Tag: employee benefits

  • Moans and Groans: About Student Loans

    June 28, 2019

    Tags: ,

    The statistics are startling:

    • The total burden of student debt in the United States is $1.4 trillion.
    • In 2017 the median millennial wage was $43,000.
    • In the same year, the median millennial debt was $37,000.
    • 59% of employees 22 to 44 have student debt.

    Debt is the #1 financial challenge to all Americans, and by a wide margin. This lack of fiscal health has a negative effect on both mental and physical health, both of which affect employee performance and motivation.

    In a time of reduced unemployment, the battle for talent and its retention is increasing. How do we get quality employees? What can we offer to keep them? If they stay, how can we help maximize appreciation and thus loyalty? The simple answer is to offer a meaningful compensation and benefits package. The more relevant, and complex, answer is to address specific employee needs and thus create a more meaningful employee experience.

    Medical and retirement may be a given, but how valued are those benefits if debt prevents participation or forestalls fulfilling medical needs? Do employees even know the risks of refusal? What will they deny themselves later by not attending to their long term wellbeing?

    Greater attention is thus being paid to employee education in the basics of finance, while offering products, tools, and services under the rubric of “financial wellness.” One of the key components of such a program is instruction in debt management. New offerings in the student loan sector allow employers to go even further.

    Paying off debt is expensive, with the “load” exceeding the interest earned on savings and potentially the tax and accumulation value of a 401k or other retirement instruments Thus, finding a way to alleviate the stress of a financial burden paves the way to take advantage of a significant savings opportunity.

    A burgeoning cottage industry has developed to help those with student loans, primarily through the channel of employer sponsorship. These services offer:

    • Employer payments to employees to reduce loan balances

    (example – PwC gives employees $100 per month for up to 72 months).

    • Access to lenders who will refinance the loan.
    • Education and counseling, not just on existing debt but how to finance a child’s college education (e.g. using 529 plans).

    For a modest fee, these companies expand the resources for employees, streamline services, help reduce debt, and also create a simplified method of repayment through payroll deduction.

    Various studies have cited:

    • 61% of employers polled said they believe student loan worries have hampered retirement plan participation.
    • 81% of millennials, and 65% of those over 50, want their company to offer student loan tools and resources.
    • A similar percentage of both populations would be more inclined to accept employment with a company that offered student loan tools – or stay with a company if they received student loan benefits.

    Granted, specific studies are skewed to favor the sponsoring student loan services, but there is little doubt that student loans place financial, and thus mental and emotional, stress on employees. Just ask them – and then ask how you can help. The more you can offer, the more appreciative they will be. Recognition and appreciation of a benefit’s value is the cornerstone of a successful compensation and benefits program, after all, so now is a good time to see how you can expand yours in a meaningful way.

  • 5 Things to Think About Before Adding Outside-of-the-Box Benefits

    April 16, 2019

    Tags: ,

    According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the North Bay’s unemployment rate for the month of January 2019 was 3.3%. With the unemployment rate being so low, employers are now forced to get creative with how they attract and retain employees. As benefits advisors, we get an up-close view as to what makes a company’s staffing goals successful. We see that the employers who are winning the talent war use outside-of-the box benefits that target the workforce that the employer needs. Here are five things that we advise clients to think about before they look to add and use outside-of-the-box benefits as a way to attract and retain employees:

    SURVEY

    It’s important to engage your workforce and find out what benefits they would value most before investing in a benefit that will have little or no return on investment. We have had several discussions with employers over the past 18 months where the employer thinks of a benefit that they would value and therefore assumes the employees will value it too. You won’t if you’re correct until you ask.

    WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO ATTRACT?

    It’s important to strategically think about the type of employee you are looking to hire and retain. Employers often hire to fill a spot without thinking about the type of person they need and whether the new hire will fit seamlessly into the organization.

    WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES

    The wants and needs of the workforce are changing. For example, younger people tend to see their careers not solely as income, but as a driver of fulfillment and an expression of their values, interests and skills. We like to highlight corporate values because we have found that to be a main driver for a younger employee’s decision on whether or not to work for a company. Company values are the beliefs upon which a business and its behaviors are based. We suggest that employers determine and make their values public. This will help attract employees who align with an employer.

     WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHY?

    Do you want to create a better employee experience and make employees feel more engaged or are you looking to attract more talent to your organization? Maybe it’s both. Either way, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this puzzle. Our suggestion is to target the demographic you are looking to attract or retain. Understand them and then focus on what brings them value.

    ENGAGE EMPLOYEES ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL

    By understanding deeper motivations, employers can develop strategies that better engage their workforce. Having a benefits program customized to meet individual employees’ increases loyalty to an employer (MetLife Benefit Trends Study).

     

     

    ABOUT US

    Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are employee benefit advisors who collaborate with their clients as team, using their different perspectives to deploy one solution. Both have been recognized nationally by Employee Benefit Advisor magazine (Andrew: 2017 Rising Star in Advising. Rosario: 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising).

  • Moans and Groans: About Student Loans

    June 28, 2019

    Tags: ,

    The statistics are startling:

    • The total burden of student debt in the United States is $1.4 trillion.
    • In 2017 the median millennial wage was $43,000.
    • In the same year, the median millennial debt was $37,000.
    • 59% of employees 22 to 44 have student debt.

    Debt is the #1 financial challenge to all Americans, and by a wide margin. This lack of fiscal health has a negative effect on both mental and physical health, both of which affect employee performance and motivation.

    In a time of reduced unemployment, the battle for talent and its retention is increasing. How do we get quality employees? What can we offer to keep them? If they stay, how can we help maximize appreciation and thus loyalty? The simple answer is to offer a meaningful compensation and benefits package. The more relevant, and complex, answer is to address specific employee needs and thus create a more meaningful employee experience.

    Medical and retirement may be a given, but how valued are those benefits if debt prevents participation or forestalls fulfilling medical needs? Do employees even know the risks of refusal? What will they deny themselves later by not attending to their long term wellbeing?

    Greater attention is thus being paid to employee education in the basics of finance, while offering products, tools, and services under the rubric of “financial wellness.” One of the key components of such a program is instruction in debt management. New offerings in the student loan sector allow employers to go even further.

    Paying off debt is expensive, with the “load” exceeding the interest earned on savings and potentially the tax and accumulation value of a 401k or other retirement instruments Thus, finding a way to alleviate the stress of a financial burden paves the way to take advantage of a significant savings opportunity.

    A burgeoning cottage industry has developed to help those with student loans, primarily through the channel of employer sponsorship. These services offer:

    • Employer payments to employees to reduce loan balances

    (example – PwC gives employees $100 per month for up to 72 months).

    • Access to lenders who will refinance the loan.
    • Education and counseling, not just on existing debt but how to finance a child’s college education (e.g. using 529 plans).

    For a modest fee, these companies expand the resources for employees, streamline services, help reduce debt, and also create a simplified method of repayment through payroll deduction.

    Various studies have cited:

    • 61% of employers polled said they believe student loan worries have hampered retirement plan participation.
    • 81% of millennials, and 65% of those over 50, want their company to offer student loan tools and resources.
    • A similar percentage of both populations would be more inclined to accept employment with a company that offered student loan tools – or stay with a company if they received student loan benefits.

    Granted, specific studies are skewed to favor the sponsoring student loan services, but there is little doubt that student loans place financial, and thus mental and emotional, stress on employees. Just ask them – and then ask how you can help. The more you can offer, the more appreciative they will be. Recognition and appreciation of a benefit’s value is the cornerstone of a successful compensation and benefits program, after all, so now is a good time to see how you can expand yours in a meaningful way.

  • 5 Things to Think About Before Adding Outside-of-the-Box Benefits

    April 16, 2019

    Tags: ,

    According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the North Bay’s unemployment rate for the month of January 2019 was 3.3%. With the unemployment rate being so low, employers are now forced to get creative with how they attract and retain employees. As benefits advisors, we get an up-close view as to what makes a company’s staffing goals successful. We see that the employers who are winning the talent war use outside-of-the box benefits that target the workforce that the employer needs. Here are five things that we advise clients to think about before they look to add and use outside-of-the-box benefits as a way to attract and retain employees:

    SURVEY

    It’s important to engage your workforce and find out what benefits they would value most before investing in a benefit that will have little or no return on investment. We have had several discussions with employers over the past 18 months where the employer thinks of a benefit that they would value and therefore assumes the employees will value it too. You won’t if you’re correct until you ask.

    WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO ATTRACT?

    It’s important to strategically think about the type of employee you are looking to hire and retain. Employers often hire to fill a spot without thinking about the type of person they need and whether the new hire will fit seamlessly into the organization.

    WHAT ARE YOUR VALUES

    The wants and needs of the workforce are changing. For example, younger people tend to see their careers not solely as income, but as a driver of fulfillment and an expression of their values, interests and skills. We like to highlight corporate values because we have found that to be a main driver for a younger employee’s decision on whether or not to work for a company. Company values are the beliefs upon which a business and its behaviors are based. We suggest that employers determine and make their values public. This will help attract employees who align with an employer.

     WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH AND WHY?

    Do you want to create a better employee experience and make employees feel more engaged or are you looking to attract more talent to your organization? Maybe it’s both. Either way, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this puzzle. Our suggestion is to target the demographic you are looking to attract or retain. Understand them and then focus on what brings them value.

    ENGAGE EMPLOYEES ON AN INDIVIDUAL LEVEL

    By understanding deeper motivations, employers can develop strategies that better engage their workforce. Having a benefits program customized to meet individual employees’ increases loyalty to an employer (MetLife Benefit Trends Study).

     

     

    ABOUT US

    Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are employee benefit advisors who collaborate with their clients as team, using their different perspectives to deploy one solution. Both have been recognized nationally by Employee Benefit Advisor magazine (Andrew: 2017 Rising Star in Advising. Rosario: 2018 Top Women in Benefit Advising).

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