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KAIRA | Easing Financial Stress for Employees | Eric Mac Nicoll

Eric Mac Nicoll

Co-founder & CEO

In today’s day and age, there are numerous reports of increasing anxiety levels, low motivation, and exhaustion. But have we ever thought that the people struggling with those problems are the same people showing up to work at various organizations? This is not about a few employees just having a bad day. These are heavy troubles that take a toll on how the employees operate at work—most of these troubles are rooted in financial stress.

A recent study by Ceridian and the Financial Wellness Lab of Canada shows that 82% of employees worry about their money problems while at work in North America. Of these, 23% worry about it at work for more than an hour a week. It shows that personal finances are the number one cause of employee stress. It is more critical than workload, health, and relationship problems combined. This leads to an estimated loss of productivity of 664-billion-dollar U.S. per year for North American companies.

The market is growing, and with an economic context that will remain difficult, employers and their employees will be actively looking for solutions to solve the issue. Last year, 97% of employers said they were responsible for their employees’ financial wellness. And 74% of employees said employers must offer financial wellness benefits.

Canadian company KAIRA offers an AI-powered financial wellness platform for employees and employers. Kaira has built the future of workers’ health with an AI-powered financial wellness solution. The company provides a new type of employee benefit that increases the value of an employer’s overall compensation. Its mobile application helps improve employees’ financial health and general well-being. This is done by coaching them in managing their finances and their ability to save and by assisting them in reducing the impact of financial stress on their daily lives. For employers, Kaira gives them the ability to understand the financial health of their team and, above all, the means to identify opportunities to support their employees’ financial health better.

Eric Mac Nicoll, Co-founder & CEO, is the brainchild behind Kaira, inspiring Kaira’s employees, and everyone he interacts with, including the clients (employers and benefits providers) and investors. His passionate trait is contagious and brings Kaira’s employees the « want » to achieve its objective: to empower users to reach their financial well-being and make money a positive energy in their lives. Armed with this passion, he wants to change the employer-employee relationship.

Taking Care of Finance

Employees often show their financial stress by missing days at work. According to the study, 36% of employees have missed work due to a financial problem. They are also more easily distracted and unable to focus on their job, affecting workplace productivity.

Kaira’s app provides recommendations based on the person’s needs while considering their financial and socioeconomic situation and relationship to money. To better understand how Kaira works, let’s look at the employees’ journey through the app:

To begin with, Kaira helps them understand their relationship to money, financial health, and stress levels. “We’ve developed a simple self-assessment that allows each person to discover what money means to them. A second self-assessment enables them to discover how they perceive their financial health,” explains Eric. “Then, Kaira allows them to connect their bank and financial data from all their institutions, giving them a consolidated view of their personal finances. The app uses bank-level security, and anonymized data to guarantee confidentiality and security.”

The solution also allows the digital A.I. coach to compare how they perceive their finances and behavior. Kaira proposes a financial coaching plan that considers their needs and situation. It helps them maintain good financial habits by assisting employees to track and categorize their income, spending, assets, and debts.

Employers, on their end, have access to Kaira Insight, an easy-to-use anonymized and aggregated business intelligence tool, helping them gain insights into the general financial health of their employees. This enables them to understand where their teams’ global challenges or distresses lie and helps them identify appropriate actions to improve their employees’ overall well-being. It helps them determine where the next dollar could be invested in terms of financial benefits and the possible impact of this.

Becoming An Industry Leader

According to a new research by TalentLMS zooms into financial wellness programs in the workplace: Are employees getting them, are those programs helpful, and is the offer aligned with employees’ needs? The survey of 1,000 employees in the U.S. across industries also took the pulse of money-related views between four working generations, and highlighted areas of alignment and contrast between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

The research showed that 78% of employees find it important to get support from their company, 68% of employees are more likely to stay longer at their current job if their employer offers them financial wellness benefits, and, 61% are more likely to stay at their current job if financial wellness training and resources are offered.

What differentiates Kaira is its unique Al platform delivering digital coaching solutions for financial wellness, supporting employees and employers within one platform. Their solution is the only one to combine: 

> for employees:

  • assessment of financial behaviors.
  • financial well-being index.
  • connection of financial data.
  • consolidation of personal finances.
  • personalized digital coaching.

> for employers:

  • a view of the financial health and stress levels of their workforce.
  • identification of opportunities to support the financial well-being of their employees.

Thanks to the consolidation of finances in the same application and through the coaching offered, Kaira has seen a notable improvement in spending-related behaviors of the users, resulting in an improvement in their budget leeway of approximately $9,000 per person over the last 12 months. Most users (56%) face difficulties balancing their finances and living paycheck to paycheck. Kaira’s solution has helped them better track their spending and financial behaviors. This empowerment has led to less stress and better engagement in their lives.

The implementation is straightforward, and no deployment is necessary in the company environment. A code associated with the company is created and shared with employees. All that remains for them is to install the application, make their account, and enter the code provided by the employer, and that’s it. Kaira is a software as a service (SAAS) allowing users to connect to and use the app over the Internet.

Towards the Future

A free lunch is an excellent company benefit, but if employers want to change employees’ lives, supporting financial health fundamentally enhances well-being. It will move the dial on employee engagement and productivity and catalyze business growth and profitability. Kaira contributes to the employer branding.

Kaira’s mission is to help employers improve the well-being of employees at work with a unique digital personalized coaching solution for financial wellness. From the start of 2018, they have been dedicated to transforming peoples’ approach to their finances. With their expertise and empathy, Kaira’s fintech platform empowers users to overcome financial challenges and achieve their goals. With over 80 years of experience leading innovation and implementing digital solutions for major financial institutions, the founders have extensive experience in financial services and modern fintechs. “We are supported by a team of passionate experts in technology, Al, marketing and product development,” says Eric.

For the road ahead, Kaira is looking to add debt coaching, financial planning, retirement, and financial education elements to its coaching. In addition, Eric and his team would like to integrate reward elements to encourage users to continue their efforts to improve their financial health. “We are also looking at integration with employee assistance program platforms, and at offering employers a solution enabling them to allocate an amount of money per employee to support them in difficult financial times, all integrated into the Kaira platform and linked with the payroll service,” elucidates Eric.

" We are continuing our efforts to sign agreements with distribution partners across Canada and the United States, including firms specializing in employee benefits, group insurance, group savings and payroll services. The Kaira offering is currently available in Canada, Australia and New Zealand and will be available in the U.S. in October 2023. "

Eric Mac Nicoll

Co-founder & CEO

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