Help Employees and the Company Thrive by Supporting Continuing Education

helping employees with continuing education

Encouraging employees to continue their education can increase your company’s profits, improve productivity and create more committed employees. Spending around $680 on education and training per employee returns an annual investment of around 6 percent, according to a study from the Association for Talent Development. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed by helping them choose the best options for their education. Here’s how to get started.

Create an employee action plan
Before talking with employees about their education goals, determine what type of support the company will offer. Consider implementing a tuition reimbursement program, paying for books or supporting specific degrees or areas of interest. Businesses that can’t afford a tuition reimbursement program but still want to support their employees’ education can offer a flexible schedule for classes and study time.

Next, sit down with your employees individually and figure out an education action plan that benefits both the company and them. Ask your employee to draft up a proposal of what type of courses or degrees would benefit their career and how they expect it to fold into their day-to-day responsibilities while helping them grow professionally. Create guidelines for how time away from work will be handled and whether employees must pay back fees if they stop taking classes.

Recommend continuing education classes
Most universities and community colleges offer continuing education classes for adults. Instead of committing to a full degree with classes your employees may not really need, your staff can simply focus on one interest and skill. Some colleges offer a certificate of completion of a specific area of expertise like business management, copywriting for the Web or paralegal classes. Continuing education institutions also offer online learning, flexible scheduling and accelerated courses to accommodate the needs of working adults.

Send employees to a seminar or conference
Employees may need an in-depth look at a professional area like business management, finance or software testing. A seminar or conference can expose your staff to new industry trends and insights without committing to an entire course or degree. There are conferences and seminars in almost every industry that provide valuable education.  Look for one near you.

Support an advanced degree
An additional degree could help your employees move up within your company and into more competitive positions, and it bring new skills and knowledge to your company — but it also requires a more extensive and costly time commitment. Some universities offer fast-tracked degrees you can earn in just a year. The downside is a more intense learning environment and commitment along with a more expensive price tag. Look at the role and potential new position of your employee and how an MBA, executive MBA or other degree would actually benefit the company. Discuss what the company needs and how the employee can leverage the degree to bring more to the table in the workplace.

Create a stronger staff
Not all employees need professional courses and academic structure to advance their careers and boost your company’s profits. Instead, address any weak spots of your staff like public speaking or entertaining clients and look for workshops that help address it. A few hours on a Saturday could turn an insecure employee into a more confident and well-spoken team member. Hire an expert to come to your business and train multiple employees in an area like improving productivity.  I personally recommend Dale Carnegie Training; they offer an array of professional development classes.