When putting together a benefits plan, a lot of employers think they have everything covered with the basics. While focusing on health care and retirement savings are definitely important, it’s unfortunately not enough.
The competitive landscape in many job markets demands that employers put together innovative benefits offerings that transcend the typical. When employers look at ancillary benefits, they often go for benefits that directly correlate with job convenience and performance—like commuter benefits or flexible schedules.
What can make a benefits package go from ordinary to extraordinary is thinking outside the box, including benefits that do not always have a direct correlation to the job, but ultimately lead to better employee performance.
One of those underrated benefits is employee education. Investing in your employees’ ongoing education can benefit your company in a multitude of ways:
Improved confidence and sense of purpose
If people are not consistently being stimulated to learn new things, they may experience burnout or no longer feel a sense of purpose in their careers. Inviting them to learn new things and expand their skillset keeps their current role exciting, while preparing them for growth in the future. Both of those things can boost confidence and restore a sense of purpose for anyone who has been in the same role for a long time.
Increase employee loyalty and decrease turnover
Not only will employees be happier in their role, they will have a better relationship with their workplace. People who feel a sense of purpose and pride in their work are more likely to remain loyal to their company and stay long-term. The number of cases of employee burnout tends to be much lower when employees are given the option to develop professionally and personally, which leads to decreased turnover.
Gain a competitive edge over other companies
Employee education doesn’t just benefit employees. Offering this benefit can give your company a competitive edge over other companies competing for top talent. As we said before, your benefits package must stand out from the status quo and not only address the things your employees need, but what they want as well. Offering employees the opportunity to continue their education at a reduced cost is a great way to stand out from other employers in your industry.
Types of employee education
If you are interested in offering this type of benefit, it’s important to understand the different ways you can do so. The two most common types are learning and development, and education reimbursement.
Learning and development
Learning and development typically takes place in the workplace. Although these programs aim to elevate abilities and expand skillsets, they are usually directly related to job functions. These can be in the form of training sessions, special projects, conferences, or anything else. These are a great opportunity to ask your employees where they want to develop their skillset—they will not only appreciate the opportunity, but will feel valued that you are investing in them.
Reimbursement for outside education
Another type of employee education is reimbursement for education that your employees pursue on their own. Employees can use these funds to complete certification courses, complete degrees, and pursue additional degrees. You can determine the amount that you reimburse your employees, but they can use that money towards any vocational or educational place of learning. Some organizations take a tiered approach, where they reimburse according to academic performance in the course.
Whichever approach your company takes, it is a step in the right direction for creating the best possible benefits experience for your employees.