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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

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2019-03-13
The Best Ways To Engage Millennials At Work

Just ask!

As of 2019, millennials are roughly between the ages of 23 and 37. Many millennial employees are nearing their late 30s and likely have good work experience and instincts. Even younger millennials are pretty business-savvy as they’re used to reading about their field and Googling questions to make sure they’re informed. With these traits in their favor,
millennials can be a good second set of eyes to give you another point of view on a decision or project brief. Get their opinions or help with decision-making to broaden your perspective and to help raise buy-in.  

Give regular feedback.

In the era of ghosting and impersonal communication, many professional millennials yearn for up-to-date information on where they stand. Whether this a one-on-one, review or just feedback in general, they want to know their status at work. The approval of supervisors can mean a lot to this demographic. Millennials tend to work hard to meet and even exceed their professional goals. Your job in this process is to let them know when they are on track, ahead, or behind. No hand-holding needed: just don’t let them be in the dark about progress and they will be happy for the engagement.  

Stick to a predictable review process.

Along with being available for regular feedback and check-ins, millennial employees count on a predictable review process for a few reasons. Millennials want the opportunity to shine, and that’s not possible if they don’t have face time with leadership, especially supervisors who may not be involved in their regular projects. If their job doesn’t require even semi-frequent check-ins, regular feedback likely won’t be enough to let them know how they’re performing. Plus, following a set schedule and using a standardized system for assessment takes away any chance of ambiguity or uncertainty.  

Connect with their values.

Millennials want to feel like they’re doing something to improve their community. This drive to “save the world” even in small ways is because they grew up learning to take care of the environment and people around us. Companies can drive engagement by giving millennials a way to get involved with company initiatives that fit their values. That could be coordinating off-site events and team-building for a purpose. Get millennials engaged in internal campaigns like adopting a comprehensive recycling strategy, or finding vendors who are local or minority-owned. Sustainable initiatives can be a big hit among this crowd while also saving money. Think about how you can connect things like lowering shipping costs with lighter packaging or using recycled materials.  

Give them a challenging goal.

Most millennials want to feel valued and adept at their jobs. It’s important to be proud of what you do and feel like you’re making an important contribution. The best way to attain that fulfillment is to reach your goals. The nice thing about setting challenging goals to engage your millennial employees is that you also get to see them make amazing progress. You also get to watch them develop skills that are important to their role on your team. Instead of telling someone to wing it or figure it out. Management can engage employees by working together to set up the challenge. The employee will be tasked with the dirty work of getting down to business and making it happen.  

Make them the lead on a project or initiative.

You might find that you get better engagement out of younger employees by putting them in charge of something. Many millennials want the chance to show what they’re made of. What better way to do that than to take responsibility for something? You’ll never know what your people are made of if they don’t occasionally get to prove their abilities. That doesn’t mean you have to take a big risk, but let them know what their responsibility is. Why could their performance mean a lot for their reputation or respect? You will likely be surprised.  

Offer career and personal development opportunities.

With millennials poised to make up 75% of the workforce by 2020, helping prepare them to take over is critical to your company’s success. Good news, millennials want to do the kind of professional development that will make them ready! As employees start to think about a retirement plan, you don’t want to let all of that experience and prowess walk out the door. Consider offering development for millennial employees. This can help keep them engaged and strengthen the company’s transition from one generation of leaders to another. Don’t forget about personal development opportunities, too. Plenty of organizations can partner with you to offer workshops on life management or volunteer opportunities. People will find workshops and volunteer opportunities personally valuable. These opportunities will help them be better employees even if they’re not working directly on building a career skill.  

Keep open communication.

Finally, the biggest thing you can do to keep millennials engaged is, communicate. This generation might be guilty of relying on emojis at times, but they hate guessing and value honesty. Find ways to facilitate conversations both big picture planning and everyday updates and time for open feedback.  

5 Benefits Millennials Look For

  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.  
Women looking at jobs on computer with dog.
2019-02-26
Reduce Student Loans for College with These Jobs for Students

It’s not practical to go to college and not have a job. With a number of non-traditional students commuting or even raising a family during school years, being employed is a must. Plus, even having a part-time job not related to your desired field can still prove that you have the skills it takes to manage your time, work as part of a team, and be reliable. Never underestimate the importance of these types of skills on your resume!   With most students taking out student loans or aid, finding a college job can mean that you can reduce your student loans for college and pay some tuition or expenses with your current income. That said, there are some jobs for college students that are better than others. Here’s our take on what are the top jobs for college students and why.  

Nanny

Nannying is a serious skill that not everyone has. If you’re great with kids and can find a gig to match your availability, being a nanny means you’ll get paid well to spend your time helping a family raise cool kids into stellar adults. No longer the $3/hour that you got paid to watch neighborhood kids back in the day, the average nanny rate is $12–$13/hour. You could even get paid more if you have additional skills like foreign languages or child development knowledge. Nanny jobs can be a really great asset to students studying to be teachers. Nannying could be a great introduction to what you’ll be studying in school.  

Office Admin

Working in an office is usually not very glamorous, but there’s a reason why so many college students look for basic administrative work. Office environments can be nuanced and require you to learn certain types of etiquette on top of professional dress and demeanor. By working part-time in an office around your school schedule, you’ll learn things like phone skills, how to operate standard office equipment, basic computer skills (that you might already have, but it’s still nice to reinforce), and you’ll make connections with other professionals who can give you a reference later. Depending on the type of office you’re working in you may have the ability to gain some additional career skills. If your regular tasks are completed it’s likely you’ll get to learn some additional skills that could come in extra useful in the long-run.  

Hospitality or Community Outreach

Anything in outreach or hospitality that exposes you to lots of people in your community is a great opportunity for a college student. Being the happy face of an organization means that you will build great people skills like patience and customer service. In addition, it’ll give you a chance to get to know other people or places you encounter. Did we mention networking? Do you best to network with as many people as possible. You never know when the relationships you’ve made will come in useful across your career and study journey.    

Health Unit Clerk

Helping out in a medical facility or institution is a top job for college students because you can usually land a good rate of pay during hours that fall outside when your classes are. Whether it’s nights, weekends, or after-hours, being an orderly requires you to use empathy and care for people who need help caring for themselves. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re passionate about helping people and want the simplicity of wearing scrubs every day while making about $12/hour, this might be your best bet. Of course, being a health unit clerk is a great first step for anyone looking to further their career in social work or a medical field.  

Bank Teller

Some people actually joke that you should not become a bank teller in college because working at a bank can become so comfortable that you won’t want to leave! With opportunities for advancement, solid pay (about $12/hour), regular hours, and plenty of holidays off, being a bank teller is a pretty good job for a college student. You need to be detailed and good at math along with having the people skills of someone in reception or customer service.  

Tutor

Tutoring is probably one of the best ways to earn money while in school if you have enough experience in one area of study and can help lower level students navigate their coursework. Tutoring is highly flexible and not limited to business hours, plus you can usually do it at school or at a library or home, and it has a higher hourly rate than many other jobs. Tutors can easily make $20–$40/hour depending on the area of study, helping you make extra cash in less time and strengthening your own study skills while you’re at it.   If you’re looking for ways to reduce your student loans for college, consider one of these top jobs for students so you can pay some of your expenses with your income!  

Check Out These Resume Tips from Hiring Managers

  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.
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.