An EdAssist survey found that 66 percent of millennials would accept employer assistance with repaying student loans instead of regular pay raises. To help employers meet workers’ desire for loan assistance, Boston-based startup Gradafi has created a Student Loan Paydown Plan that companies can offer their employees. So far about 100 companies have signed up for the program. PricewaterhouseCoopers became the first company to come on board, offering the plan to the 11,000 recent graduates it recruits annually. In an economy where recruiters face a growing hiring skills gap, offering tangible incentives helps companies attract and retain top talent and motivate them to do their best on the job.
Tuition Reimbursement and Continuing Education
Besides student loan repayment programs, another education-related incentive employers can use to attract and motivate employees is tuition reimbursement and continuing education programs. Last year Starbucks became the latest among a growing number of companies to offer tuition assistance, joining Deloitte, Home Depot and UPS. Offering such incentives benefits companies by building brand reputation, attracting top recruits and encouraging internal hiring of employees who want to move up the ladder. For companies seeking to attract young recruits with talent, ambition and leadership potential, tuition reimbursement and continuing education are great incentives to offer.
Telecommuting and Flexible Hours
In 2014, 23 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work from home, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Offering employees the option of telecommuting or working flexible hours represents one of the best incentives employers can offer outside of salaries, raises and benefits, Jobacle suggests. For parents with children, workers with disabilities, employees who want to avoid traffic congestion or those who simply prefer to work from the comfort of home, a telecommuting or flexible hours option can be an attractive and motivating incentive.
Offering telecommuting becomes easier if you also offer employees the opportunity to bring their own device to work. Gartner projects that by 2017, half of employers will require employees to bring their own devices. A BYOD program can represent an incentive in itself for some workers, but you can sweeten the pot by offering to provide employees with the latest devices, like the iPhone 6 Plus, or to help cover the cost. TechRepublic even suggests that companies can substitute a device for an end-of-year bonus. This also helps ensure that employee devices meet company tech specifications and security standards.
Four out of five large companies now use wellness incentive programs, such as health assessments, according to an ERBI report. Half offer financial incentives to participate in such programs, spending an average of $693 per employee on wellness-based incentives. This number is expected to increase
due to the Affordable Care Act, which allows employers to offer incentives up to 30 percent of the cost of coverage. Employers favor wellness programs, seeing them as a way to reduce health care costs while improving worker productivity.
A study by health insurance provider Cigna found that such programs work best when coupled with financial incentives. Offering financial rewards increased employee participation in biometric screenings from 20 percent to 55 percent. Such programs can be used to extend benefits to individual employees who take proactive steps to improve their health. For instance, in 2014, Cigna distributed $80 million in rewards to group health plan customers who completed various health care goals. Some incentive programs discount health plan premiums for employees who complete health care goals, while others add funds to health spending accounts to lower out-of-pocket expenses.