How to Make Employee Education Benefits Inclusive

94 percent of employees think they would stay with a firm longer if it invested in their learning, according to LinkedIn’s 2019 Workforce Learning Report. That is a significant figure. Employee retention is critical at a time when unemployment is at an all-time low. How can firms engage in employee development to boost employee retention, according to the LinkedIn report? We may divide learning programmes into two categories: internal and external.

Technical training, management and leadership development, mentorship, and other internal programmes are examples. These are programmes that are frequently designed and/or implemented by firm employees or contractors.

Then there are employee educational incentives, which I would classify as external because the subject and delivery location are frequently chosen by the employee. Student debt repayment schemes, which we’ve discussed before, and tuition reimbursement, which I’d want to focus on today, are two of the most frequent educational advantages.

Employee Education Benefits: Four Key Elements
Let’s spend a few minutes talking about programme design before we get into the intricacies of tuition reimbursement schemes. When it comes to creating any form of benefit, there are four crucial aspects to keep in mind. This is especially true when it comes to employee education perks.

Alignment with talent objectives is the first element. Employee perks should assist the company in attracting, engaging, and retaining top personnel. Benefits do not have to be costly to do this. They must be items that are valuable to employees and that they desire.

ELEMENT #2 — Candidate and staff communication. They make a link between programme performance and regular, aggressive marketing of employee education benefits in the Bright Horizons State of Education Benefits report. Organizations must understand that merely mentioning a perk during an interview or during new employee onboarding is not enough.

ELEMENT #3 – Strategic Partner Relationships Many employee perks are based on collaborations with third parties. Consider health and life insurance, gym memberships, meals and snacks, and so on. We’re talking about both education providers like schools and universities and third-party benefits administrators when it comes to tuition reimbursement.

ELEMENT #4 – Appealing and open to everybody. I’ll admit that I kept this one for last, and I’m going to take a little extra time with it since I feel it’s the one that employers face the most difficulty with. Inclusion is what makes employee education benefits successful, and the best way to be inclusive is to use them. According to Bright Horizons, typical tuition reimbursement programmes are used by around 5% of employees across all industries.

When unemployment rates aren’t at record lows, firms may find a 5 percent utilisation rate to be a useful statistic, in my opinion. However, given the skills gap and staff retention issues that firms face today, it may be time to reconsider.

Creating or documenting a benefit does not make it successful. One may argue that a benefit that isn’t used doesn’t exist at all. When employees use it, it becomes more effective and inclusive.

Now I understand that an education advantage will not be used to its full potential. However, if companies want to realise the benefits of an education perk, they must use it more frequently. Return to the LinkedIn figure I provided at the start of this essay. If the advantages of education are connected to employee retention, then more involvement should result in increased retention.

6 Ways to Benefit from a More Inclusive Education System
If your company doesn’t currently have a tuition reimbursement programme, now is an excellent time to start thinking about one. If you already have one, now is a good opportunity to review it to make sure it’s something that all of your staff would be interested in and able to use. Here are six things to think about:

Name of the programme. I realise I’ve used the term tuition reimbursement several times in this post, but it’s time for a change. It’s probable that the term tuition is used interchangeably with the term “college.” And education encompasses a lot more than that. Perhaps a better term for the benefit is “education help.”

Eligibility. According to Bright Horizons data, 74 percent of companies only compensate full-time employees for tuition. Companies desire to keep both full-time and part-time staff when it comes to employee retention. Particularly in sectors with a big front-line workforce, where part-time workers frequently transition to full-time jobs.

There will be a waiting time. In the Bright Horizons study, I was (pleasantly!) shocked to see that almost 40% of companies do not restrict employees to wait a certain amount of time before they may use tuition reimbursement. However, many organisations fall within this category. Companies must assess the financial cost of delaying benefit access against the benefits they will lose out on.

Models of finance Employees may be hesitant to participate if they are required to pay for their education in advance and then wait for reimbursement. Particularly in industries with a big number of entry-level employees. Companies could consider collaborating with their programme administrator to give direct payments to education providers, eliminating the need for employees to pay up front.

Education. What I mean by education is if the employee’s sole purpose is to obtain a college diploma relevant to his or her current work. General education certificates (GEDs), language courses, certifications and/or credentials, as well as degrees in disciplines that are beneficial to the firm but are not directly relevant to an employee’s present career path, might all be considered.

Models of delivery Individuals may now study from virtually anywhere thanks to modern technologies. And, with many new creative high-quality education alternatives, the quality of online education has substantially increased. Allowing massive open online courses (aka MOOCs), solely online universities, or even non-university online education providers like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to be included in educational aid programmes is something that organisations should examine.

Retain talent by utilising employee educational benefits.
Despite all of the news about the growing expense of education, some emerging education providers that specialise on adult learners may deliver a wonderful learning experience at a fraction of the cost of traditional classroom-based education.

Learning may be a powerful tool for attracting, engaging, and retaining top personnel. Employee educational perks are a technique to encourage and facilitate learning. Those initiatives, however, must cater to the requirements of all employees, not just a select few.