Human Capital Empowerment and Talent Development
We believe in a just and inclusive, values-based, mission-led culture that inspires commitment and drives performance. Our human capital strategy is focused on the attraction, development, empowerment, recognition, and rewarding of team members as they bring our mission to life.
We strive to create a diverse culture of inclusion and an environment that encourages and reinforces mutual trust, makes it safe to express thoughts, ideas and concerns, and connects and embraces diverse backgrounds and perspectives to power and fuel our mission. We believe such a diverse and inclusive workforce can lead to a more effective company.
We are focused on providing a total compensation package that enables us to attract, motivate, and retain our employees to help drive our business forward. Our benefits package includes company contributions to the 401(k) plan, educational assistance to our team members and their dependents, flexible work arrangements, and other comprehensive health and welfare programs. We also believe in paying competitive market wages, which is why we established $20/hour as our minimum starting rate for all positions in 2021.
As of December 31, 2022, we had approximately 1,700 team members, all located in the United States. We believe an engaged workforce leads to a more innovative, productive, and profitable company. For this reason, we measure employee engagement through culture surveys. These culture surveys provide insights we use to create an environment in which team members thrive and bring their full selves to work.
Ensuring the safety and well-being of our team members continued to be a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, we enacted a robust business continuity plan, including remote working capabilities for all team members. We further adapted to the changing environment in 2021, and now offer remote, in-office, and hybrid options so our team may work in a manner best suited for them and their positions. We continue to provide team members with the tools and resources necessary to support their success and drive performance of the Company.
Our team members are involved in the communities in which they live and work through the Sallie Mae Employee Volunteer Program and the Sallie Mae Employee Matching Gift Program. In 2022, our team members volunteered 1,928 hours of their time through our community engagement programs. We also provide matching gifts for team members to support the interests and needs of them and their communities.
Sallie Mae’s Board of Directors, executive leaders, team members, and business partners are committed to operating under sound principles of corporate governance. We believe maintaining high standards of accountability and transparency are fundamental for the long-term success of our business. Our corporate governance structure ensures robust Board and management responsibility, responsiveness to our stockholders, and responsible decision-making. Our overarching code of conduct, corporate governance policies, Board committee charters, certificate of incorporation, and By-Laws form the framework of governance at Sallie Mae. Since the formation of the Company, we have attracted and built a strong, qualified, and diverse Board of Directors whose members have expertise relevant to our business and are deeply committed to operating ethically and with integrity. Eleven members of the Board are independent directors, including Ms. Franke, the first woman to serve as Board Chair in the Company’s history.
Our current policy on political activities is publicly available on our website at www.salliemae.com/investors/corporate-governance/ and sets forth the principles regarding our stance on political activities. We comply with federal, state, and local lobbying registration and disclosure requirements. We work closely with the Nominations and Governance Committee to review and assess our existing policies, procedures, and decision-making approaches to government relations and political activities.
At this time, we have one long-term, experienced employee engaged in lobbying activities exclusively related to matters that directly or indirectly affect the Private Education Loan (as hereinafter defined) industry and our mission. The compensation of the employee, and other executives, for time attributed to lobbying activity is reported as lobbying expenditure. That employee manages external, bipartisan lobbying/consulting firms that assist with the same objectives, and we report the lobbying-related expenditures made to external firms in our lobbying disclosures. Our involvement with industry associations is limited to those associations comprised of financial institutions with similar interests.
22 SLM CORPORATION