Need to attract millennials? Offer student loan benefits!

If you want to attract and retain millennials, it’s all about the benefits. And no perks are more sought after among this group than student loan benefits.

Ten years ago, millennials flocked to employers offering free snacks and ping-pong tables, but as this demographic matures, they seek more meaningful benefits from their company with long-term results. Similarly, growing companies have a hyper-sensitive need to appeal to the millennial group because they will soon make up a clear majority of the workforce.

Focused on their financial futures

We talk to our client’s millennial staff all the time about their needs. My team also talks to our clients, most of which are millennials, every day about how important their financial future is to them.

What we’ve learned is that most millennials have lofty goals, and if a company can help them achieve those goals by supporting their financial future beyond just an income, they have a strong chance of attracting top-performing talent. Millennials also focus on values, so if a company can demonstrate how they support and reflect their employees’ values – financial and otherwise – that goes a long way.

Student loan debt is considered an epidemic in our country and is a major obstacle to the financial independence and goals that millennials seek.  Those with student loans are constantly looking for ways to contribute savings to their payments – from more practical strategies like refinancing or taking on a “side hustle,” to extremes like selling their eggs or participating in medical trials.

Enlightened companies are beginning to recognize how student loan repayment programs can benefit their employees by enabling financial independence, which naturally creates a more positive outlook on their professional and personal life. According to a recent study we conducted with LendEdu, we found that 58% of millennials would prefer student loan refinancing benefits from employers over additional vacation days – pretty powerful! This shows, plain and simple, how millennials are looking for benefits and employers that support their financial well-being.

Offering a student debt repayment benefit reinforces that employers care about the same things their employees do, establishing trust and demonstrating how the company and staff have the same values. It also helps to boost employee morale and satisfaction, and a satisfied workforce is one that’s likely more productive, committed to their team’s success and loyal to their company.

Employers as advocates

On the recruitment side, this benefit allows employers to attract top-performing millennials who seek employers that advocate for their financial health. Companies that are first to introduce this benefit are shaping their brand perception as one that’s invested not only in the financial health of their employees, but in doing good for people facing an extreme burden.

In a time where job switching has become more common – and where 50% of millennials carry student loan debt – student loan refinancing benefits can help encourage employees to stick around for the long-haul. This benefit establishes trust and demonstrates that employers care deeply about the financial future and overall well-being of their staff, which, for millennials, is far more appealing than most “work perks.”

 

 

Does your business struggle to provide incentives to millennials, Gen Zers?
  • Employers say they’re struggling to attract and retain millennial and Gen Z workers, in part because they can’t provide the incentives they believe these demographics want. More than 1,000 senior-level HR professionals responded to a survey by Allegis on the state of millennials and Gen Z in the workforce, and almost half voiced this concern. Most say they believe this failure will negatively impact their company by slowing growth, reducing productivity and increasing hiring costs.
  • What’s keeping them from enticing these generations into the fold? More than 70% believe outmoded work practices, sketchy career paths and limits on advancement, development and mentoring are impacting attrition. Flexible work schedules, wellness programs, fast-track promotions and other perks were identified by 69% of respondents as problematic.
  • Millennials, the study suggests, are looking for more than salary and benefits; diversity and inclusion rank high on their employment wishlist, as does strong corporate social responsibility (CSR). Yet only 12% of businesses believe their D&I programs help attract talent, and only 13% believe CSR does.

AZ HR Hub Insight:

Millennials, the generation that will dominate the workforce at an estimated 75% representation by 2025, comprise 35% of workers in the U.S. today. To attract and retain this demographic, employers may have to do some serious surveying and listening.

Priorities may vary from workplace to workplace, and generational stereotypes can create problems. PwC, for example, saw that its millennials were clamoring for flexibility and leaving when they didn’t get it. It conducted a survey and, naturally, found that “millennials want more flexibility, the opportunity to shift hours — to start their work days later, for example, or put in time at night, if necessary. But so do non-millennials, in equal numbers.”

Allegis’ findings about diversity and CSR may well apply to other generations as well. Studies have found that diverse teams are more innovative, and employer branding — including a persona as a good corporate citizen — can go a long way with employees of all generations.

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