What’s the latest buzz in talent strategies? Education benefits are opportunities – and not just for employees.
That’s the top line from a Human Resources Executive cover story on Aetna and its focus on education and student loan repayment as answers to the talent shortage. Why the higher profile? Simple: it makes sense. Organizations need skills; employees are too strapped by existing debt to finance them. Aetna shows when you address both problems, everybody wins.
“If you want to build the skills in your workforce and remain competitive in the war for talent, but your employees have this $30,000 to $100,000 barrier,” our own Patrick Donovan told HRE about why debt isn’t an employee-only issue, “now their debt becomes your problem.”
Some other key takeaways:
An uptick in numbers
Built to fit culture and goals
The newly energized program was strategically designed to hit pain points, specifically time and money. “How do we help our employees get an education,” Aetna’s Vice President of Employee Benefits and Wellbeing Kay Mooney told the magazine about one of the company’s top goals, “without incurring debt.”
Taking on a $1.4 trillion problem
Employees aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit. A trillion-plus in debt hamstrings the economy as well as individual wallets, putting everything from purchasing power to home ownership at risk. That gives employers doubly good reasons to act. “Companies,” said Kay, “can do good and do well at the same time.”
Education Benefits: the Perspective of a Successful Employer
Addressing the talent problem from both sides of the equation (tuition and debt) is just smart business, said Patrick. And the business world is catching on.
“More employers are beginning to look at education benefits as a business solution. It’s a business strategy to attract and retain employees that are needed now and in the future,” he said.
“We looked at it this way,” said Kay about employees. “When they thrive, we thrive.”
Read the Human Resources Executive article, here.