×
TAGS
ELFI for Business

What Employees Want HR To Know

April 8, 2019

HR often has a tough job, keeping employees happy and working in the best interest of the company all while complying with legal requirements and internal policies. It’s a hard line to walk! But when it comes to making your company attractive to potential employees and keeping your all-star staff, communication is key! And there are a few things people want HR to know but often don’t know how to voice.

 

Fire the jerks.

An article in Inc. magazine® made waves a few years ago by urging managers to “fire the jerks.” Some managers defended their less popular employees by saying that it would make sense at times to keep an unpleasant staff member because of their high performance or other redeeming qualities. Very few people want to work with a jerk, and they might be leaving your company because of this. If HR doesn’t have a pulse on employee relations, the bad behavior might be flying below the radar and causing attrition of excellent employees. Having a discipline policy in place and caring about the wellbeing of the workforce over the livelihood of one jerk will help promote a respectable workplace culture that people don’t fantasize about leaving just to avoid one bully.

 

We know our worth.

People have lots of tools to find salaries comparable to their own. A quick internet search brings up resources like Salary.com and Glassdoor.com where people can see what others are making in their field, in their city, and even self-reported salaries of other people at their same company. Plus, many employees see the value in having open discussions with each other about pay to make sure that they’re making a fair amount for their hard work. With these things in mind, HR needs to know people want an open and honest conversation about compensation. Initial negotiations, promotions, and reviews need to be transparent, and HR should be prepared to see some resources printed from employees at these meetings.

 

Somethings are more important than pay.

You can’t just throw money at problems. There might be alternatives that cost the company less but give people more incentive to work hard and be engaged. Check out some of the suggestions below, including student loan assistance, flexible schedules, telecommuting, wellness benefits, and time off.

Student loan debt assistance and resources are valuable to us.

Student loan debt and personal finance matters can be a big stressor for all types of employees. Whether it’s catching up on retirement funds, paying off student loans, or general help with things like budgeting, saving, and investing, we want trustworthy financial wellness resources. No benefits program is going to fit everyone, but surveying employees or offering different ways to take advantage of these kinds of benefits can mean a big boost for interest in the company and retention of valued employees.

 

Learn More About ELFI for Business

 

We care more about balance and family/personal time than older generations.

Employees today don’t value the kind of work habits that create workaholics. Instead of burning the candle at both ends, people are taking advantage of paid time off and set working hours so that they’re not constantly on the clock. Unlike employees of former eras who found self-sacrifice to be something that gave them purpose, HR needs to know that breaks from work and finding balance is a key requirement for an energetic and productive workforce. Far from having a poor work ethic, the focus on mental health is important. A healthy balance between work and personal life can really motivate people to focus and be efficient while working. People today take caretaker roles for aging parents, realize the importance of spending time with children, and even prioritize caring for pets. HR needs to be aware of how policies can help attract, retain, and promote excellence among employees.

 

The ability to work remotely matters.

Not every employee can do their job remotely, but in the digital era, an increasing number of employees can work from almost anywhere. Bad traffic, long commutes, and flexible schedules to accommodate everyday adulting, working remote can ease stress and yield great results. Plus, the jury is no longer out on how well this works. According to Inc.®, employees who had the ability to telecommute took shorter breaks, used fewer sick days, and took less time off. A good telecommuting policy could benefit the workforce and improve business outcomes.

 

Mental health is important to us.

No career is worth sacrificing mental health and wellness. People who find themselves working for a company that negatively affects their mental health report they feel worse than someone who has no job at all. There are many negative effects of a job that could damage our physical health and increased instances of mental illness. Many millennial parents tired themselves out in jobs that brought them little fulfillment. Therefore the millennial generation highly values mental wellness at work and at home. We crave fulfillment and balance that is created by a human-centered workplace. Mental health should be something our employers care about and support with good workplace policies and resources covered in our benefits program.

 

Every company is different, but people are people no matter where you go. They want to be empowered to do their job well. They also want opportunities to learn new things and still have a personal life. If you’re feeling the disconnect at your workplace, open those lines of communication. You’ll see a difference in how people work and how they feel about the organization.

 

 How Can You Prevent Employee Turnover

 

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.