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How Student Loan Repayment Can Transform HR

Ryan Gardner | April 2, 2019 Employer Insights

How Student Loan Repayment Can Transform HR

HR has a reputation that, unfairly, casts a shadow over all the good it does. One of the factors driving that rep is this long-held view of HR being a cost center: that it takes up more money and resources than it actually gives back to the company. And because of that, HR has often struggled to highlight the value it brings to the company.

After all, at the end of the day, HR is all about investing in people: recruiting, interviewing, training and educating and providing benefits that help with retaining the best employees. Good employees drive good business for the company, and you don’t get good employees without a sturdy HR department in place. That might seem like a no-brainer, but the fact is that some of this value is not always clear to the C-suite. Employee benefits, for instance, are typically seen as costs because, well, they are literally costs; and those black-and-white numbers can speak for themselves to a cost-conscious CFO.

It’s not enough to just believe that HR programs and initiatives actually provide value; that value has to be demonstrated clearly enough so that those who might look down at HR as a cost center are set straight. HR has to be able to show that what it does has a positive impact on not just employee productivity, but overall revenue growth and profit.

They also have to prove it to the employees and prospects that HR is pursuing. When you’re dealing with an extremely competitive job market, one that has employees – especially millennial-aged ones – looking for the exit door in the near future because they’ve got better offers lined up, a robust benefits package is absolutely key for HR to be able to prove value to both the workers and the higher-ups.

Sitting at the heart of that robust benefits package: student loan repayment.

From cost center to profit center

Health insurance and a 401(k) program are likely the first things that come to mind when asked about what benefits employers should, and do, provide. And fittingly, they’re also the top two most in-demand benefits from employees themselves. But #3 on that list? Student loan repayment.

It’s easy to see why a CFO’s first impression of offering student loan repayment as a benefit might draw eyerolls. After all, if HR wants to shake off its rep as a cost center, how does investing more money into a student loan program help?

But consider the big picture: over half of employees want a student loan repayment perk at their workplace, yet only 4 percent of companies actually offer it. Simple supply and demand applies here. When you’ve got that big a gulf between the number of workers who want and need student loan repayment help, and so few companies providing it, being one of the few who does provide it offers a massive competitive advantage.

And that’s how HR makes the jump from cost center to profit center. Because by integrating student loan repayment services into your benefits packages, HR can jump to the head of the pack in the marketplace, offering a lucrative perk for attracting new employees and retaining current ones alike. This in turn helps generate new revenue from those employees as well as cut down on the amount of spend needed for recruiting and retention efforts.

Redefine your reputation as a profit center by partnering with Vault. Our student loan repayment platform helps provide exactly the kind of workplace perk that employees are calling out for, offering a new way for HR to boost employee retention and recruiting, and drive new business value.