The Benefits of Employee Continuing Education Programs for Businesses and How to Start Your Own

Providing support for continuing education shows employees that companies see their value. This, in turn, effectively improves employee retention, which helps reduce expenses caused by employee turnover.

It has already been established here at Training magazine that continuing education can boost an employee’s career in several ways. On the surface, it may seem like these extra courses and certifications only solely benefit employees. However, continuing education is also a great investment for employers and businesses.

 Some narrow-minded employers may feel that supporting an employee’s desire to go back to school is fruitless. To them, a job or company position already provides all the necessary training, and that extra education is just a waste of money. Fortunately, many other companies see the value of continuing education, as this can spur the growth of businesses in various aspects.

Performance Improvement
The main reason an employee would desire extra education is to improve his or her skills. In an ever-evolving business landscape where new technologies are introduced frequently, it pays for current employees to learn the new ropes of these emerging technological advancements. Instead of hiring new employees, companies can send their workers to training programs to close the gap on the skills they lack. 

As an example, Forbes shares that startup company Trilogy Education partners with universities to hold coding boot camps. Trilogy customizes its course offerings on each campus by studying the requirements of local businesses for people with particular tech skills. CEO Dan Sommer said that more than 2,000 of its graduates have already landed good jobs.

Employee Retention
Another misconception about employee training programs common among many managers is that employees will only take their newly acquired skills to another company. Although this fear is natural, in reality, data show the effect is the opposite. Providing support for continuing education shows employees that companies see their value. This, in turn, effectively improves employee retention, which helps reduce expenses caused by employee turnover. 

This benefit is especially pronounced for companies that operate in industries with high turnover. Inc Magazine says Amazon is a unique example of this. In a bold move, Amazon revealed that it prepays the tuition fees for certificates and degrees in high-demand jobs that aren’t necessarily related to Amazon’s industry. It indirectly means the company pays its workers to pursue other careers. This is because Amazon values and understands employees’ desire to keep learning and growing.

Finding the Right Partners
Fortunately for companies, they can access a variety of affordable training courses, both online and from physical attendance in colleges and universities. Because of these many options, it’s now common to see adults returning to school. Statistics from Maryville University reveal that more than 38 percent of undergraduates are older than 25, while 58 percent of students work while enrolled in college. With these figures, employers should feel comfortable about sending their workers to earn extra certificates. It is only a question of what type of program will best benefit the employees, as well as the company. It also depends on what sort of skills employees need to develop. Should employees take online courses or should they be sent to actual classrooms? You should have a chat with your employees beforehand to understand what they desire to improve.

Creating the Right Culture
For training programs to be successful, companies first should take the pulse of their staff. Managers should be able to foster a culture where everyone understands the value of training and development. Going too far in one direction may have an undesired effect on your employees, making them feel like they are forced into something they don’t like. It’s best to ease your employees into your training programs and give them time to realize these investments are good for them.

Jenny Burrows is a career consultant with more than six years of experience. She travels the country and guides people who are looking to take their career to the next level. She believes nobody should find themselves stuck in a rut, and hopes her meetings and articles help people see the different paths they can take.