×

5 Tips for Spreading Holiday Cheer to Employees

December 18, 2018

The most wonderful time of year can often be the most confusing for employers looking to bring holiday cheer to the office. It’s usually a busy time for everyone and sometimes it can be a lot of work for not a lot of reward, but no need to bah-humbug. Here are some ideas, including the ever difficult to answer gifts for employees question.

Employee gifts

 

Gifts for employees change with the times because the economy is always changing and people’s preferences for the gifts they want to receive change. Some might think, a gift is a gift, when in fact nothing could be further than the truth. There are parameters. Some gifts may even have the opposite reaction of what you intended. We’ve all had that “gift” from a relative or someone that didn’t seem like a gift at all. It may feel like more like a joke, or worse, a burden that you feel you need to outwardly appreciate, but you really don’t.

 

First off, a gift is a gift. If you’re basing it on performance it’s a performance bonus. If there are no strings attached, it’s a gift. That’s not to say that all gifts must be equal, but they should come from a good place. Forget about giving out company branded SWAG, that always ranks as one of the most hated gifts.

 

What do most employees want? Ask them and they’ll tell you they want cash. They may appreciate the gesture of fruit, gift cards, or motivational books. When it comes down to it when you ask if they would have rather had cash the answer is usually, yes. The great thing about cash is it’s easy. The problem with cash is it’s impersonal. It’s not always fun to give and sometimes easy to forget when it’s from your employer.

 

Education Loan Finance for Business can help out here in a unique way because you can give them something that has the power of cash, with added sentiment and thoughtfulness. You can help pay some of their student loans for the month. By providing a yearly contribution to student loan debt it is the same as giving cash, but it tells employees you understand. It shows that you understand the financial obligations they have and you want them to be in a more financially secure place. They can use the extra money they don’t have to pay loans with, on their holiday gifts, or they can pay down their loans even faster. It’s a win-win.

 

Not every employee will have student loans obviously, but it’s a great option for those that do. For the rest? What employees seem to love most is a choice. That may seem a little impersonal, but really it’s not. Say you offer, cash, a gift card to a nice restaurant or an extra day off next year. Employees who get to choose what they want will be happy because they were involved in the process. Happy employees mean fewer complaints and that can help make the holidays a little happier.

 

Educational Lunch

Around the holidays many people become stressed about finances due to gift-giving and popular shopping days. Something you can do as an employer to ease stress for your employees is to set up a financial education lunch. This type of lunch would be great before the holidays to share some budgeting tips and ideas. Have a local banker, partner, or client come in and share their top tips for the holidays. Cater the lunch and allow employees to ask as many questions as they’d like during the sessions. If you want to make it fun try giving away some surprise gifts for those who attend.

 

Remote Working Days

As the holidays draw near, the workload of employees will continue to get bigger. Consider offering your employees some remote days around the holidays. This will allow employees to work from home saving time on commuting and they can get more of their own personal chores done too. If you cannot permit employees to work from home try offering flexible working hours. Any additional flexibility that can be offered during the holidays will have a large impact on employees.

 

Let your employees share in the giving or not.

 

Whether it’s a secret Santa, white elephant, or a grab-bag, most offices have some sort of gift exchange. This can be an easy way to have fun that doesn’t take a lot of time. Put a strict limit on cost, usually $20 or less and let it be known that you don’t have to participate. No one likes to be forced into a secret Santa or some sort of gift giving organized by their employer.

 

Share the company’s edible gifts and let employees share their treats.        

 

Sometimes vendors, clients, or partners will send gifts to management, often in the form of edible treats. Why not open it up to everyone to share in the goodies? It doesn’t cost anything. Additionally, invite employees to share their holiday treats if they want. You’ll find that a lot of people enjoy sharing their favorite things about the holidays as much as they do getting gifts. You could even host a holiday lunch where employees are invited to bring in their favorite treats.

 

Regardless of how your company chooses to proceed through the holidays, it’s important to keep in mind your employees. It’s best to facilitate an environment where workers like to come to work. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to spend money on educational lunches or remote working days, these can help to ease employee stress. Employees who are stressed less will do better work and be more willing to stay to get work done.

 

Five Things Millennial Employees Look For

Leave a Reply

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

Employer participation in student loan debt assistance
2019-01-02
Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act H.R. 795

Nothing could be better than working for a top company that helps you pay off your student loans, right? Well, a bill was introduced by legislators on 2/1/2017 that is trying to make this a reality. This bill was introduced as the Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act. In addition to the introduction of this Act, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) also released a private letter ruling. What could these events mean for companies and employees who carry student loan debt?  

Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act

First, this bill would amend the tax code by giving tax breaks to employers that provide educational assistance to employees. Educational assistance can be in the form of contributions to student loans through either a payment to the employee or lender. Specifically, this act would allow employers to offer a tax-free student loan benefit in addition to a salary to its employees.  

IRS Private Letter Ruling

  Recently, there was a private letter ruling released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you want to review the contents of the private letter ruling, it can be found here. The ruling allows employers to use 401(k) plans to help employees pay down their student loan debt. It is done by taking the employer 401(k) match to pay down student loans.   Any employee who is eligible for a 401(k) plan would be eligible for this plan. The ruling states that the plan is a voluntary program that employees must elect to enroll. Employees who choose to participate in this plan would be eligible for non-elective contributions made by the employer to their student loan debt. These contributions would be equal to what would have been contributed to a 401(k) plan had the employee opted out of the program.  

What Does Student Loan Debt Assistance Mean for Employers?

When managing a business, it is imperative that you stay on top of recent news. Part of staying on top of things includes understanding what challenges your employees face. Both these aspects of operating a business and understanding the needs of your employees, however, can fall hand in hand. When it comes to student loan debt assistance, it can be a huge positive for any business. Not only does student loan debt assistance help employees achieve their financial goals, but it also brings many benefits to a firm.   Offering a student loan debt assistance program does not typically cost a company extra. The employer contributions to student loans are what a company would have typically made as a 401(k) contribution. Therefore the costs of providing 401(k) contributions and student loan debt assistance are equal. Another positive that comes from offering a program like this is that it helps with finding top talent, recruiting, and retaining all-stars. With older generations of employees retiring in record numbers and the workforce shifting to younger millennials, it’s important to take some time to examine the benefits of providing student loan debt assistance.   As many millennials have student loans and report that paying them down is a priority over saving for retirement, companies should begin thinking about reevaluating their benefits package to attract millennials. Finding ways to help this generation pay off student loans could be a big boost to a company’s recruiting strategy. Offering student loan payment assistance could put a company on the cutting edge as far as millennial professionals are concerned.  

Click to Learn More About ELFI for Business

  According to a benefits report by OneDigital, nearly 80 percent of employees surveyed by American Student Assistance felt that an employer-sponsored student loan repayment benefit would be a deciding factor in accepting a job. This could be a huge differentiator for an employer aiming to recruit the best employees.   The American Student Assistance survey also showed that 86 percent of employees would feel compelled to stay with an employer for at least five years in exchange for student loan repayment assistance. Considering how much companies spend on turnover (recruiting, training, and onboarding new employees), this could mean huge potential savings on talent management costs for employers.  

What Does Student Loan Debt Assistance Mean for Employees?

Some companies already offer student loan assistance, but these funds are usually taxed. This type of assistance isn’t as attractive as pre-tax funds because taxes reduce the impact of payments on student loans. Tax-free repayment funds from an employer could be more effective in helping graduates pay down their student loans faster. Employees would avoid incurring taxes associated with this type of assistance.   Many Millennials also face the question of, “Should I save for retirement or pay down debt first?” Student loan debt assistance could be a solution that addresses both concerns. Young employees would have the ability to make substantial payments towards their student loan debt. With these large payments, they will be able to cut down their repayment time. That means young employees would have the ability to start saving for retirement earlier in their career instead of trying to pay down their debt.  

Looking to the Future of Employment and Student Loan Debt

  With the recent Employer Participation in Student Loan Assistance Act and IRS Private Letter Ruling, it seems student loan debt has become a problem for employees. Since employees are having difficulties with paying down student loan debt, it is time for employers to take action. Not only will employers benefit from offering student loan debt assistance programs, but it will most likely be at little or no cost to them.   If this act becomes a law, experts think that companies will immediately begin to rethink their benefits package and consider student loan debt assistance as a way to attract the best employees. Though it may not be easy for millennials to land a position with one of these companies, they will certainly have another factor to decide in student loan debt assistance when choosing their employer.   Interested in starting a conversation regarding your student loans? Give us a call: 1-844-601-ELFI.  

5 Benefits Millennials Look For in Employers

  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.
Millennials in a work meeting with lattes
2018-08-01
The Solution to Millennial Employment Turnover

The Millennial Generation or those born from 1981 – 1996i seem to be the biggest target for social commentary. Millennials have been blamed for the decrease in napkin sales, the increase in renting versus buying, and have numerous stereotypes like the generation without social skills. If it isn’t clear, Millennials have certainly become the generation every other group loves to hate.   If the lack of social skills weren’t enough, here is another reason people are finding it hard to approve of the millennial generation - the lack of loyalty to employers. Currently, 60% of millennials are open to a different job.i The loyalty that previous generations had to their employer is lost among the Millennial Generation. There doesn’t seem to be any lost and found box where companies can go to find that lost loyalty, either. Could it be the lack of raises or is it something missing from your human resource offerings?   The average college graduate leaves school with $37,172 in student loan debtii. That college debt is more than any previous generation. When your workers are carrying more debt, they are more conscious of what they are getting paid. Student loan debt can be like a fire for some borrowers, as they need to eliminate the debt as soon as possible before incurring additional damage.   Allow us to put this employee need in perspective for you. Three in five young workers say a higher priority for them is paying off their student loans, not retirementiii. What a compelling insight into what young workers are focused on. This provides a perfect illustration of why your traditional Human Resource benefits like a 401K may no longer be enough to keep a young workforce motivated.   Before we continue, let’s clear something up, the problem of student loan debt doesn’t only affect younger workers. Though younger Millennial workers are highly affected, one in five adults, ages 30 to 44, have student loan debt according to PEW researchiv. So what can you do as an employer to address the concern of student loan debt and keep your employee motivated?   We would recommend adding student loan education and assistance to your suite of HR benefits. It’s a no-brainer to add an HR benefit that doesn’t cost your company anything. Yes, you, as an employer would pay nothing to offer this to your employees. Education Loan Finance offers a program where a link can be placed directly into your HR portal. It’s almost effortless to partner with a company and offer this benefit!   Want to blow your employees out of the water? Consider offering to contribute to your employee’s loans. You’ll never have problems with employees leaving, at least while they have student loan debt anyways. There are multiple different methods available to offer student loan contribution to your employees. You could offer a type of sign on bonus payment to be applied directly to the principal of the loan. These types of bonuses are great for the holiday season, sign-on bonuses, or reward for a job well-done. A second popular method of contribution is a monthly payment. Below is a chart we’ve put together to illustrate how employer contributions can have a huge impact on student loan debt. Take a look for yourself and see how an employee with student loan debt could be easily motivated based on this simple and free HR benefit.  
Total Employee Loan Debt Loan Lifetime Interest Rate Annual Employer Bonus Total Employee Savings
$37,000 10 years 6% $1,000 $10,269
$200,000 7 years 6% $1,000 $5,843
$200,000 10 years 6% $1,000 $11,102
  If you aren’t sure if student loan repayment assistance is right for your company that’s okay, but keep that in mind any time you receive a two-week notice from an employee. There are multiple plans available to help your employees navigate their way through student loan debt repayment. Common offerings an employee can gain by working with a company may include employer contributions, student loan refinancing, and educational tools. So how does an employer add this to their employee offerings? It’s simple, by partnering with student loan refinance companies like Education Loan Refinance; you have the opportunity to make student loan debt assistance benefits a reality for your employees. Now, there is no guarantee that offering benefits to employees will keep them from leaving. Aside from benefits, there are billions of reasons people leave jobs. For younger generations like the always loved Millennials taking on more and more debt each year, this is a MUST. To be considered groundbreaking and modern, your company will need to be offering student debt assistance.  

Learn How ELFI for Business Can Help You 

i   http://www.elfi.com/elfiforbusiness/ ii  http://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/191459/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx iii  https://www.creditdonkey.com/average-student-loan-payment.html iv  https://d9jmqzwnxk1s1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/14141823/asa_young_worker_and_student_debt_survey_report-1.pdf  v http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/24/5-facts-about-student-loans/