- Discover employees can earn a bachelor's degree online in a new tuition-free benefit, the company announced. The Discover College Commitment program pays for tuition, books, fees and supplies for online degrees from Wilmington University, the University of Florida (via UF Online) and Brandman University. Employees may start studying at any time, including their first day at work, and take as long as they need to complete their coursework.
- Other education programs Discover offers are the Education Assistance Program, a tuition reimbursement program for all degree levels at any accredited institution of higher learning; a leadership development program offering a bachelor's degree; an on-site MBA program from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management; and a professional development program offering a range of courses.
- Discover's new program also offers employees academic counseling through Guild Education and helps them find an academic program suitable to their educational and professional development. Nearly 90% of the financial service's employees without a post-secondary degree work in its customer care centers.
Employees, millennials in particular, place a high value on development and will even leave their current employer for another that offers career growth, various studies show. But according to a new Gartner survey, four in 10 employees said their managers aren't helping them acquire the skills they need to perform their jobs. HR leaders can get behind managers to see that professional growth becomes part of their organizations' culture.
With the exorbitant cost of college, free educational programs can keep workers engaged and onboard longer than they might otherwise be — a tactic the retail industry has recently taken to heart to try and combat retention issues. Companies in retail, especially, realized that employees won't stay on forever, and have instead opted to re-brand as a stop on employees' paths to success. Many young workers start their careers mired in college debt, so programs that can help ameliorate that risk tend to be appealing.
Companies that invest in employee education show they value employees' contributions. Jon Kaplan, Discover's vice president of training and development, summed up the reason employers make such an investment: “Investing in our employees and their futures will not only make us a stronger company, but have a lasting positive impact on those who might otherwise never get the chance to attend college.”