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Employer-Assisted Housing savings program helps Marriott win Best Place to Work award

“If you take care of your associates, they will take care of your customers, and they [customers] will come back,” said Jo Rasmussen, director of HR operations, Marriott Global Reservations & Customer Care.

Marriott Reservations Center in Omaha, Neb., partners with the United Way to offer financial education and a matched savings program to help employees achieve homeownership. Started in 2004, the program has assisted seven employees stabilize their personal financial situation and purchase homes. Marriott credits the program as one of the key initiatives that led to recognition as the 2008 #1 Best Place to Work in Omaha for Large Companies. This award resulted in a significant increase in employee applicants, helping the company hire top workers and reduce turnover.

Estimating a cost of $4,000 to hire and completely train each new reservation sales associate, the 22 percent decrease in turnover (or about 110 associates who did not have to be hired and trained) resulted in a savings of more than $400,000 on an initial investment of $10,000.  “Even if 100% of that decrease in turnover is not due to the IDA (Individual Development Account) program, we think 2.5% of $440,000 is a good investment and we certainly got a great return on it,” said Ms. Rasmussen. She added, “We have seen it make a difference in our employees.”

Visit www.reachillinois.org for more information about employer-assisted housing, or for assistance designing the right program for your organization, contact Samantha DeKoven at 312.863.6021.

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