As an entrepreneur who owns a business, how can you support the women you hire? Fortunately, there are dozens of creative ways to achieve that goal. In addition to serving as a mentor to select individuals, you can also cosign for their student loans, offer varied packages of benefits, set up thrift savings plans, support single parents, set fair rates of pay, and reimburse the cost of continuing education courses. While few owners can do all those things, consider the following options, and choose the ones that work best for your organization.
Be a Mentor
It costs nothing but time to be a mentor to new hires. In larger corporations, there are formal mentorship programs in which entry-level employees can apply and get matched to mentors. As the owner of a small business, you don’t have the chance to offer intricate arrangements like that, but you do have the power to make some of your time available to young women who could use helpful career advice, occasional suggestions, honest feedback about performance, and more. Serving in a mentorship role can take almost any form you want, from weekly discussions to random meetups. Some of the world’s most successful business leaders took advantage of mentoring programs when they were young. Consider making the opportunity available for the people who work for you.
Cosign for Student Loans
Many of those who work for you need to complete an unfinished college degree or start one from scratch. When you make the commitment to cosign for their loans, it not only gives them a much greater chance for approval but also helps applicants get more competitive interest rates. For them, even a slightly lower rate means paying substantially less over the entire life of the loan agreement. As an entrepreneur, you can become an Earnest cosigner for student loans for as many employees as you wish. Note that being a cosigner is a win-win situation because workers tend to remain loyal to employers who serve as cosigners and get a college education they might have missed. Helping young women succeed is about giving them the tools to build long-term careers.
Offer Variable Benefits Packages
Menu format benefits packages are immensely popular with younger workers, particularly women who are exploring career paths, going to school on the side, and acquiring basic office experience. One of the most helpful ways to introduce them to the working world is to design a varied list of benefits from which they can choose. For employers who can’t effort to offer dozens of plans, programs, reimbursement schemes, and savings matching arrangements, the menu method is a wise way to go. You save money by not having to pay for dozens of benefits, but your workers can select the three or four for which they have the greatest need.
Make Thrift Savings Plans Available
Very small startups and micro businesses can sometimes only afford to give new hires one or two extras. In the standard thrift savings plan (TSP), owners match a specific percentage of the amount employees contribute to the account, usually between one and five percent. There are limits on most TSPs. Large corporate versions might match 5% of the amount the worker puts in, up to an annual maximum of $10,000. Whatever limits you set, be sure to explain the details of the plan to new hires so they understand that they can boost their accounts substantially just by making regular contributions.
Support Single Parents
For single mothers who need to work, there are multiple obstacles. As an employer, you can remove several of them and thus create a more tolerable environment for younger people who choose to work for you. What do single mothers want in a job? For many, subsidized daycare is at or near the top of their wish list. Other preferences include matched savings plans, flexible schedules, career paths, on the job training for advanced skills, tuition reimbursement, and bus passes.
Set Fair, Uniform Pay Rates
A subtle but immensely important way to support the young women in your employ is to set fair, consistent rates of pay. Regardless of your industry’s or state’s official guidelines and laws, consider going above and beyond official requirements to make sure that all people who do the same work receive the same pay. Women thrive in merit-based professional environments where consistency and single standards for hiring, pay, promotion, and financial bonuses are company policy.
Pay for Continuing Education Classes
In addition to tuition reimbursement for stand-alone college courses, supportive companies make sure to cover all expenses associated with mandatory continuing education units (CEUs). Whether needed for licenses, certification, or professional advancement, arrange to pay the total cost of CEUs for all your workers who need to keep licenses and other credentials up to date. For female professionals in the early part of their working lives, course fees for these kinds of courses can become a financial burden.