Companies are beginning to recognize that their value rests largely on the quality of their workforce. Do their leaders have the skills and knowledge to remain agile in an ever-changing environment? Do they find fulfillment in their daily work? Do they feel supported in terms of their career goals? Companies also understand that they need to position themselves as organizations of learning in order to stay current, respected in their industries and appeal to a multi-generational workforce.
One of the most direct tools we can use to achieve these objectives is to offer tuition assistance as a benefit to our employees.
Research from the 2018 Tuition Assistance State of the Industry Survey conducted by Capella and HCM has shown that tuition assistance program availability could assist organizations in reducing costs, recruiting, and retaining high-performing employees, increasing productivity or boosting employee engagement. By investing in tuition assistance programs, companies are also able to attract accomplished leaders to add to the pool of talent they are already developing within their organization.
Growth relies on trained professionals
Companies must remain flexible in a shifting marketplace. Digital disruption, organizational resizing, advances in technology — these challenges and more can create apprehension among management teams. In order to navigate them, organizations rely on their employees to be agile and drive positive outcomes. Employees themselves must have the education and training required to adapt.
At Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), we've made concerted efforts to create pathways for our employees to grow their skills and competencies. Among those that have had a positive impact on our employees is our tuition assistance program. Through it, we are able to provide full- and part-time employees the ability to obtain advanced degrees that match their job responsibilities. Education helps prepare them for the changes inherent to a modern workplace as the concepts they learn in their coursework can be directly applied to daily responsibilities. In turn, these proficiencies add to the overall success of their teams, departments, and our organization.
We want our employees to be fulfilled
We can measure a company's success by how much meaning its employees derive from their work. Which is why we support our employees through a variety of initiatives, including internal training, learning experience platforms, classes, webinars, and more. Among those that have had the greatest impact on overall job satisfaction is our tuition assistance benefit.
We've also found that a predictor of employee fulfillment is how much they feel they are learning on the job. This is particularly true of millennials who tend to seek additional training and the career path flexibility that can come with it.
It's an outdated notion that professionals can get a single degree and then rely on it over the course their career. The current trend is to continually learn and increase capabilities to evolve in their career accordingly. This is why we've made tuition assistance a priority. Depending on the program and the funding we make available to them, it’s possible for some employees to earn a degree with almost zero cost to them, which represents a true win-win for us and for our team members. Our commitment to their career goals is key.
A learning culture
All organizations need to evolve in order to flourish in a dynamic marketplace. This means not only responding to changes in technology and culture, but also branding themselves as centers of learning. This distinction creates a sense of adaptability to the marketplace, which will be crucial over the next decade.
In order to position their company as a center of learning, HR professionals will need to support the educational goals of their company. Their leadership can do this through a variety of programs, including university partnerships, certifications, training, and tuition assistance.
To rephrase this idea: which company are you more likely to collaborate with? The one that looks to innovate through getting its employees the highest level of education possible, or the one that hasn't made it a priority
Growth, strategy, and skills
As a member of Capella University's School of Business and Technology Advisory Board, I've seen firsthand how higher education that's informed by industry insights can have a significant impact on the employment market. Using corporate strategies to transform education programs and granting your employees access to them can be critical for a company’s ability to expand.
Through encouraging growth in current and potential employees, organizations have the opportunity to grow in kind. It's a systemic approach that begins with placing a high value on their personnel's capabilities, skills, and education.