ELFI wishes for the safety of all individuals in areas impacted by the natural disasters in the United States. If you've been affected, assistance may be available to you. Contact your loan servicer for more information.
AES: 1-866-763-6349 | MOHELA: 855-282-4269
×
TAGS
ELFI for Business

How Do You Become an Employer of Choice?

June 28, 2019

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Employer student loan repayment benefits keep employees happy
2020-10-13
How to Help Your Employees Pay Off Student Loans

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.  
Millennial employee working
2020-09-08
How to Attract Millennial Employees in 2020

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.
woman asking employer for student loan assistance
2020-08-05
How to Ask Your Employer to Help Pay Student Debt

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.