Design Research + Strategy

A New Financial Product

What if a HR benefit could increase employees' loyalty and their financial well-being? 

// Behavioral Research, Product Design



A leading online HR services provider wanted to design a new product that would both enhance its value proposition for small business customers and increase the financial well-being of its customers' employees. 

Project: A new product for an online HR services provider
Collaborators: Claire Lefevre, Julia Lindpaintner
Context: This work was developed under Common Cents Lab, a behavioral insights lab led by Dan Ariely that helps low and middle-income households increase their financial well-being


  • Secondary research and competitive analysis

  • 3 randomized controlled trials with 670+ participants across the US

  • 40 intercept interviews

  • Quantitative survey with 250 current users

  • 6 in-depth user interviews

  • Behavioral diagnosis of existing product flow

  • Wireframing and behaviorally-informed concept design


  • Results on general attitudes toward benefits indicate that benefits are the second most important factor in evaluating a job offer (after salary)

  • After shortlisting three potential new products: an employer-employee lending program, a 529 college savings plan, and an emergency savings fund - we realized that a hybrid approach was necessary, and developed a new combined lending and savings product



After developing the concept, we designed both the employer and employee user flow, relying on behavioral insights to ensure fast take-up and to "nudge" the user to making certain choices which increase savings. This included leveraging behavioral principles such as endowment effect, loss aversion, social proof, defaults, the reciprocity effect, concreteness, anchoring and relativity. 


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