10/28/17 By Jennifer Brown

Over 50% of companies today offer some type of education assistance. And it’s not too hard to see why – employees that participate in their company’s education assistance program are more likely to be promoted and stay long-term (contrary to the fear that employees will jump ship as soon as they complete their courses or get their degree/certificate).

Smaller companies may shy away from offering an education assistance program thinking they can’t compete with larger companies. Don’t let that misconception fool you. Large or small, offering this type of employee benefit says a lot about you as an employer. It shows you have a growth mindset and really care about your employees. The key is designing a program that fits your company’s needs and budget just right. To get started, think about the following:

Determine the goal of your program
What do you want your program to accomplish? The goal of an education assistance policy can vary from company to company. Perhaps you want to boost retention or employee engagement. Or maybe you are looking to grow leaders of tomorrow from the inside. Whatever your goal, take time thinking on this one – it will serve as your foundation.

How much to invest
You don’t have to break the bank to have a successful program. Consider offering short-term and/or long-term options for employees. For example, setting a modest budget for attending professional conferences, seminars, or skills training is a great way to keep costs down while at the same time increasing the skills and knowledge of your workforce. Require employees to share what they learned with their teammates (great knowledge share opportunity!). For long-term benefits such as college level courses/degrees, a larger investment is often warranted – average tuition reimbursement ranges from $2,500 (undergraduate) to $5,000 (graduate).

Tie your program to your talent management strategy
Don’t let your program become a stand-along benefit. Weave it into every aspect of your talent management strategy. Collect data on your program’s effectiveness – Are you achieving the goal of your program? What short and long-term impact is your program making to the bottom line? To the culture? To your reputation as an employer of choice?

Supporting the professional development of your workforce has numerous benefits for the here and now as well as down the road. When you design a program that supports your company’s talent strategy and business objectives, you will not be disappointed. What are you waiting for?

Need assistance designing an education assistance program that works for your organization? Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615. We work with our clients every day to design and deliver programs that support the growth of their employees and organization. Let us do the same for you.