As economic futures remain uncertain, more and more employees are realizing that the concepts of health and wellness go far beyond a steady salary and health insurance. To be truly prepared for whatever may come, today's workers need comprehensive benefits packages that address their current and future concerns. Thankfully, company representatives are realizing this, and they want to take action.
This urgency was on full display at The Conference Board's Employee Healthcare Conferences in March in New York and San Diego. CommonBond was on the ground at both of TCB's events, engaging with leaders and human resources representatives in attendance. These conversations highlighted the fact that with an increasingly diverse workforce comes a need for modern benefits—including student loan benefits.
Key Challenges for Human Resources Teams
The fact that today's workforce has so many disparate needs means that benefits have to be more personalized than ever before. This complexity makes it harder for human resources representatives to implement the most effective plans and for employees to figure out which benefits to utilize. Based on our conversations, the three key challenges we identified were:
1. Lack of resources: Most HR professionals have to do a lot with little. Many are part of undersized teams, and even at large organizations, there are very few who specifically focus on benefits, giving them little time to explore options in the field. It's increasingly falling to external benefit providers, therefore, to represent their offerings and distill information on impact down to its most essential parts.
2. Constant benefits management: Once benefits are adopted by an HR team and successfully launched within an organization, representatives must remain in constant contact with employees to make sure that the benefits are having their maximum possible effect. With more varied offerings, employees may have difficulty remembering which benefits are being provided and determining which options are best for them. Ensuring benefits information is easily accessible and sending ongoing refreshers are a must.
3. An aging workforce: One executive at a large company reported between 100 and 200 retirements per year. New generations of employees constantly need to be brought in and supported throughout each stage of their financial lives. The result is a highly competitive market where distinct benefits are needed.
Why Student Loan Benefits Make Sense for Today's Workforce
One trend that was clear at TCB's conferences was that student loan benefits are increasingly helping companies provide a more comprehensive solution to financial wellness. They are essential because they address a very specific need for today's workers.
The stats on student loan debt prove that it's a problem. A suite of student loan benefits is a particularly valuable solution for those looking to improve the financial well-being of their employees and attract top talent. Here's why:
- A universal need: Student loan benefits are in demand from workers of all ages, many of whom carry student loan debt for their own educations or for those of family members.
- Ongoing effects: student loan benefits have a huge impact—they address debt, which affects entire families, and they allow people to amend their budgets and save money for other necessities, effectively unlocking opportunities for other life investments.
- Help for the future: CommonBond's student loan benefits go above and beyond repayment, offering employees student loan evaluation and analysis to help them maintain financial wellness in the years to come.
How Do They Help HR Teams?
- Comprehensive solution: With the right provider, student loan benefits are also easy to implement. The work is already done, and all that's left is to roll out the benefit and measure its impact over time.
- "Off-cycle"possibilities: There's also no "cycle" for student loan benefits, which can be put into effect at any time of year—like during a less-taxing time for the HR department or employees. This also helps drive higher levels of employee engagement and stronger results for HR teams.
- Targeted eligibility: This benefit allows employers to target employees who need student loan benefits the most—based on age, location, and specific job function, amongst other criteria. Getting a company assessment prior to debuting the benefits will tell HR representatives exactly who needs help with their student debt and who would be interested in taking advantage of such a plan.
Now Is the Time to Start
As the financial needs of today's workforce change, employers who want to remain competitive in the hiring landscape must adapt to meet them. TCB's Employee Healthcare Conference proved that the word about innovative benefits is out, and it's been heard. We understand how student loan benefits offer a solution to the problems at hand, and the next steps—ones which will benefit employees and employers alike—are clear.