a few hours of your application and instant cash loan is transferred directly to your bank account.

  • No effect on credit score 

Short-term financial constraints may affect your credit score. However, the risk of rejection of a cash loan based on your credit score is much lower in the case of instant loan apps. With instant money loan apps, check your preferred loan type, eligibility, and loan sanction is certain in almost all cases. With EarlySalary’s instant cash loan app, you can also calculate your EMI using the in-app EMI calculator.

  • Available for all purposes 

You can use an instant cash loan for travel, shopping, marriage, rent, vehicle, education, and much more, no questions asked. You may use the amount for almost anything and everything. Apps like EarlySalary also offer discounts and offers on transactions with partners such as Amazon and MakeMyTrip.

In times like these, there is plenty already for all of us to deal with. Contrary to conventional loans, instant cash loan apps take only a few minutes for approval, before the disbursement is completed right to your bank account. To sum it up – the EarlySalary instant cash loan app offers credit when you want it, wherever you want it, with no prepayment charges and flexible repayment options thrown in as well. Download the app now and get your instant cash loan approved within minutes!  

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Returning to Work after COVID-19: A Guide

Compiled By: Sandeep Raghunath
About Sandeep: He is the Head of Human Resources at EarlySalary, with 10+ years of international experience in HR across industries.

Remember the rush in the crowded metros at the office hours? Remember the group meetings of the corporate projects? Remember those long office hours at the workplace? 

Now, that phase of our life has become something of the past. This pandemic has impacted our lives and our way of living. Earlier, being social was considered to be a critical aspect of our lives, almost a skill. But with the recent turn of events, being at home is the best decision one could make.

But sooner or later, all of us will move past this COVID-19 pandemic. This may not happen tomorrow or one week from now. Hence, we should accept the fact that returning to a normal routine would take a lot of time. Encouragingly, countries like China and South Korea are gradually beginning to come back to their ordinary lives.

A key question that would arise is what “normal” would be like after the COVID-19 pandemic. As per the current scenario, the Indian workforce is compelled to operate from home.

Setting up a workplace would be a challenging task after the pandemic. To prop tasks up while limiting the hazards, most organizations have adopted new and better approaches for employees that have left their workplaces, production lines, stores, and different offices generally unfilled.

What changes could be implemented after COVID-19 with respect to workplaces?

According to Apex Leadership, some changes that could be observed in  workplaces are:

  • General Changes

If the workplace re-opens after the situation becomes normal, the very first few changes would include the comfort of being alone rather than being with a group. 

Covid-19, work from home

General protocols would be impacted and questions like, ‘Is there any important reason to perform this operation online?’ would be changed to  ‘Is there any valid justification to do this face to face?’

  • Screening at  office gates

A fairly essential suggestion – organizations will try to operate virtually but workplaces, where physical attendance is compulsory, will certainly consider the concept of thermal screening of employees at the office gates. Checking employees and guests for fever before entering the workplace would be mandatory, and having rules like leaving some seats empty and making workstations far apart from each other would be some steps that would be taken up by organizations after the situation becomes normal. 

  • Work From Home Culture. 

The coronavirus did what years of digital transformation could not – we figured out how to work remotely over the internet after the onset of the pandemic. And this change may be here to stay. The work from the home model would be the primary choice for both employees and organizations and this may compel industry-wide mass adoption, even for those that were not in favor of having a virtual workforce. It is, after all, a leaner, more flexible model. 

Additionally, WFH proves to be a cost-cutting method for companies as office rent, and multiple other overheads are reduced significantly from the company’s expenditure. 

  • Replacement of Traditional Models

Being the first to arrive at the workplace and the last one to leave was already a flawed way to look at productivity, and it’ll certainly not be considered an indicator of the productivity of an individual going forward. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be evaluated on the work they complete in a given time frame, rather than just sitting for long office hours.

  •  Interaction with Customers and Stakeholders

The most impacted aspects of the workplace would include interactions with customers and stakeholders. The current scenario might change how organizations meet with customers and stakeholders, alongside everyday tasks. Perhaps the trickiest part of the new working environment will be the way organizations connect with their customers and stakeholders. Customary interpersonal meetings have already been replaced with video calls.

  • Introduction to online communication courses

Most organizations will try to train their teams for the new normal. Modules on remote working, management, should see a steady video conference course to use for customers, stakeholders, and others. But finding the correct harmony between the face to face and virtual gatherings is vital.

To Sum up

Are organizations equipped to handle a new working environment? No one has witnessed changes of this magnitude in their lives. While most organizations have business continuity plans set up for calamitous occasions like fire, seismic tremors, and floods, etc, only a few organizations were prepared for the degree of disturbance brought about by COVID-19. It’s why hiring freezes and even downsizing are in effect.

How our work environments will change once this pandemic is over and the world returns to normalcy is yet to be seen. But it’s a reasonable guess that the new normal will be more inclined towards a work from home environment.

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The Relationship Between Yoga & Financial Wellness

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”. This infamous quote by investing tycoon and philanthropist Warren Buffet summarises the criticality of managing your finances effectively and consistently. Financial wellness or financial well-being can be summarised as efficiently managing one’s economic life. It includes many factors such as rational and controlled spending, being well-equipped for financial emergencies, having adequate access to resources to manage and make feasible financial decisions, and planning for the future. Yoga is often known as a ‘physical exercise’, with different asanas and positions that require flexibility and practice. However, it is a discipline that results in mental as well as physical well-being, if done regularly and properly. On the occasion of World Yoga Day 2020, we explore the relationship with Yoga & Financial Wellness – which is both an enabler of both mental and physical harmony.

In our fast-paced world, mental health, in particular, has taken a back seat. This truth is out there for everyone to see: 

  • Mental illnesses affect over 19% of the adult population, but less than half of the affected people actually do something about it. 
  • The two most common mental illnesses are anxiety disorders and mood disorders. More than 18% of adults suffer each year from anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and general anxiety disorder. 
  • Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar depression affect nearly 10% of adults each year, and the numbers are rising. 

Hence, it’s important to recognize mental health as essential as physical health. Yoga has proven to improve mental health significantly. After all, it increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms the nervous system.

Yoga and financial wellness have an unconventional relationship. Finances are one of the leading causes of stress, and to gain overall wellness, one’s mind, body, and money should be in order. Yoga is a well-known stress reliever, but that’s not all. Here are a few ways in which yoga can enhance and improve financial wellness:

Assessing and acknowledging difficult financial situations

The first step to financial well-being is acknowledging our existing problems and shortcomings, such as debts, unpaid loans, etc. and assessing the situation in order to have a broad idea about your overall financial standing. Yoga asanas such as Savaasna and Sukhasna aid you in relaxing and contemplating. Thinking about difficult financial situations can be stressful and overwhelming. 

Yoga Day

However, incorporating yoga can help in reducing stress, alleviate pressure, and has an important role in making sure that you are financially fit and thriving. At EarlySalary, we’ve long been keen on assisting professionals in evaluating and managing their finances to promote better productivity at work

Formulating a financial plan

Yoga Day

One of the many principles of Yoga is aligning the mind, the body, and the spirit. These three are essential to the overall well-being of a person. We can draw a parallel in the financial world by drawing a balance between return requirement, risk appetite, and liquidity needs. These are important for efficient financial management. Formulating a detailed and well-balanced financial plan that takes into account your existing assets and liabilities, and helps you being well-aligned to your short term and long term goals is key to financial well being. EarlySalary has partnered with more than 250 companies and assisted over 4 million employees in overcoming their financial worries. 

Calming and relaxing the mind for rational thinking

Yoga Day

Being calm and composed is imperative to making rational and sane financial decisions. Yoga has principles such as:

  • Sattave, a state of harmony and 
  • Tamas, a state of inertia, 

that help in relaxing the body and the mind to make room for reasonable, calculated contemplation and decision making. 

Being able to take a step back and assessing your financial situation, along with taking a break from the daily stress of hectic work life can help take a huge burden off and make you more patient and mindful while managing your finances. Financial stress also leads to the issues of employee turnover and absenteeism on part of the employees. With partners such as Bajaj Allianz, Apollo Munich, and Coverfox, EarlySalary ensures that the premium of insurance plans is paid on time. It also assists employees in times of medical emergencies by providing emergency loans to cover hospital bills and to pay EMIs of previous loans. 

Adopting a positive and optimistic mindset

Yoga Day

“The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” This quote by Winston Churchill summarises the importance of positive thinking and the power of an optimistic mindset. To stay on the right track, one needs to be focussed. 

  • Asanas such as Vrikshaasna and Bakasana help you improve your concentration and focus. These help you stay on track and regularly follow up with your overall plan. 
  • A positive mind is a healthy mind, and optimism empowers you and makes you confident enough to make major financial changes that you might have been avoiding. 

Clearly, yoga contributes significantly in making you more optimistic and helps you make positive financial decisions.

Yoga Is As Essential As Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is closely connected to your physical and mental well-being. The overall purpose of yoga is to release one’s body and mind of stress and tension that might be a product of poor finances or a financial crisis. Yoga gives you the time and space to set your goals and be thankful for what you have, making it easier for you to point out your financial goals and map effective plans that equip you to manage your money well.

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This Father’s Day, Let’s Remember His Financial Advice With #PapaKehteHain

In many homes across the world, especially within our nation, fathers have been traditionally responsible for the financial well-being of their children. This has extended to their role of teaching a child how to sustain themselves when they are on their own. This Father’s Day, let’s celebrate some of the absolutely vital, key pieces of advice that our fathers remembered to share with us!

#1 Save 

A fairly obvious piece of advice that fathers would never forget to announce – the act of saving is essential if you want to sustain your wealth throughout life, and opposed to those who live a lavish lifestyle and then struggle to make do. Fathers are usually the first ones to inculcate the concept of saving money in every child. This financial advice can prove to be the deal-breaker for many kids as they grow up. It is often the father who urges their child to begin saving a chunk of their salary, from the very first paycheck!

#2 Invest

“No risk, no reward!” – a statement that is often heavily emphasized by fathers, especially when it comes to generating more wealth for oneself. The financial advice of investing along with where and what to invest in is often felt like a cardinal role by many financially equipped fathers. The importance of having your monetary feet in many wells is essential to create wealth beyond your immediate capacity.

#3 Pay on time

Perhaps a moral lesson because of the stigma attached to it – “Don’t be a defaulter!” goes a long way. Whether it is to avoid bad debt or to understand the consequences of late payment or just to inculcate good principles. Timely payment is a piece of advice that can change the life of those who follow it religiously. From banks taking away collateral to loan sharks, there are a variety of unpleasant scenarios that can arise from paying your bills late or rather not adhering to the concept of timely payment. Fortunately, new age instant loan apps like EarlySalary aren’t harsh on borrowers and offer flexible repayment options.

#4 Financial Independence

Father's Day
It is often the father who urges their child to begin saving a chunk of their salary, from the very first paycheck!

Weaning off the financial dependence on your family, or even partner is a dream many would like to live as quickly as possible. Fathers hope to make that dream come true by never forgetting to share the importance of being financially independent, right from when we start earning. 

#5 Financial Prudence

Father's Day
Throughout our life, we have to balance our investment and savings, the way of life of buying “just what you need” is important.

“Don’t buy anything until you can afford it twice.” A famous principle to live by. Living life under your budget is hinted at from an early age when we’re not allowed to buy sweets just because we want them. Throughout our life, we have to balance our investment and savings, the way of life of buying “just what you need” is important. Purchasing and owning the quality that is required rather than what is marketed better or what might get one social point is essential to have a bigger savings account; one of the most valuable financial advice given by our fathers!

#6 Property

This may be last on the list but we’re sure it’s an idea that’s certainly drilled into our heads by our fathers. Investing in a property after a few years into your career is a concept many fathers champion. They’d often even say – the earlier you start, the lower is your EMI for the same amount of loan.

This Father’s Day, let’s come together to thank our fathers for their priceless financial advice. Share your fatherly stories with us by using the hashtag #PapKehteHain and tagging us.
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How many ways can you get a personal loan in India?

Personal Loans are arguably the one-size-fits-all solution for all urgent and uncategorized needs for money. Unlike specified loans – like a home loan or an auto loan – these loans are usually unsecured, which essentially means that you can get them without any collateral and the money can be utilized for any purpose. The flexibility in terms of utilization of the loan is what makes it so attractive – put them on covering wedding expenses, to fund your foreign travel or any contingent expenses which may come your way. 

In addition to being easy to get, they are much more economical as compared to borrowing via a credit card, as there is a difference of almost 2x in their interest rates. Plus, credit card debts adversely impact your credit score and also are subject to a credit limit, which is highly variable, and likely annoying. You don’t want to run out of money on a foreign trip or in the middle of a wedding shopping spree, do you?

Tapping on the growing need for personal loans in contemporary times,  Several banking and non-banking financial entities have made the process of getting personal loans simpler and in some cases, instant. Some of the popular avenues that you can explore to get a personal loan are mentioned below:

Through a Commercial Bank 

All traditional banks have the option of granting personal loans to existing clients as well as new ones. The reach of these banks is much more than any other institution. In fact, more bank accounts have been created in India in the last year than all the bank accounts in the US.

Most of the banks follow a set pattern for the application process of the personal loan. Almost all provide various different plans depending upon factors like the amount of the loan, the duration, previous credit history, nature of the loan among others. Earlier, most of the banks had a tedious process for this which involved a mountain of paperwork and other formalities.

However, in recent times, they have simplified this process to a large extent and have created a single-window application process. They have even moved forward from all the paperwork and allow getting the personal loan using net banking, through the Bank website or the ATM, sitting comfortably at home. An example of this is HDFC or SBI Saral Personal Loan

Through a Cooperative Bank

Even though these banks operate at a smaller rate and have a comparatively smaller user base as compared to commercial banks, most cooperative banks have the provision of granting a personal loan. The benefit of availing a personal loan from such a bank is that the formalities are simplified, as they are regulated by RBI and work for giving additional benefits to the society instead of being run for a profit motive. Also, as opposed to commercial banks, their average interest rate lies between 14% to 18%. Additionally, the processing fee is fairly low in such personal loans. 

However, there are certain shortcomings attached to taking a loan from these banks. They are: 

  • More often than not, these are only available to targeted groups like women, MSMEs, or agriculturists. 
  • The maximum limit of loans is also significantly lower ie. usually only up to 5 lacs. 
  • A personal loan application is valid as long as you are a member of that cooperative, which means you have to buy the shares of that particular bank. 
  • They have a restricted number of options that one can avail

However, owing to the less stringent regulations, getting a personal loan from these banks is an attractive avenue, especially in case you want a small loan or if you are in a rural area. Some of the popular cooperatives offering personal loans are Abhyudaya Bank and Saraswat Cooperative bank, among others. 

Online Lenders 

Rapid advancements in the India fintech sector has enabled a whole new market of personal loans in the country, while simultaneously taking the entire banking industry by storm. In fact, it is touted that in due course of time, it’s argued that Indian fintech may give conventional banks a run for their money, pun intended. 

The reason for their growing popularity is simple. Fintech offerings personal loans: 

  • Are easily accessible, 
  • Give you a loan at a great interest rate, 
  • Are quick, with rapid disbursement right into your account.

All of this, without making you run from pillar to post. What’s not to love? Even Todd Nelson, senior vice president of online lender LightStream agrees when he says “There’s no need to go to a bank branch, fill out paperwork, then wait to get an answer and finally receive your funds. You can get a loan at your convenience via a computer, tablet, or smart device.”

The Indian market is swarming with these portals giving instant personal loans at a simple click. They are collateral-free and require next to zero formalities for the disbursement of personal loan. It is important to make a wise and important choice when you are spoiled for choices with lenders like EarlySalary and others. You can check out the best money lending app in our previous post

Personal Loans

EarlySalary is one of the market leaders on personal loans in the country, with great features such as a flexible repayment option, instant loan disbursement, and incredibly low-interest rates to name a few. There are a number of additional advantages EarlySalary offers that your bank just won’t. So, log into EarlySalary and put an end to your money woes now! 

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Compliance Calendar: Important Tax Dates for 2020 [After Coronavirus Changes]

The global nature of the coronavirus has compelled life as we know it to come to a halt. In the wake of this pandemic, India is no exception. With a majority of commercial and non-commercial activities being put on hold for the last 2 months due to the ongoing national lockdown, almost all aspects of the country have suffered tremendously – socially, economically, and more.

The government, however, is making several provisions for the general public to get their lives back on track, especially as the lockdown is being relaxed in several parts of the country in a phased manner. One of the most required revival plans is that of the economic activities, especially tax payment aspects. 

In light of the Coronavirus outbreak, with almost all professions and occupations on a standstill and incomes at an all-time low, it becomes pertinent to adjust the timeline of tax payments. As a norm, the tax compliance cycle begins from January and goes on up till July. However, in light of the recent developments, the timelines had to be extended for this financial year. 

Extension of Tax Dates for Financial Year 19-20

Due to the above-mentioned reasons, the Indian government offered a few relaxations under the Income Tax Act and other direct assessment laws. The administration stretched out cutoff tax dates and deadlines to document personal assessment forms under a few direct duty rules, and also relaxed the penalties under different laws. 

One of the major impacts of this step would be that it would directly affect the financial liquidity of individuals in these troublesome times. This money can be rerouted for medical expenses or for sustaining essentials for the time being. In addition to this, the government offered a 25 percent decrease in TDS (Tax Deduction at Source) for non-salaried determined installments and TCS (Tax Collection at Source) for indicated receipts. It also decreased the Employee Provident fund for 3 months in the case of private firms. 

In addition, the government also lowered the interest rate on delayed payment of advance taxes, tax deducted at source, tax collected at source and equalization levy, etc. from 12 or 18 percent to 9 percent, on the condition that the payment is made up till June 30. 

Some of the noteworthy steps taken by the government in regards to the dates of the tax regime are:

  • The due date for all tax assessment forms for FY 2019-20 has been rescheduled from July 31 and October 31 to November 30. 
  • The due date for auditing of tax has been extended from September 30 to October 31, 2020. 
  • The window for making installments under ‘Vivaad se Vishwas Scheme‘— an expense question goals component—with no extra sum has been stretched out till December 31.
  • Due Date of documenting of Income Tax Return for F.Y. 2019-20 (A.Y. 2020-21) by assessees whose records are not required to be examined is 31st July 2020. 
  • Due date of documenting of Income Tax Return for F.Y. 2019-20 (A.Y. 2020-21) by assessees whose records are required to be reviewed is 30th September 2020.
  • Documenting ITR Due Date for (Assessees who are required to outfit report under sec 92E) has been extended to 30th November 2020 
  • Due dates for documenting Income Tax Returns by organizations whose Books of Account are required to be audited has been extended to 30th September 2020. 
  • Further, for the compliance of other direct taxes under the regime, such as the Wealth Tax Act, Equalization Levy, Benami Property Transaction Act among others has also been extended till June 30 from March 20, 2020. 

The primary purpose of all of these steps taken by the government is not only to ensure that the economic interests of the individuals are protected but also to protect the law and order situation of the country which may have been disturbed in case adequate relief would not have been provided. Further, it would lead to a plethora of litigation being filed in various courts, causing further depletion of the State’s revenue. 

Having said that, due credit and sincere appreciation should be given to the government for making progressive policies as well as adjusting them according to the rapidly evolving contemporary situations that prevail in the country. This is a  challenging and tough time, and we, along with the Government, should make constant strides to overcome the problems presented to us because of the coronavirus. For advice on best practices during tax filing, refer to our post here.

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Financial Wellness: The New Must-Have Employee Benefit

The employer-employee relationship has come a long way in today’s time, having evolved from being merely a linear chain of command in the workplace to a dynamic and multi-faceted relationship transcending the boundaries of a workplace. 

In times where financial wellness and financial planning are an inalienable part of every individual’s life not just in the professional sphere but also the personal one, it becomes pertinent for the employers to make certain stipulations to take care of it. A well-rounded way to do so is by way of providing them with a financial wellness program. 

What does a Financial Wellness Program mean? 

Evolved out of the growing need to handle complex financial situations of organizations as well as individuals, a financial wellness program aims to provide adequate information and assistance to employees with regards to handling their personal financial situations. It includes assistance on matters like consumer credit building, financial goal setting, financial crisis management, personal and household budgeting among others. 

With the right guidance, employees will be able to take care of their personal goals and also effectively contribute more towards the organizations’ goals. However, there is no straight-jacket formula to launch and maintain a successful financial wellness program. It involves several facets, such as:

  • Workshops and training programs by financial professionals 
  • Dedicated Portfolio managers for individual financial needs 
  • Partnership with Financial wellness organizations 
  • Easy loan schemes and tie-up with Banks 
  • E- support by way of an online portal, AI or even an App 

Why Financial Wellness Programs are critical 

Financial wellness is a prerequisite for a productive employee. In fact, according to a 2017 report on optimizing financial wellness programs, employees with low financial wellness and high financial stress cost their employers directly, in the range of tens of thousands of INR per employee, annually.

This financial stress is detrimental to the efficient functioning of any organization. This was clearly illustrated by a 2018 report by the firm John Hancock which observed that 69% of the workforce was stressed about their finances, with 72% admitting to worrying about their personal finances at work, and one in three doing so more than once a week. This directly affects their health and also their productivity at work.

It is clear as day that the traditional approach to employee benefit is no longer effective and if the growing needs of the employees are not taken care of, it seems to have dire effects on the overall performance of the organization. 

What do financial wellness programs bring to the table?

Even though it may seem to many that handling personal finances of individuals may lie outside the scope of the workplace, this isn’t necessarily true in today’s evolving work scenarios. In fact, as employers move towards rolling out financial wellness programs, they are also routinely expanding its already existing contours. The reasons for this are obvious. Even back in 2018, ASSOCHAM estimated a savings of over $20 billion for Indian organizations adopting financial wellness programs. Meanwhile in the West, according to research from the Bank of America, half of the employers (53%) in the US now offer such programs compared to only 24% in 2015. This goes on to prove that the benefits of the said program accrue to both the employer and the employee. Some of the major benefits to employees include: 

  • Lower stress to the individuals about financial wellness 
  • Easier asset creation in terms of real estate, investments among others with the assistance of the employer
  • Better planned long term investments for post-retirement security 
  • Easy repayment for personal loans 
  • Elevated job satisfaction 

All of these contribute to making an individual professional more focussed, efficient, and dedicated. As an HR professional would know, this not only helps in personal growth but also assists teams with the bigger picture. 

Apart from the obvious benefit of having a dedicated workforce, some other benefits which accrue to the employers include: 

  • Increased employee productivity leading to better results 
  • Improved task force management 
  • Lower employee absenteeism 
  • Lower employee turnover 
  • A conducive work environment that attracts better prospective employees and goodwill in the market 
  • Lesser need for paycheck garnishment 
  • Stability in the organization attract better clients and investors 
  • Increases the prospects of expansion

Executed correctly, it can be a win-win situation for both employees and the organization. 

Having clearly understood the importance of financial wellness programs and the kind of benefits that accrue from it, it is a no brainer and all organizations should include it as a sine qua non in their employee benefits scheme. In fact, that is precisely the reason why an increasing number of organizations are enthusiastically opting for it.

However, the next very important aspect to be considered is that the program should not just merely be one launched to check the box off your list of initiatives. Your employees should actually, truly derive the intended benefits. In today’s time, with several of these programs available, finding the right one can be a tough choice. EarlySalary recognized this need early on and offered corporates a simplified solution with the EarlySalary financial wellness programme. With features like instant advance salary, school fee financing, provisions for medical emergencies, it is a one-stop solution for all financial needs for the employees in these uncertain times.

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