The Weekly Ledger No. 63: Providing Education Benefits to Employees

August 17, 2022 Theresa Rex

young man learning at work with computer and notebook after job started providing education benefits to employees

Welcome to The Ledger, where we sum up the latest finance and accounting news for you. On this week's entry, we're diving into one of the most overlooked — and in-demand — perks you can offer your team: reimbursing them for the education, upskilling and professional development experiences that interest them. We'll dive into why workers are increasingly seeking out education benefits, how employers can use them to attract and retain qualified talent, how to start providing education benefits to employees, and why turning lifetime learning into a core benefit can give you the cultural and competitive edge.

The Weekly Ledger providing education benefits to employees

Learning & Development Benefits are in Demand

Forget offering pool tables, nap rooms and kegs in the breakroom as part of your recruiting or retention strategy: today's skilled workers want to work for employers that support their career development. It turns out there's a lot more to the "Great Reshuffling" than a migratory shift toward remote work (though that's inarguably a huge part of it). Consider the 2022 labor zeitgeist: a fresh infusion of pragmatic Gen Z grads, inflation's growing impact on real wages and the overall post-pandemic reprioritization of what, exactly, makes work meaningful is changing the game entirely. At least, that's one way to describe a persistent talent shortage, growing skills gap and unprecedented attrition.

Luckily, solving the riddle of how to attract and retain skilled workers gets easier when workers themselves demystify it. The data is in, and after the standard benefits and compensation offerings like retirement contributions, health benefits and yep, remote work, employees cite coverage for online skill-development courses (66 percent) and tuition reimbursement (60 percent) as a deciding factor when it comes to staying put or pursuing new opportunities. Placing them ahead of free food and snacks, communal workspaces and even paid parental leave in some cases.

Looks like it's time to rethink total compensation, doesn't it? Learn more about what benefits to establish or promote to ensure workers choose you over a competitor with the full article at fortune.com.

5 Statistics that Make the Case for Covering Continuing Education

The pandemic seems to have made DIY'ers of us all, and that's part of what's driving the interest in L&D as an organization's differentiator. It turns out, people like to learn, and part of learning is discovering just how much you don't know. There are a lot of qualitative insights out there on why it makes sense to offer workers paid opportunities to explore their interests. Here are a few quantitative ones:

  • 59 percent: the percentage of employees that independently seek out development opportunities to improve their career prospects, according to a research from Google

  • 45 percent: the amount of companies that currently offer upskilling or education coverage as a benefit

  • 35 percent: the year-over-year increase in Google searches for online courses in management, data science and digital marketing

  • 46 percent: first-time short course takers who cite a desire to quickly learn a new skill for doing so

  • 200 percent: the amount of additional time employers offering L&D benefits retain employees over employers who don't.

Continuing education may evoke the image of night school, but that's no longer the reality. To learn more about what it looks like in 2022, read the full article on fastcompany.com.

Now is the Perfect Time to Invest in Learning and to Start Providing Education Benefits

It's clear that employees want (and get a lot from) employer-covered training and education opportunities. But how do leadership and the organizations themselves stand to benefit? A lot, it turns out, especially in the current climate.

First, it helps close the so-called "skills gap". According to recent research from Gartner, 58% of the workforce needs to upskill or reskill to be successful. Providing ways for employees to seek these opportunities out without ponying up personally or skewing work-life balance is a win-win.

Plus, it helps keep hybrid and remote workers engaged and invested in their work and maintain a connection to the workplace at a time when many fear they'll be passed over for promotions they might have otherwise been eligible for. Upskilling reinforces mutual commitment.

Learn more about why upskilling needs to be positioned and offered as a benefit as opposed to an afterthought — or worse, a mandate — and how to build a culture of collaborative learning when you read the full article on fastcompany.com.

8 Education Benefits to Consider Providing Your Employees

"Education benefits" is a pretty big umbrella, and whether you call it upskilling, reskilling, learning and development or career-building, offering them is a competitive differentiator. If your organization's current offering is lean or non-existent, here are eight of the most common to make a case for in leadership huddles:

  • Tuition reimbursement: cover postsecondary tuition for courses your employees enroll in from the date of hire.

  • In-house training/mentorship: formalize your processes for career pathing and advancement within your own organization.

  • Education workshops and conferences: send employees to conferences within their discipline — or across disciplines — for a change of scenery and fresh ideas.

  • Continuing education courses: Pay for one-off formal education courses or intensive fast-tracks to stay current in their careers

  • Licensing and exam reimbursement: if you require a certification that's attained or renewed through licensing exams, you should be paying for them anyway. But why limit your team to what's mandatory?

  • Personal development courses: mint new leaders, certify scrum masters and boost productivity for your team with massive open online course (MOOC) platform credentials.

  • 529 Savings plan contributions: help employees save for their own education or a family members' by offering employer match on contributions

  • Student loan repayment plans: attract younger workers and new grads with student loan repayment assistance

If you've yet to begin offering learning perks and education benefits, don't worry! The beginning is a great place for creating a day one L&D benefits strategy that works for your current team and is tailor-made to attract new candidates with the skills you're looking for. Its also an excellent opportunity to collaborate with the very people who can benefit most when you do roll yours out. Read more about the top education benefits employers offer at peoplekeep.com.

Discover how a solution designed for you by Personiv can help free up resources so you can invest in your team with an in-demand education benefit offering.

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