SOLE Financial Implements $15 Minimum Wage

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In an effort to eliminate wage inequality, Portland, Oregon-based SOLE Financial adopts a wage enhancement plan to benefit entry level call center employees.

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On one hand, a more skilled applicant is exactly what we need. On the other, individuals who we would have hired last year are being bumped from the process as the caliber of our employees increases.

Portland-based payroll debit card provider, SOLE Financial, implemented a $15 minimum wage in early July 2016 to support the movement for raising the national minimum wage and to directly benefit entry-level employees.

SOLE Financial's primary mission is to serve the underserved by delivering a quality financial tool for the un- and underbanked. This mission extends to its employees as well. By keeping the cardholder call center in-house, SOLE has ensured quality customer care while creating local entry-level jobs within a progressive office environment. Employing a diverse mix of entry-level and professional employees has created a lively company culture, although maintaining a sense of equality across the board has been challenging.

In early 2015, SOLE’s President Tom Secor and CEO Rick Holt conceived a strategy to address internal issues of wage inequality—a one-year path termed Wage Enhancement Plan (WEP). The goal was to elevate employee standards, productivity, and morale while simultaneously raising their pay. Employees would benefit from being well-paid for their work, while call center operations and customer satisfaction would improve from the heightened standards.

Secor shared his reflections on the positive benefits and unexpected impacts of the process in an article for LinkedIn. Secor details how the process was made possible while exploring the complex implications of a minimum wage increase, such as, “With higher wages, our job openings now attract a more experienced workforce, and as we grow we’ll have more of those positions to fill. On one hand, a more skilled applicant is exactly what we need to drive future growth and success in the industry. On the other, individuals who we would have hired just one year ago are being bumped from the process as the caliber of our call center employees increases."

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Taylor Ellsworth
SOLE Financial
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