If you’re like me (or the 70% of people who have student loans) you can understand the burdens that they place. Having to say no to nights out, vacations, a new pair of sneakers, etc. can be draining and sometimes embarrassing.
Luckily for several of us, Seer has committed to donating $36,000 in 2019 to teammates who have student loans through the Student Loan program.
The History of Seer’s Student Loan Repayment Program
To understand a bit more about Seer’s Student Loan Repayment Program and how it works, we sat with Wil (that’d be Wil Reynolds, Founder of Seer) to understand his perspective: what is the program, why did he start it, what are the challenges?
Anyone with student loan debt knows first-hand the burden it creates, but Wil has been fortunate; he’s admittedly never had the weight of student loans hanging over him. Fast forward to the moment when a team member requested use of her Kaizen budget (what we call our annual professional development budget) to pay down her student loans. Once Wil heard that someone was hoping to drop $1,000 on their student loans instead of applying it to a conference or course to up their skills (which is really what the Kaizen budget is intended for) he dug deeper into the issue to find out why. A few conversations with team members opened his eyes to the level of stress student loan debt has on folks; he figured, if Seer can give people a bit of money toward their loans and alleviate stress, we can help them free up space to focus on things that matter. Thus, the creation of the Student Loan program.
Applying for Seer’s Student Loan Benefit
Every quarter, all team members at Seer have the opportunity to apply for the student loan program. The process to apply isn’t necessarily a walk in the park, nor Is it designed to be. The application teammates fill out to apply is long, detailed and really questions how teammates are expanding the business. The applications are then reviewed quarterly by members of our leadership team, who ultimately decide the (one) recipient each quarter; they are taking into account things like impact on clients and revenue, company contributions, impact on process change or leading an organization change, and impact to the community.
How It Works
Seer is a single-owner business which, in simple terms, means that all profits or losses come to Wil at the end of the day. Perks like the Student Loan Program or his 2018 Travel Stipend (more on that in a future post) come directly from his profits. If you’re a business owner reading this, your eyebrows may be raised…that’s okay! Wil just sees this a bit differently; he’s been caught saying things like, “I could buy a Lambo, but why would I do that? I already have a car”. Instead of buying a third vacation home or his dream Ferrari California, he figures that he has “a pretty good chance to help people”.
Tips For Launching a Student Loan Repayment Benefit
For those of you reading this who have been or are now thinking about implementing a similar student loan program for your employees, we asked Wil what you should consider:
- Taxes: do you have the means to cover the tax burden in a similarly run program or a team of executives to support this type of program? If not, make sure your employees are aware or seek out companies who have made a business out of student loan benefit programs; they’ll handle all of this for you.
- Make the dollar amount smaller if the tax burden of several thousand is too much for you to bare, that way you can offer some support and still avoid passing along that tax burden to your team.
- Listen to your people: this program was a result of Wil sitting down with people and understanding their struggles. If you talk to your people and understand what has them stressed, you have an opportunity to craft your company in a way that helps your specific population with issues they have.
So, Now What?
A total of 15 teammates have received funds from the Student Loan program, and Seer plans to help another 12 of teammates in 2019 for a total of $36,000. Can we just take a minute to let that sink in?
As you can imagine, Seer Student Loan recipients are incredibly thankful for this program. In full disclosure, this video was made to share with Seer’s leadership team, but transparency is one of our core values so why not just share ours? Take a look at what our team has to say about the program:
This is just one of the amazing benefits of working at Seer. If you’re interested in learning more, take a look at how you can join our team!