College Coach: An Emotional Connection

The following post was written by Karin Laviano, Director, Client Relations at Bright Horizons.

Given all the news on the ever-increasing costs of college and difficulty of college admissions, HR leaders are realizing more and more that their employees with children are facing a significant drain on their well-being.  To fully realize their wellness strategy, especially around emotional goals, this must be addressed.

Fortunately, College Coach is all about connecting with families emotionally, providing long-term benefits for stress reduction and well-being. Educational advising has long-term benefits for employers Applying to (and paying for) college is extremely stressful. The whole process has become even more competitive -- there are more students applying to more schools than ever before. It is often the second largest aggregate investment a family will make (number one is usually buying a home). And, there's a ton of information out there, it's overwhelming. There's also a lack of qualified help (high school guidance counselors are outnumbered 460:1 and they are only able to spend about 23 percent of their time on college). One thing HR leaders don't always understand (or want to admit) is that their employees are often doing college research on company time, when they should be focusing on work.

A stress-reducer and a productivity booster

These facts often comes as both a surprise and an "ah-ha" moment for employers. Once HR leaders understand how stressed out their employees are, they want to learn how to support them from a work/life perspective. These organizations typically have other life-stage services for people with young children or elder relatives.

College Coach is a natural bridge for important employees with college-bound children. College Coach brings together a highly-skilled team of people who used to work at colleges around the country. These people used to read applications and essays, they interviewed applicants who came to visit, and they made admissions decisions. These are also the people who extended or denied financial assistance based on federal and college policies. These are now the experts who work for College Coach and share their insider knowledge and expertise with employees and their families to reduce the stress and demystify the process.

Time saved by employees is money saved for employers

This saves families hours of exhaustive research time by giving them the right information quickly and efficiently and by guiding them through the whole process. In fact, for every hour spent with College Coach, employees report saving more than 4 hours of doing research on their own (in 2012, College Coach saved employees 314,000 hours in the aggregate).  Employees respond positively and emotionally, which in turn increases their productivity and loyalty.

It is also a valuable recruitment tool. "I actually had a competing offer when I took the role at Biogen and the College Coach benefit was a big consideration ; I have an 8th grader and I recognize I am going to need help soon. Knowing there is a Biogen Idec resource available eases some of my anxiety! The other employer didn't offer anything like it."

Emotional well-being is a critical part of any wellness strategy, and it's impossible not to notice when your employees are happy, engaged, and able to help their children's dreams come true.