February 13, 2017

Giving the Gift of Financial Wellness & Education

As part of my job, I have the pleasure of developing and delivering programs which are designed to support employees and their families. In 2017 my focus is on two key areas – education and financial wellness.

Here are 3 programs that will help address these issues which are good for both your people and your organization.

Tuition Reimbursement Programs

These programs have been around in one form or another for many years as a vehicle for supporting career growth and development and as a way to help close employee knowledge and skill gaps. In fact, U.S. employers spend approximately $177B annually on formal training and talent development. Roughly 10% of that is spent on tuition assistance.

While Tuition Reimbursement Programs have long been considered as part of a benefits offering, more organizations are starting to see the strategic value of these programs. They can increase employee engagement, control talent management costs, and support employees in the area of financial wellness.

In a recent White Paper from the Lumina Foundation, researchers studying global health-care services provider Cigna found a ROI of 129% from their Education Reimbursement Program (ERP). Participants in Cigna’s ERP program were “10% more likely to be promoted, 7.5% more likely to receive an internal transfer, and 8% more likely to be retained”’ – all of which reduced costs associated with filling positions and reduced turnover costs.

The benefits for employees are also powerful. In Cigna’s case, employees who took advantage of the ERP “got promoted and accessed new career opportunities at higher rates than employees who did not participate, and ERP participation was associated with 43% higher incremental wage gains over the three-year period.”

 Scholarships for dependents of employees

 With the rising costs of post-secondary education, many parents struggle to find ways to save for their children’s college, vocational, and university educations. At Ceridian, we’ve awarded over 2.3 million dollars since the inception of our Ceridian Scholarship Program and last year added two new scholarships to our offering. Named in honor of our late President Dave MacKay, the two new $10,000 scholarships offer a significant contribution and help us ease the financial burden for our employees. And, with recent changes in Canadian taxation guidelines, employer-paid scholarship programs are no longer considered taxable benefits for employees in Canada. Our employees tell us that our Scholarship Programs foster a deeper loyalty to and engagement with, our organization.

Student Loan Repayment Programs

According to Market Watch, about 70% of those graduating in the U.S. with a bachelor’s degree leave school with debt and in Canada, undergraduate students owe, on average, over $25,000 when they graduate. Also, a recent study conducted by Peanut Butter found 85% of the surveyed college-educated millennial students would be more likely to accept a job when student loan repayment is offered. While only about 3% of North American based organizations are currently offering this kind of benefit, it’s a trend that makes it appealing to both prospective employees and employers looking to differentiate themselves with millennials. At Ceridian we’re currently piloting this benefit with a segment of our employee population – stay tuned for results!

Lisa Bull

Lisa Bull is Vice President, Talent Development at Ceridian where she oversees learning and development, performance management, onboarding, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs globally. 

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