×

ELFI for Business (Blog or Resources)

How to Help Your Employees Pay Off Student Loans

Posted on

Traditionally, employer benefit programs are focused on two things: investing and healthcare. Keeping your employees healthy and financially secure helps decrease turnover and increase productivity.

 

But when employees are buried in student debt, investing in retirement feels fruitless. Before they can focus heavily on planning for the future, they need to decrease their current student loan balances.

 

As an employer, you have the power to make a significant difference in your employees’ debt repayment timeline. Here are a few ways to do just that – and why helping your employees become debt-free is a smart business decision.

 

How Student Loan Benefits Work

Currently, employers offer a variety of student loan repayment assistance methods. These include:

 

Educational Support

The least expensive method is offering financial education to employees. This would typically involve hiring an outside expert to offer group meetings or one-on-one coaching. These can be done in-person or online.

 

These sessions can be helpful, especially if done repeatedly throughout the year. They may be offered on their own or in conjunction with direct monetary support.

 

Sign-up Bonus

Some employers pay a lump-sum toward an employee’s student loan balance when they join the company. This is a one-time benefit used to attract new employees, but it can also be seen as unfair to existing employees who never received a sign-up bonus.

 

Matching 401(k) Contributions

Many companies offer matching contributions to an employee’s 401(k) account. In these cases, the individual contributes their own money and the employer matches a certain amount.

 

One way that companies are combining student loan and 401(k) benefits is by matching student loan payments with a 401(k) contribution.

 

Here’s how it works. The employee makes a student loan payment, and the money comes directly out of their paycheck. In exchange, the employer contributes that same amount to their 401(k) account. This allows the employee to balance student loan repayment with saving for retirement.

 

Matching Student Loan Contributions

Employers may also offer a dollar-for-dollar matching payment to the employees’ student loans. If the borrower pays $200 to their student loans, the employer adds an additional $200. This is the most straightforward way to help your employees become debt-free.

 

Most companies that offer a matching student loan payment option will have an annual and lifetime limit. For example, the office chain Staples pays $100 a month for three years for eligible employees. Insurance company Aetna pays up to $2,000 a year for full-time employees, up to $10,000 total. Part-time employees receive up to $1,000 a year, up to $5,000 total.

 

Like 401(k) contributions, some companies require employees to work for a certain number of months before they become eligible for student loan repayment benefits.

 

As part of the CARES Act passed in March 2020, any student loan repayment benefits, up to $5,250, made by an employer between March 27, 2020 and December 31, 2020 will not count as taxable income. Unless this provision is extended, student loan repayment benefits will then be taxed after that date.

 

How Student Loan Repayment Benefits Employers and Employees

The total US student loan balance grows at a rate of about 7% every year. In 2019, the average graduate had $35,397 in student loans. New hires often bring mountains of student loan debt with them, and student loan repayment benefits can make a huge difference.

 

Decreasing Student Loan Stress

A recent study found that more than 85% of individuals with student loan debt name it as a major source of stress, and 33% call it out as one of their top three stressors. A 2019 survey from Marketplace-Edison Research found that those with student loans had two-thirds more economic anxiety than those without student loans.

 

“When I was paying off student loans I was very anxious and stressed,” said Melanie Lockert, host of “The Mental Health and Wealth” show. “I don’t think it affected my productivity per se, but it affected my quality of life and how I felt while doing the work. Of course, those feelings can indirectly affect work as well.”

 

Employers reap the rewards when workers have less financial stress. According to a study from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), about 60% of employers said they noticed workers found it hard to focus because of personal financial problems. Another 34% of employers said they noticed absenteeism and tardiness also related to financial stress.

 

This isn’t a new revelation – it’s basic psychology. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs states that humans need to feel physically safe before they can improve their psychological well-being. The same is true with financial stress. If your employee is worried about defaulting on their student loans, they may be too preoccupied to concentrate on work, and too emotionally drained to come up with innovative ideas or brainstorm new solutions.

 

Increasing Focus and Employee Retention

When employees feel financially secure, they’ll be more productive and attentive while on the clock. Even if it seems like your employees are producing decent results, they could likely accomplish even more if their attention wasn’t split between work and their student debt balance.

 

Student loan repayment assistance programs could also improve employee retention. 41% of surveyed companies offering student loan assistance have found it improves recruitment and 38% believe it has improved employee retention rates.

 

The data backs up those responses. Healthcare company Trilogy offers $100 a month in student loan repayment assistance to both full-time and part-time employees. Employees who utilize this program stay at the company 2.5 times longer than those who don’t.

 

Since it costs several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars to train a new employee, it may actually be less expensive to pay their student loans. That’s not even considering the intangible benefits that come from having a roster of experienced, loyal employees.

 

Offer Employer Student Loan Repayment with ELFI for Business

If your company is interested in adding student loan repayment assistance as a workplace benefit, they can join ELFI for Business. ELFI will create a student loan repayment program designed for your employees, managing the actual payments so your accounting department doesn’t get bogged down with the details.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

 

How to Attract Millennial Employees in 2020

Posted on

Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping, always looking for the next opportunity. Research shows that 21% of millennials have changed jobs in the past year, which is three times the percentage of non-millennials who’ve done the same. This trend may, however, may not be exclusive to the millennial generation. Interestingly, research finds that millennial employees are just as likely to change jobs in their 20s as baby boomers were in their 20s.

 

The trouble for hiring managers, however, remains: how can you hire and keep millennial workers? Recently many companies have started to come upon some answers. Their method of retaining millennials: benefits. Here are some of the most successful:

 

Flexibility

One of the easiest ways to interest millennials and younger employees is simply to provide them with more flexible working hours. Many millennials view the classic, nine-to-five office grind as an antiquated way to work. As such, they look for jobs that offer them the flexibility to do other things. They don’t just value a stable job; they want their lives outside of their jobs to be fulfilling as well.

 

As working from home becomes the norm for many businesses, it’s easier than ever to offer employees a variety of options. Programs like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams have become standard workplace programs, and they enable employers to provide millennials with the flexibility they desire.

 

Pet Insurance

Pet insurance is quickly becoming more common among millennial employers. With 82% of millennials saying they’d likely have pets before becoming parents, more and more employers are starting to structure their benefits around the millennial lifestyle.

 

Around 50% of Fortune 500 companies offer pet insurance as a benefit, and the pet insurance market continues to grow every year. As the number of pet owners continues to increase, this benefit grows even more popular!

 

Student Loan Repayment

It’s no secret that student loan debt is more widespread than ever before. Millions of millennials are repaying thousands of dollars in debt after graduation. With that in mind, one of the best and most effective methods of hiring and keeping millennial employees is through student loan repayment programs. There are several ways to offer this benefit:

  • Student Loan Signing Bonuses
  • Employer repayment
  • Contributions to 401(k) plans

 

Student Loan Signing Bonuses

The simplest and most self-explanatory of these options is to offer an employee student loan signing bonus. Some companies, for example, pay $1,000 toward new employees’ student loan payments at the time of hire. This method, while great for bringing new talent in, is not as effective in retaining millennial workers.

 

Employer Repayment

Some employers also contribute directly to their employees’ student loans. For instance, Nvidia offers employees up to $6,000 a year to a total of $30,000 for student loans.

 

Notably, Nvidia’s program is one of the most generous, and employees will happily join your company for smaller amounts of support. Even with these smaller amounts, employer repayment is not only a great way to bring in new employees but also to retain them over time.

 

Contributions to 401(k) Plans

Some employers offer retirement contributions to employees to attract new talent and decrease turnover. When your employees pay off a certain percentage of their student loans, they may qualify for full 401(k) plan matching.

 

Work with Technology

Millennials are tech-savvy and they look for a tech-savvy workplace. Provide digital documentation and accessible benefits. With widespread technology, it’s easier than ever to design benefits around your millennial employees.

 

Ongoing Performance Reviews

Millennials operate best with constructive feedback, even more so than previous generations. They want to feel involved in the company, and they want to know how their work is affecting the team as a whole.

 

Millennials are looking to grow in their careers, and your feedback is immensely valuable to them. The best way to do this is to provide regular performance reviews. There’s no reason to wait for feedback when contacting someone takes seconds.

 

Professional Development

Millennial employees value programs that foster professional development. One common reason millennials job hop is to find new opportunities for growth, but if their current employer already supports career growth, they may be more likely to stay. Mentoring, training and professional development courses are highly desirable for millennial employees. They also encourage employees to learn and grow with the company.

 

These benefits provide effective, budget-friendly ways to keep employees engaged and happy at work. If you’re looking for more tips on how to retain millennial workers, we’ve linked more details here.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no­­­ control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

How to Ask Your Employer to Help Pay Student Debt

Posted on

These days, employers offer all kinds of benefits to keep employees, from kombucha on tap and innovative new office spaces to ping pong tables and video game rooms. The list of benefits seems to grow all the time.

 

When you think about it, though, how much do you really need that kombucha on tap? Instead, what many graduates need is help with their ever-mounting student loans. In combination with other methods of dealing with student loan debt, employers can play a valuable role in ensuring their employees’ financial stability.

 

Additionally, a recent amendment to the CARES Act allows employers to contribute up to $5,250 to their employees’ student loans, entirely tax-free, through the end of this year. If you’re an employee considering asking for loan assistance or an employer thinking about adding this type of benefit to your portfolio, this is the perfect time to make the leap.

 

While not all loans qualify, as a rule of thumb, most loans that are eligible for federal deferment under the CARES Act are also eligible for tax-free employer contributions. This is a huge benefit for employees, as an employer contribution not only lowers the principal amount owed, but also the lifetime interest they will be required to repay.

 

If you’re an employer, take a look at our ELFI for Business platform to learn about the benefits of offering student loan assistance to your employees. If you’re an employee seeking this type of assistance, then read on, because in this blog we’ll cover several ways your employer may be willing to help you tackle your student loan debt.

 

Financial Education

Employers have begun to understand that their own financial success is tied to the financial success of their employees. As a result, some employers have begun to offer financial education opportunities.

 

These opportunities come in many forms, including workshops, webinars and even counseling. While many employees already have a firm grasp on financial concepts, these programs can still be incredibly beneficial to those weighed down by student debt as they often cover lesser-known tactics and reinforce familiar strategies.

 

Student Loan Repayment Signing Bonuses

Another method of helping employees with student debt is the signing bonus. For example, some companies offer $1,000 towards student loans for new hires. This $1000 can drastically reduce the amount graduates pay in interest over the life of their student loans and is an effective way for companies to hire and keep dedicated, hardworking employees.

 

Employer Repayment

The most exciting benefit employers are beginning to adopt is direct assistance with student loans. Now, in addition to savvy fiscal advice, some companies are backing up their support with dollars and cents.

 

A few companies now offer yearly bonuses to help pay back student loans. One of the most generous of these companies is Nvidia. Employees earn $6,000 a year towards their student loans up to a $30,000 maximum. Several companies offer comparable or lower amounts. Regardless of the repayment amounts, this innovative strategy provides a new way to fight back against student debt.

 

A variation of this policy is occasionally used, as well. In this variation, employees who don’t take their PTO can trade their PTO days for student loan assistance. With many in the United States not taking their PTO days anyway, this is a compelling option for student loan borrowers.

 

Contributions to 401(k) Plans

It may seem strange for 401(k) contributions to go hand-in-hand with paying off student debt. You might even expect to have to choose between them.

 

If you’re employed by Abbott Laboratories, though, you don’t have to choose. Employees who contribute at least 2% of their pay toward student loans are eligible for the full 5% employer matching in their 401(k), even if they do not otherwise contribute to their 401(k). Abbott Laboratories is the first company to offer this incentive to help employees to pay off student debt, and hopefully many companies will follow in their footsteps.

 

Sadly, these types of programs are not as commonly offered as they should be, but that isn’t necessarily bad news for you.

 

If student loan assistance programs are something that you would like to see at your company, then make an appointment to speak with either your boss or to human resources. In this day and age, the competition for the best employees is fierce, and employers are always looking for ways to keep employees happy. In some cases, it may even be cheaper than a raise.

 

It’s also worth mentioning your interest in such programs while negotiating your salary and benefits package for a new job. They may include it as an additional benefit.

 

If your employer already provides these benefits, that’s fantastic! You’re already one step closer to being unburdened by student debt. If you’re curious about how to finish the job and free yourself from student debt completely, one great way to do that is Student Loan Refinancing. You can learn more here.

 


 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Important Details on Employer Student Loan Assistance Programs

Posted on

For student loan borrowers whose incomes have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the new CARES Act promises some much-needed relief. But beyond benefits like payment suspensions and interest waivers, the CARES Act delivers additional help in the form of employer-offered student loan benefits.

 

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

For companies looking to attract top talent, it makes sense to pay attention to issues that affect employees’ lives. For young workers, one of the most significant problems is student loans. According to the Brookings Institute, over 42 million Americans have student debt.

 

To stand out from other employers, offering student loan repayment assistance is a desirable benefit. In fact, one survey found that 60% of adults with student loans said they would think about switching to an employer that offers student loan repayment aid. Now, thanks to the CARES Act, employers can take advantage of tax breaks to help their employees deal with their debt during this difficult time.

 

Challenges in Hiring

In the Society for Human Resources Management’s 2019 State of the Workplace report, the organization found that companies struggled to find workers to fill high-skilled positions. Employers in different sectors are experiencing a talent shortage, unable to find workers with specialized education and experience.

 

The industries hardest hit by this phenomenon are healthcare and technology, particularly in data analysis, science, and engineering.

 

The biggest reason companies said they struggled to hire suitable candidates? Competition from other employers. With a limited pool of skilled workers, companies have to work hard to stand out from other employers to get the best employees.

 

For skilled workers with student loan debt, one way employers can improve their compensation package is by offering student loan repayment assistance. And thanks to the CARES Act, that’s easier than ever for employers.

 

What is the CARES Act?

The COVID-19 virus pandemic devastated the United States’ economy, causing millions of people to lose their jobs or to experience reductions in income. With so many people struggling to make ends meet, the government created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide economic assistance.

 

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. As part of the CARES Act, the following changes were made:

    • Stimulus checks up to $1,200: Individuals will receive up to $1,200 based on their 2019 tax returns, if they have already filed their returns. If not, the amount of the check will be based on their 2018 tax returns.
    • Extended unemployment protection: Eligible workers who are now unemployed can receive an additional $600 per week for up to four months.
    • Waivers of penalties for early withdrawals from retirement accounts: If people tap into their retirement accounts to make ends meet, the 10% early withdrawal penalty is waived. 
    • Federal student loan payments suspended until September 30, 2020: Federal student loan payments on Direct loans and federally-held FFEL loans and Perkins Loans are suspended for six months. During that time, no interest will accrue on the loan, and borrowers will still get payment credits toward loan forgiveness and loan rehabilitation programs.

 

How Does the CARES Act Affect Employer Student Debt Programs?

However, another benefit that is commonly overlooked is the expansion of employer student loan repayment assistance programs. 

 

Under the CARES Act, employers can contribute up to $5,250 toward an employee’s student loans from March 27 until December 31, 2020, and the payment is excluded from the employee’s income. It is also tax-free for the employer, since it’s not subject to payroll taxes up to the contribution threshold.

 

The CARES Act amended the tax code to incorporate provisions of yet-to-be-passed Employer Participation in Repayment Act, allowing employers to pay off up to $5,250 of an employee’s debt tax-free.

 

Currently, approximately eight percent of employers offer student loan repayment assistance and can take advantage of this benefit. However, it’s available to more companies if they wish to use it.

 

Previously, the tax treatment of employer student loan repayment assistance programs created a burden on both employees and companies, so this is a substantial benefit that may encourage more employers to offer this perk to their workers.

 

ELFI for Business

If you are a business owner or a human resources manager looking to improve your recruitment and retention efforts, offering student loan repayment benefits can be a powerful tool. If the idea of building your own program seems overwhelming, consider taking advantage of the ELFI for Business program.

 

The ELFI for Business program is designed to help employers recruit and retain top talent. In one survey, 86% of workers reported that they would commit to an employer for five years if they received help with their student loan payments. And, three in five survey respondents said paying off student loans is a priority over saving for retirement.

 

Employer contributions can make a dramatic difference on your employees’ debt. For example, let’s say your employee had $30,000 in student loans at 6% interest and a 10-year repayment term. If you contributed $100 per month toward the loan’s repayment, the repayment term would be reduced by three years. And, the employee would save $11,363.

 

ELFI for Business also gives your employees other tools to manage their debt, including:

  • Newsletters
  • New hire onboarding booklets
  • Webinars
  • Onsite consultations

 

Customized Student Loan Refinancing Advice

Employers that participate in the ELFI for Business program will also have access to loan advisors to help employees considering student loan refinancing.*

 

If your employees have student loans with high interest rates, refinancing can help them reduce their rate and save money over the length of their loan. And, by lowering their interest rate, more of their payment will go toward their principal instead of interest charges, so they can get out of debt faster.

 

ELFI customers have reported that they are saving an average of $272 every month and should see an average of $13,940 in total savings after refinancing their student loans1. When combined with employer contributions, refinancing can be an effective tool to pay off student loan debt.

 

Helping Employees During COVID-19

During these difficult times when so many are reeling from the coronavirus outbreak, offering benefits like student loan repayment assistance can make a major impact on your employees’ lives. Not only can it help recruit and retain good employees, but it can also build your company’s reputation and brand.

 

If you’re interested in introducing student loan repayment benefits in your workplace, contact ELFI for Business.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

1Average savings calculations are based on information provided by SouthEast Bank/ Education Loan Finance customers who refinanced their student loans between 2/7/2020 and 2/21/2020. While these amounts represent reported average amounts saved, actual amounts saved will vary depending upon a number of factors.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

 

Minternship: A New Trend for Middle-Aged Adults

Posted on

By Kat Tretina

Kat Tretina is a freelance writer based in Orlando, Florida. Her work has been featured in publications like The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and more. She is focused on helping people pay down their debt and boost their income.

 

In decades past, you would enter an industry and then spend your entire working career in the same field, often with the same employer. However, today’s economy is quite different. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people have 12 different jobs over the length of their careers, on average. Not only that, but they also may switch fields during the course of their lives. 

 

In a 2019 Indeed survey, 49 percent of U.S. workers reported a dramatic career change. For example, they may have switched from marketing to engineering, or from teaching to finance. 

 

If you’re feeling burned out in your current field, switching to a new career can help reenergize you. And while switching careers can be challenging, completing a “minternship” — an internship you complete after already starting your career — can help bridge the gap. 

 

What is a Minternship?

In August of 2019, BBC reported on the growing trend of minternships. Many millennial workers, frustrated in their current jobs, are using internships to relaunch their careers or completely switch their professional plans. 

 

You can complete a minternship when you’re already advanced in your career, often when you’re in your 30s, 40s, or 50s. At this age, an internship can help you gain experience and test out a new field. And, it can provide essential networking opportunities so you can land a full-time job once you’re done. 

 

During a minternship, you get hands-on experience in your selected field. You’ll work alongside professionals and learn the ins and outs of the business, completing projects and building your portfolio. Depending on the opportunity, minternships can be part-time or full-time commitments. 

 

Where to Find a Minternship

If a minternship is appealing to you, there are several different ways to find an internship that matches your interests: 

 

  1. Consider returning to school: In some fields, you may need to return to school to complete a certificate program, get an MBA degree, or earn a master’s degree to get a job. Many schools require students to complete internships, and will even help connect you with companies that are hiring. 
  2. Search job boards: Some companies post their internships on job boards like Indeed, Monster, and Internships.com. You can search by location, company, or field to find an opportunity that suits your needs. 
  3. Connect with your network: If you’re switching careers, consider reaching out to your network on LinkedIn or via email to share your goals and ask for help. 
  4. Ask your employer: Some companies — especially large ones — will help facilitate employees’ transitions to a new department. They may provide student loan repayment assistance for employees who go back to school, or they may offer on-the-job training programs. Talk to your human resources department to discuss your options. 

 

How to Prepare for a Minternship

While a minternship can be a great way to gain necessary experience, it may require you to make some lifestyle changes. To take on a minternship and leave your full-time job, you will likely need to adjust to a pay cut. To prepare for that and minimize its impact, follow these steps: 

  1. Explore financial aid: If you’re returning to school and completing a minternship, make sure you apply for financial aid, including grants, scholarships, federal student loans, and private student loans*. You may qualify for aid and loans to cover your living expenses so you can focus on your education and budding career. 
  2. Create a budget: Make a budget detailing how much money you’ll have coming in while you’re interning and how much you’ll spend each month. Account for regular expenses like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and transportation. 
  3. Cut expenses: Once your budget is complete, look for areas where you can cut back. Perhaps you can add a roommate while you’re an intern, or you can use public transportation. 
  4. Find additional income sources: As an intern, you may need to be creative about how you earn money. While paid internships are possible, unpaid internships are common in certain fields. If that’s the case, consider launching a side hustle or freelancing or consulting in your old field to earn income. Or, you can take on a part-time job. 
  5. Refinance student loans: To reduce your student loan payments while you’re interning, you can refinance your student loans*. If you extend your repayment term, you could dramatically lower your monthly payments. You may pay more over time in interest thanks to the longer loan term, but it can be worth it to free up more money in your budget each month. 

 

Changing Careers

If your current job no longer excites or challenges you, it may be time for a change. Completing a minternship gives you an opportunity to learn new skills so you can successfully switch fields. While it will take some sacrifices and time to do, finishing a minternship can prepare you for a successful career change. 

 

Do you need to borrow money to pay for school, or do you want to refinance your existing debt to lower your payments? 

 

ELFI offers private student loans and student loan refinancing loans with competitive interest rates. There are no application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties. And, it offers a variety of repayment options and loan terms to suit your needs. You can use ELFI’s Student Loan Refinancing Calculator* to get a rate quote without affecting your credit score.

 


 

*Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.

 

Notice About Third Party Websites: Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – the bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Down to Business: 5 Perks That Today’s Employees Demand

Posted on

Perks have generally been regarded as nice-to-have additions to an employee’s basic salary and benefits package. Offerings such as flexible schedules, tuition reimbursements, employee discounts, and gym memberships have been seen as the icing on the cake that may sway a prospective hire to choose one employer over another. However, younger employees are regarding some desirable offerings by employers not as perks, but rather as essentials. Here are five perks that fall into this category.

1. Flex Time

Today’s employees don’t see the world in black or white or nine to five. Studies show the following:

One way to make the workplace more appealing to today’s workers is to do away with the rigid procedure of tracking work hours and vacation days. The only metrics that should matter are the productivity of staff members, how well they accomplish tasks, and team member morale. As long as employees do their work, a company shouldn’t care when or for how long they’re in the office.

  • Flex Time for Family – Employees should be encouraged to take time off when necessary. This includes providing the opportunity for new parents to stay out of the office for four to eight months following the birth or adoption of a baby, or to care for a close family member with a serious health condition. Another good idea is to offer reimbursement of expenses related to adoption or surrogacy.

2. Telecommuting

Today’s employees are rebelling over being forced to make a long commute every day, pay tolls, or cope with overcrowded and inefficient public transportation. One survey on telecommuting preferences found that nearly 90 percent of the US workforce would like to “telework.” Telecommuting two to three days a week was regarded as the sweet spot for a balance of working alone at home and collaborative work in the office.

3. Help with Student Loan Payments

Most young people starting out on their career paths are burdened with student loan payments. With that in mind, one perk that should not be overlooked is the potential to help your employees pay down their student loans. Student loan payments can eat into a worker’s paycheck for years and years, and worrying about them may affect their job performance. However, ELFI for Business can introduce you to several ways your company can help your employees pay off their student loan debt. Call us at 1.844.601.ELFI for more information on this innovative new program.

4. More Autonomy

Today’s workers don’t want to be micromanaged. Companies should recognize that autonomy is a basic psychological need, and the more autonomous their employees feel, the more likely they are to be engaged. Many studies show that more job independence leads to a workforce that is more content, healthier, and more productive.

5. More Time Off

The notion that you have to work at a company for five years in order to earn an extra week’s vacation time is regarded as outdated by today’s workforce. Millennials care more about having some adventure in their lives and less about money. Companies should consider offering non-monetary lifestyle bonuses such as:

  • Three weeks of vacation time from day one.
  • A day off on an employee’s birthday.
  • An earned bonus vacation week around an appropriate holiday.
  • A fourth week of vacation after someone has been there for three years.
  • After five years, eligibility for Summer Fridays off.

The Perks to Companies

There are very tangible benefits to companies that offer their employees flexible work options, telecommuting, assistance with student loan debt, more time off, and greater autonomy. These include the following:

  • Longevity – A study found that 86% of workers would commit to a company for five years if that company helped pay off their student loans. Moreover, millennials are likely to stay in a job for more than five years if their employers provide some flexibility about when and where they work.
  • Job satisfaction – One survey revealed that 90 percent of participants felt that more flexible work arrangements would boost their morale and increase their job satisfaction.
  • More productivity – It’s a simple equation: Happier employees leads to more engaged and productive employees.
  • Recruit more easily and quickly – A flexible work policy will improve a company’s recruitment metrics. One survey discovered that 77 percent of job seekers put flexible work schedules at the very top of their list of perks when evaluating job opportunities.

Join the Workplace of the Future

Job satisfaction is essential to a company’s overall success, which is why it’s crucial to offer perks that top talent are looking for. To learn more about how to make your workplace attractive to today’s employees, read The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, by Ron Friedman, an award-winning social psychologist and author. Then, contact ELFI to see how ELFI for Business can help your team attract and retain top talent!


NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites

Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

New Ideas for Business Recruitment

Posted on

Have you been noticing that your recruitment strategy may be somewhat behind the times? Still using traditional ways to fill your vacancies, such as newspaper ads, college recruiting, job fairs, and the same old job board? Although these recruiting channels will produce some hires, there are much more effective ways to find the best talent for your company. Here are some recruitment strategies that you might want to consider going forward. 

 

Improve Your Employer Brand

Your employer branding is your business’s reputation as a place to work. It’s the way your company is perceived by your employees, not your customers. This is perhaps the most important element to consider if you want to attract, hire, and retain great talent. First-class employer branding is not easy to achieve because it requires significant investments of both time and money in your employees. However, it’s important to realize that today’s job seekers are not just looking for high salaries. They want a stimulating work environment and a great company culture. 

 

Make Use of Data

There is a business maxim that says you can’t manage what you don’t measure – and when it comes to recruiting, there’s a lot to measure, including: candidate response rate; application completion rate; qualified candidate rate; time to hire; cost of hire; and more. Using these metrics, you can learn what’s going well and what needs to be improved. 

 

Ditch CV Hiring

It takes a lot of time to read through hundreds of resumes and cover letters, and many applicants will have inflated their qualifications and experience. Instead, make it super easy for a candidate to apply online and then give them a short skills test or a series of tests. Software is available that will automatically pre-qualify candidates as they apply via the test. 

 

Use Niche Job Boards

You have to sink your recruiting line into the right pond to catch good fish. Niche job boards specialize in specific fields. You’ll get fewer candidates than with larger, more general websites, but the candidates may be better qualified for your niche job. 

 

Encourage an Employee Referral Program

Instead of searching through hundreds of applicants via job boards, you can recruit your own employees to do some searching for you. A referred employee is often a better quality hire because the person who has referred them has a good understanding of what qualities are needed to fill the vacancy. You should offer a reward if an employee brings someone great to your team. This incentive could be in the form of cash or extra days off.

 

  • Host a Meetup – Another way to involve your current employees in the recruiting process is to host a meetup or get involved in a networking event that’s already been organized. Send out some representatives from your company and let them spread the good word about working for you. Include some free merchandise to give out to attendees. 

 

Don’t Overlook Passive Candidates

If you don’t hire a top candidate quickly, they will be gone from the job market fast as another company snaps them up. However, the good news is that there is no shortage of passive candidates (i.e., people who aren’t actively looking for a new job). According to research, 85% of global employees would be happy to change their position for a better opportunity. Your mission as a recruiter is to get into your target audience’s line of sight via whatever means possible. 

 

Reach Out to Previous Employees

Rehiring someone who has worked for you before may be a good idea. A prior employee may be the perfect candidate for a different role or a new role higher up the ladder. Look for past employees who have acquired new skills and gained work experience while working for other companies. You can benefit from the training and experience gained while they were away.

 

Don’t Forget the Perks

Although perks might not be top of the list for someone considering the employer branding of your company, perks do show that you care about your employees. Here are a few suggestions.

 

  • Raising salaries once or twice a year when goals are met.
  • Offering a significant number of paid vacation days.
  • Opportunities to work remotely from home.
  • Provision of a free laptop to take home. 
  • Offering retreats every year. 
  • Payment for gym or other sports club memberships.
  • Reimbursement for new glasses or contact lenses. 
  • Free e-books on any work-related subject. 
  • Bring your dog to work day.

 

ELFI for Business Program

Our innovative program can help your company recruit and retain top talent. One feature of this program is a student loan solution for your employees. A high level of student debt is a big concern for young professionals. In fact, an ASA survey found that 86% of them are prepared to commit to a company for five years in return for some assistance in paying off their student loans. Click here for more information. 

 

Improved recruitment practices lead to better quality hires, shorter time to hire, shorter onboarding, lower turnover rates, and less recruiting expenses. Contact us to learn more on how we can help you recruit and retain employees through the ELFI for Business Program!

 

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites

Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

How to Retain Millennial Talent

Posted on

The Pew Research Center informs us that millennials (ages 22 to 37) make up the largest share of today’s workforce. Millennials offer a lot of value to a company because they tend to be highly educated, comfortable with technology, and willing to learn new things. However, the average millennial worker remains with a job for only three years or so. With that in mind, it’s important for your company culture to appeal to your millennial hires so they’ll decide to stick around for the long haul. The question for companies then is: How can we make our company attractive to millennial employees? And how can we keep them? Here are some insights into what millennials are looking for in the workplace.

 

Above All, Millennials Want Opportunity

Millennials regard jobs as opportunities to learn and grow, and they have a strong desire for career development. A Gallup survey found that an impressive 87% of millennials rated career growth and opportunities for professional development as the essential aspect of a job. This contrasts with 69% of non-millennials who say the same thing. So, if you want to retain millennials, you need to take their desire for career progression seriously. Here are some ways to accomplish this.

  • Keep your employees updated on education and promotion opportunities. Institute a tier system based on knowledge with the ability to advance by getting new certifications.
  • Provide weekly training sessions to build teamwork and advance knowledge on a topic. Incentivize your team for a job well-done by providing rewards such as a surprise gourmet lunch at the office.
  • Notice and appreciate your staff when they’ve done an excellent job. Don’t wait until the six-month or yearly review to provide feedback. Create a process that allows for the consideration and implementation of your employees’ ideas and complaints, e.g., via monthly one-on-one meetings.
  • Talk to your employees face to face. Millennials want to communicate about their work and possible career advancement in person. When they question management decisions, they are not being disrespectful but rather seeking information. Engage with them in a conversational style rather than shutting them down or issuing an order.
  • Provide the necessary structure for a work project – meeting times, deadlines, etc. – but then let your millennials work things out without micromanaging. They want to be provided with work that they can “own” and run with.
  • Make sure they know the “why” of what you want them to do. Millennials need to understand why their work matters in the larger scheme of things.
  • Instead of losing your talented millennial employees to another company, allow them to switch roles within your company. It provides them with the opportunity to get new experiences and learn new skills. Plus, you’ll be building a pool of potential future managers who understand the inner workings of several aspects of your company.

 

Millennials Want a Company that Invests in its Employees

Depending on the job, this could mean providing the latest and greatest technological tools available in the industry. For others, it could mean offering a stipend or an allotted expense for travel to conferences or other events to further education. Often times this includes shares or stock options in the company. In other words, provide more than just a salary. 

 

Millennials Like Perks

Although perks may not be the main reason why millennials might choose to work for a company, they do like perks. Young married millennials are much more likely to stay with your company if, for example, you provide flexible work schedules or an on-site child care facility. Other attractive perks might be:

  • Free training or learning allowances
  • Sabbaticals
  • Mentorships
  • Mid-career internships
  • Flexible vacations
  • An allotment of days for remote work
  • Summer Fridays
  • Free gym memberships
  • Bring your dog to work 

The Hiring Process

Millennials appreciate transparency during the hiring process and throughout their employment. A job candidate wants to see if they are a good fit for the position and what their future with the company is likely to be. Once a millennial is hired, transparency should continue through regular assessments or check-ins with their supervisor. Nothing should be shrouded in mystery or corporate-speak that obscures or confuses.

 

Retain Your Millennial Team Members Longer

Millennials tend to leave jobs when they feel they aren’t appreciated or that their employers are not willing to be flexible. The cost of having your millennial talent leave is high. Your company has poured time and resources into training and development, so retention is an issue for your bottom line. Millennials don’t just want a job; they want to be highly engaged in what they are doing. Smart companies should find ways to harness this sense of mission or risk losing their brightest millennial talent to more purpose-driven companies. For an excellent overview of how to treat your millennial employees, read the free Epic Guide To Managing Millennials In The Workplace by Rob Wormley.

 

Learn More About ELFI for Business

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites

Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

Measuring the Costs of Employee Turnover

Posted on

Best-selling business management author Jim Collins was asked during a 2001 interview if he had identified a good business response to the economic slowdown that had gripped the nation. His widely quoted answer is as relevant today as it was at the time:

 

“If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could [because] the single biggest constraint on the success of my organization is the ability to get and to hang on to enough of the right people.”

 

Nearly 20 years later and in a highly improved economic climate, Collins’ words still encapsulate the biggest challenge facing HR departments of corporate giants and small start-ups alike: finding and retaining quality team members. In an era of competitive recruitment and job-hopping staff, your company risks losing monetary and human capital each time a valued employee chooses to leave. Employee turnover impacts your bottom line and your company’s culture. To set wise employee retention policies, you first need to assess the costs of staff turnover accurately and measure the full impact of employee loss.

 

Direct Costs of Replacing Employees

A talented employee exiting your company costs you money. Estimates of how much employee turnover costs can vary by industry and employee salary. A study by Employee Benefit News estimates the direct cost to hire and train a replacement employee equal or exceed 33% of a worker’s annual salary ($15,000 for a worker earning a median salary of $45,000). Cost estimates are based on calculatable expenses like these:

  • HR exit interview & paperwork
  • Benefit payouts owed to the employee
  • Job advertising, new candidate screening & interviewing
  • Employee onboarding costs
  • On-the-job training & supervision

You can track the expenses of your company’s employee turnover using this online calculator, or create a spreadsheet to determine how actual costs add up to affect your bottom line.

 

Full Impact of Employee Loss

Josh Bersin, a human resource researcher, writing for LinkedIn, refers to employees as a business’s “appreciating assets.” Good employees grow in value as they learn systems, understand products and integrate into their teams. When one of these valuable employees leaves, the business loses more than just the cost of hiring and training a replacement. Bersin cites these additional factors contributing to the total cost of losing a productive employee:

  • Lost investment: A company typically spends 10 to 20% of an employee’s salary for training over two to three years.
  • Lost productivity: A new employee takes one to two years to reach the level of an exiting employee. Supervision by other team members also distracts those supervisors from their work—and lowers the team’s collective productivity.
  • Lost engagement: Other team members take note of employee turnover, ask “why?” and may disengage.
  • Less responsive, less effective customer service: New employees are less adept at solving customer problems satisfactorily.

 

According to Bersin, studies show the total cost of an employee’s loss may range from tens of thousands of dollars to 1.5 to 2 times that employee’s annual salary.

 

Strategies to Slow Employee Turnover Rates

An effective exit interview helps you and your HR team pinpoint the drivers of your company’s employee turnover. You may find that hiring practices need to be refined or employee engagement should be enhanced. Changes to the break room space, such as fresh fruit or games, will allow your employees to relax and come back to work with fresh eyes and a better attitude. This will keep up the workplace morale, shaping your company culture to include perks appealing to younger workers and will lead to increased job satisfaction. Today’s employees are career-oriented and highly motivated. Keep them on your team with other opportunities such as:

 

  • Pathway for advancement within the company
  • Professional development & advanced education
  • Flex-time & work-from-anywhere options
  • Management support & recognition
  • Lifestyle rewards or amenities like catering & concierge services
  • Culture of shared values & volunteerism

 

Add Student Loan Benefits Through ELFI

Student loan repayment tops the financial-worries checklist of many recent graduates. Older team members question their ability to pay for educating their children. New, highly desirable HR benefits like student loan contributions and financial literacy education are emerging from these employee concerns—and ELFI for Business is leading the way for employers to incorporate them into hiring packages. You can connect with ELFI directly from your HR portal and access multiple ways to contribute to employees’ student loan debt. We offer new-hire onboarding booklets, educational newsletters and onsite consultations filled with information for you and your employees. Reach out to us at 1.844.601.ELFI to add cutting-edge benefits to your HR employee package!

 

Learn More About ELFI for Business

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites
Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the web sites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.

How Do You Become an Employer of Choice?

Posted on

Is your company—the company everyone in your industry wants to work for or an “Employer of Choice?” Employers of choice consistently retain their highest performing employees and attract the best and the brightest over their competitors.  Employers of choice have little trouble recruiting talent since college graduates line up eagerly to interview for coveted jobs.

 

In today’s competitive labor market, the majority of companies do not qualify as employers of choice. Their workforces are in constant flux, and the cost of employee turnover is hurting the bottom line. Fortunately, that cycle can be halted and reversed. Any business can become an employer of choice by following these five strategies to transform company culture into one that (1) delivers value to employees, and (2) encourages their engagement.

 

Make Your Workplace a Positive Environment

If your business has been getting by with lackluster performance and frequent turnover, you’ll need a critical eye to evaluate the current culture. Try to hire for longevity and look for the best possible fit for each unique position. Employers of choice search for employees who can make a positive impact on not only their work but their team, too.

 

With capable and involved staff, from new-hires to top management, you can build a workplace recognized for its atmosphere of trust, personal growth, and positive performance. There’s no room for micromanagement in this kind of workplace environment. Entrust your employees with a mission, direction, and goals—then step aside. Allow them to make decisions and respect their choices. In a positive environment, differences of opinion become opportunities for learning and growth.

 

Provide Relevant Compensation & Benefits

Competitive compensation has always been a hook to catch the attention of potential employees. Even if your business cannot support top-tier pay and benefits, you can shape your compensation package to deliver the value your employees want. Offer the best salary you can afford and supplement it with bonuses and perks that reward company performance. Recognize that today’s employees place a high value on their time—and offer flexible scheduling and remote work options. Consider turning the standard break room into a comfortable lounge where workers can relax, play games or socialize. Go beyond the traditional benefits by adding college loan contributions, paid time off for family emergencies and parental leave to your benefits package.

 

Encourage Professional Growth

Engaged employees have a keen interest in professional growth and career development. Employers of choice encourage this interest by supporting their team with relevant training and additional growth opportunities, including:

 

  • Professional development seminars
  • On-the-job continuing education
  • Exposure to new tasks through job rotation
  • Tuition reimbursement for certifications & advanced degrees
  • Pathways for advancement

 

Establish Transparency

People like to know where they stand in a relationship, job, or career.
Professionals who feel uncertain about their place in the organization, workplace expectations, or their own performance may seek other opportunities with another company. Transparent communication and clearly defined expectations give your team the perspective they need to stop worrying and start investing in the job. Employers of choice also develop channels for mentoring, giving helpful feedback and praise, and rewarding performance and risk-taking. They provide opportunities for teams to voice their ideas and concerns. Feeling safe and appreciated, employees buy-in to the company culture and become engaged.

 

Create a Collaborative Culture

If your company is to become an employer of choice, you must develop a respectful and collaborative community. Engaged employees appreciate corporate responsibility, and they have expectations of your business that go beyond products, services, and profits. Workers want to feel their companies are good local and global citizens. Employers who embrace charitable outreach are rewarded with employees who are more confident, purposeful, and willing to work as a team. You can boost staff morale and develop a meaningful and relevant work community by sponsoring activities that include:

 

  • Food & clothing drives
  • National fundraisers
  • Community clean-up initiatives
  • Health & wellness fairs
  • Recycling events
  • Health awareness campaigns

 

Become an Employer of Choice With ELFI for Business

Today, a college degree is more accessible than ever—and more expensive. An employer contribution to student loan repayment is one of the best ways to attract loyal employees. ELFI has created a cutting-edge benefits program that is easy to access through your HR portal and includes multiple incentives for attracting and keeping top talent. Take the first step to becoming an employer of choice.

 

See Why Employees Leave

 

 

NOTICE: Third Party Web Sites
Education Loan Finance by SouthEast Bank is not responsible for and has no control over the subject matter, content, information, or graphics of the websites that have links here. The portal and news features are being provided by an outside source – The bank is not responsible for the content. Please contact us with any concerns or comments.