In today’s business world, compensating workers with salary often isn’t enough to inspire long-term employment. And because the competitive landscape has only intensified over time, companies often have to offer increasingly better employee benefits. Of course, that’s not always a bad thing. After all, employers have a duty to meet employee needs. But there are some benefits that can equally help both workers and the organization. For example, continuing education reimbursement.
In short, this is when company leadership agrees to take on the cost for employees to continue learning and advancing. Sometimes, continuing education reimbursement applies to entire degree programs and other times simple one-off courses. But however it takes shape, this benefit simultaneously betters the individual and their overall contribution to the organization.
Here, we’ll discuss six reasons why you should consider offering continuing education reimbursement to your employees as part of your overall benefits program.
6 Reasons to Offer Continuing Education Reimbursement
1. Build a Stronger Workforce
The first and most obvious way continuing education reimbursement helps the organization is that it constitutes a direct investment into the workforce. Whatever abilities individuals develop through different educational programs in turn become available to the company. In other words, “You reap what you sow”.
If you prioritize professional development, those newfound skills can better the organization itself. However, if you leave education by the wayside, don’t be surprised when other organizations pick up the slack. After all, an informed workforce is an effective one. And because the business world changes quickly, having highly-skilled workers is essential to staying at the forefront.
2. Keep Up With Market Trends
Similar to a more informed workforce, continuing education reimbursement recognizes the importance of current market trends. Business is anything but static, and sometimes the economy can change with the snap of a finger. Ignorance of these changes spells disaster for companies, because they not only fail to adapt – they don’t realize they need to in the first place.
That’s why continued learning is essential not only for individual success but for organizational success as well. Since companies are composed of individuals, if they don’t understand current trends, the organization won’t either. However, there’s a much greater chance that individuals in a constant state of learning will recognize shifts and developments. And moreover, they’ll be well-equipped to handle those sorts of economic changes.
So, prioritizing continuing education and providing a way for employees to access it also establishes a line of communication that recognizes new trends.
3. Attract Top Talent
Sometimes, investing in continuing education for your workforce has impacts beyond your immediate, existing employees. Because advertising that sort of perk can also entice other talented individuals to your organization. Workers don’t want to go somewhere they know their skills will stagnate and stay the same. At least, that’s the case for most highly-skilled employees. Instead, creating a path forward for them to continue developing those abilities offers an attractive benefit to employment.
In a sense, continuing education reimbursement not only helps the current workforce gain necessary skills and abilities. It also helps grow the organization by bringing in individuals who already have a strong baseline knowledge and hope to advance. That way, your pool of potential candidates increases, as well as the important knowledge those candidates bring with them.
4. Demonstrate Interest in Individual Development
A large part of employee wellness and needs is ensuring each person feels valued by the organization as a whole. When workers feel like they’re simple cogs in a machine, they’re less likely to produce great results. In fact, this sort of mindset can lead to anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, and even depression – all of which negatively impact the person and organization. So, company leaders would do well to ensure an environment that makes individuals feel seen and valued.
Continuing education reimbursement acknowledges that each person has individual worth, and not only for what they currently bring to the table. But also for what they potentially could offer the company with the right training. Companies which don’t invest in this sort of growth might inadvertently signal that they don’t believe their workers are capable of those skills. So, this benefit goes a long way toward acknowledging the individual contributions every employee makes.
5. Creating a Positive Company Culture
Of course, this point and the previous one tie closely together. Because a positive company culture is what’s needed in order to demonstrate interest in individual development. So, in that sense, they can’t be separated. However, this facet of continuing education reimbursement is so important that it also deserved specific recognition.
Developing the sort of environment which supports workers rather than breaking them down is essential to overall success – especially for retention. In general, companies spend anywhere from $7,500 to $28,000 hiring and training a new worker. So, losing employees on a regular basis wastes a massive amount of organization funds. Furthermore, since workers are less likely to leave positions where the culture is strikingly positive, forming this sort of culture reduces turnover and needless spending.
Continuing education and personal development are aspects of a positive work culture that can keep employees with a company for longer. And since the tenure of an employee is typically around four years, this can make a major difference.
6. Inspire Employee Loyalty
Perhaps employee loyalty is the natural outcome of continuing education reimbursement and the other benefits listed. After all, that’s what companies should hope for when offering a benefit of this sort. In effect, the goal is to attract talented individuals who continue advancing in their knowledge and stick with the company for multiple decades. What is that if not employee loyalty?
Of course, continuing education can be expensive, and there’s no guarantee that employees will stick with the organization after the training is finished. However, refusing this sort of opportunity for workers can also end up being expensive. So, company leaders need to carefully consider their objectives and processes before deciding. But overall, it should be clear there are some great reasons to pay for employee education.
Where to Get Started with Continuing Education
There are plenty of great continuing education providers out there, from colleges and universities to small, online businesses. And there are plenty of benefits to each of those options. However, VTR Learning offers a different style of continuing education than many others.
Many of our courses rely on a narrative format to help learners work through situations that might arise in a real workplace. So, by acting the part of an intern at a fictional company, they gain valuable knowledge and see important functions play out firsthand.
If you’re looking to get started with continuing education, be sure to check out our full catalog of courses. We offer everything from accounting and business management to human resources, leadership and even foreign trade. That way, you can gain a wealth of knowledge on many different areas of interest.
Article written by Braden Norwood
Last updated August 8, 2023