It seems like every time you flick on the news, another company has announced a new and innovative employee education benefit. Yes, Starbucks, Disney, Home Depot, and Walmart all chip in to send their employees back to school.
Tuition and books do not come cheaply, so why would companies such as these be willing to absorb all or part of these hefty expenses? Simply put, the benefits of sending your employees back to school outweigh the costs.
Develop a Dream Team
Every business owner dreams of leading the best team in their industry to victory. And the best way to trample your competition is by equipping each player with the skills needed to be the best in the biz.
- Adaptability. Mastering new skills increases an employee’s confidence, better preparing them to embark on new projects, assume greater responsibilities, and adapt to new technologies and system changes. “Employee Training is Worth the Investment” adds that an employee who is competent in many areas will be “enormously helpful to you when setting schedules or filling in for absences.” Thanks to your well-rounded “cogs,” your business will be able to steam ahead at full speed.
- Customer Service. There is nothing more frustrating than standing in a lineup waiting to be served by a company representative that appears to lack the skills required to carry out the job. Wearing a puzzled expression, continuously referring to a more knowledgeable superior, or–Heaven forbid–exhibiting a lack of people skills can prove lethal to your customers’ satisfaction and, subsequently, your bottom line. A team of frontline personnel that has been well-educated in the art of customer service, however, will prove invaluable when battling your competition.
- Meet Demands. Sadly, too many companies are failing to provide their team members with the skills required to do their jobs adequately. And, in today’s dog-eat-dog economy, “adequate” is nowhere near enough. According to “Is it Time to Go Back to School?,” “55 percent of U.S. workers said ‘they are under pressure to develop additional skills to be successful in their current and future jobs,’ yet only 21 percent said they have acquired new skills through company-provided formal training.” Let’s hope these workers are employed by your competition.
Keep Your Dream Team
If you are fortunate enough to have the makings of a dream team, you will need to up your game in order to keep them on your roster. Educating your employees is a great way to foster a loyal team and attract new star players.
- Retain Your Team Members. When you invest in your employees, you are, in effect, telling them that you value them. This can work wonders in instilling a sense of loyalty in your workforce. In “Deliver Value to Your Employees: Your Most Important Stakeholders,” Paul Spiegelman, CEO of Beryl Companies, reminds employers that in order to motivate your staff to take a vested interest in your company’s future, they need to feel that the company takes an interest in theirs. And a great way to do this is by paying for school.
- Save Money. Advertising for, interviewing, and recruiting a new employee is not an inexpensive endeavor. When a disenfranchised team member quits, you not only lose your previous investment, but you must now spend more money to replace them. That’s why it is important to ensure that your employees are provided with the opportunities to master new skills and engage in professional development within your company and with your company’s support.
- Attract Stars. If you were a star player, would you want to play for the team with the tight purse strings or would you want to play for the one that is willing to invest in its players? By providing educational opportunities, you will be able to attract higher caliber team members. Why? “How Does Training Motivate Employees?” states that companies who offer training and education to their employees indicate that they value their people and the contribution they make, as well as progress–both in the organizational achievements as well as the careers of its people.”
If you want to lead your dream team to victory and leave your competition choking in your dust, you may want to seriously consider sending your employees back to school. Your loyal customers, your dedicated employees, and your bottom line will thank you. But your competition won’t.
What other benefits are associated with sending your employees to school?
This post was contributed by Kimberley Laws, a freelance writer, avid blogger, and Certified Career Counselor. You can follow her at The Embiggens Project.