More than Meets the Eye: Student Loans’ Holistic Impact on the Workforce

October 18, 2021

At first glance, student loans fall neatly under the financial well-being umbrella. Simple, right? But look closer: the effects of student debt ripple outward, shaping general well-being and most every other HR concern.

Since spring 2020, the student loan landscape has been profoundly shaped by the challenges of the pandemic and the actions taken to support the American workforce, notably the temporary suspension of student-loan debt (payments resume in February), extended unemployment benefits, and direct financial support to American households. But as these programs draw to a close, employees carrying student loans must navigate new challenges. Enterprises focused on the holistic well-being of their employees recognize the tensions of returning to (and defining) a new normal. Employers can help by providing resources and trustworthy guidance.

This roundup highlights our three most-read blog posts on the effects of student loans, both on your business and on employees’ lives.

1. Financial health essentials

The situation: As the pandemic challenged workplaces, unemployment sky-rocketed, prompting increased monthly unemployment support by the federal government. But those programs have now wound down in all 50 states.

The opportunity: Helping employees recalibrate their financial well-being is a service employers can provide to address both mental-health and pocketbook obstacles in the evolving economic landscape.

Rebalancing Financial Well-Being as Unemployment Benefits End →

2. Mental health matters

The situation: Professionals carrying student loans often pay them down for decades, experiencing protracted economic and mental health challenges.

The opportunity: Prioritizing mental health allows you to demonstrate that you value each individual’s mental health and well-being as the foundation of productive work. It’s no surprise that mental well-being leads to improved satisfaction on the job, increased productivity, and greater retention over time. Building out mental health offerings supports employees and employers: a win-win for all.

Making the Connection: Student Loans and Mental Health for Your Employees →

3. Student Loans are a DEI accelerant

The situation: The impact of student loans does not fall equally on all borrowers: We know that borrowers of color graduate with more debt than their white peers and face more challenges in repayment. These conditions limit opportunity and contribute to toxic cycles of generational poverty.

The opportunity: Businesses dedicated to a more equitable and inclusive workplace can adopt strategies to identify and support employees of color carrying student loans, creating opportunities for personal growth by decreasing the long-term economic stress and financial vulnerability many borrowers experience.

Diversity, Equity, Well-being: Six Ways to Make a Difference on Student Debt →

Seeing the bigger picture, and acting on it

The holistic effects of student loans touch all aspects of employees’ lives. Economic obligations stop your employees from achieving personal milestones like home ownership and starting a family. Problems with repayment undermine credit and future financial strength. Overwhelming mental health concerns challenge dedicated employees’ ability to be their best selves at work.

Employers that recognize the potential power of healthy employees can unleash vital benefits that protect the workforce and the organization, aligning growth with health, productivity, and financial well-being.

Schedule a one-on-one demo with our product specialists to see how Summer can work for your employees and holistic benefits offering.

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