Businesses of all sizes can appreciate the benefits of offering continuing education to employees. The reasons are many, but it basically boils down to this: You can end up with a happy and motivated staff that is deeply invested in your company.
And according to the faculty at Sacred Heart University, the students who are the most successful after returning to school are those who have the full support of their employer. They feel an extra drive to get the most out of their classes in order to show their appreciation for the chance they get to further their professional development. This motivation is mutually beneficial for both employee and employer.
Employees who receive continued education, at your expense, can bring more to your table — creativity, skills, and money — and are likely to stay with you for the long haul. Here’s the breakdown of the three main benefits.
1. Business Benefits of Continuing Education
Employee benefits, aside from health insurance, are considered “icing on the cake” for many job candidates. Paid vacations, sick days, and federal holidays all have their place too — as well as creative job perks like summer half-day Fridays. It is continuing education, however, that can set your business apart as being progressive.
If you invest in a well-trained workforce, you are better positioned to increase productivity and employee satisfaction. An American Management Association (AMA) survey of 352 HR executives confirmed that certain enhancement issues were of top importance to employees and improved retention. “Investing in employees’ future is more important than immediate compensation,” said Eric Rolfe Greenberg, AMA’s director of management studies.
2. It May Be Tax Deductible
Under certain conditions, tuition reimbursement can be a tax write-off for a business. The most common type of continuing education benefit offered by employers is a tuition reimbursement program. Forbes contributor Luke Landes suggests, “When the employer agrees to pay for its employees’ education, it is making an investment in those employees. The degree should help the employee “perform better in some capacity. In many cases, that would mean either driving more revenue or reducing more expenses.”
Create a plan before setting up this type of program. First, consider what type of education you will reimburse — whether it will be technical, professional, or vocational. For example, many employers require classes be related to the employee’s current or future career path within the company. This should be clearly spelled out beforehand.
Next, determine the exact expenses that will be paid. Will you pay strictly tuition, or will your continuing education program include books, other related fees, or specific types of training? Will you pay for the entire course, or part of it? What happens if an employee performs poorly? Some employers develop a sliding reimbursement scale based on performance, paying more money for better results.
3. Your Workforce Educates Itself, Becoming More Valuable Assets
It’s one thing to pay for classes; it’s another to be truly supportive of employees who are taking advantage of your program. For example, you may need to offer a flexible schedule, or even telecommuting, for employees to take part in your program.
Remember: A carefully planned continuing education program can result in a more skilled workforce — bringing more to your business and your bottom line. Consider it an investment in your company, not just in a person, and reap the rewards.