Schooling Your Employee

Education is often rendered the backbone of any great business and individual. While many people enter the workforce with a fair amount of expertise in a specific field, it’s favorable to expand knowledge in other facets to stay ahead of the curve and especially incoming applicants. Often, the cost of continued education can overshadow the benefits, creating a financial dilemma. One way for a small business to combat this issue is to provide employees with gratuitous training programs and all together relieve the monetary burden. Though this type of employee benefit can seem uncertain for most small business owners, statistics show that 61 percent of respondents who were offered training or mentoring indicated they were very likely to remain with their current employer for the next five years or more. Therefore, employers who adopt a strong learning environment can likely reap the rewards from a better educated, and often times more satisfied, staff.

As with any company benefit, a continued education program requires careful foresight and benefit outlining. Creating an intuitive program that clearly rewards a staff member with desired behavior is best, which is why many businesses choose tuition reimbursement. The first step when considering a tuition reimbursement offer is to examine which type of classes to give the employee the option of: vocational, technical or professional. Requiring an employee to choose from an array of classes that is related to their current job or career path is preferred, however not always the case. There may also be extra costs aside from the class itself, such as books, course fees, and mileage expenses, which are supplementary costs that a business may also choose to pay for. Some classes may be more expensive than others depending on the complexity, in which case not all of the charges can be reimbursed, though a company should keep in mind that the less an employee has to pay, the higher the morale. Another option to consider when

providing tuition reimbursement is to cover costs based on final grades (ie. an A would equivalent to 100 percent compensation, a B would equal 80 percent, and so on). These can all be very difficult and time-consuming questions to review when moving forward with this type of program; consulting with an accountant is recommended to abide by the law and get the most deduction benefits.
An alternate option to the traditional classroom environment is online training; e-learning helps people retain knowledge 25-60 percent better than other methods. Packages can usually be bought and offered to everyone in the office for a low price. However, like all learning tools, an employee should be made aware that their participation will benefit them immediately. In addition, the course length should not be overwhelming as studies have proven that brief training intervals improves effectiveness. Web-based training is also a great way to collect analytics on each person who takes the test and measure results and goals.
Spending the extra time and money to build a quality staff education program can reap the benefits in the long run as it will instill knowledge into employees. Any small business owner should consider implementing one of these options in the future and may just have potential job seekers vying to join a growing business with meaningful employee assistance.