Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer living in Glendale, AZ with her husband and daughters. She writes on small businesses, personal finance and travel.

Sarah Brooks has written 27 articles for SB Informer.
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Are You Educating Your Employees Enough?

Sarah Brooks

December 20, 2013

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Large businesses know that offering continued education to employees is a great recruitment tactic.

Studies show that those who continue learning about their field, whether it's sales or technology, are more successful at their job. Because of the many online programs that schools are now offering, small businesses are able to offer their employees continued education, as well.


Pros of offering continuing education

Studies show that employees that are offered the option of continuing their education are more likely to stay with that company long-term.

Knowing how much to pay for, or reimburse, can be a challenge.

If your small business is doing particularly well, and has been for many years, you may want to consider offering full tuition reimbursement. It can be for specific courses or programs, or for whatever program the employee wants to take.

The choice is yours. Other options include reimbursing only for classes that are passed, reimbursing just a portion of the class or perhaps offering a bonus or salary increase once the program is completed.

Though it may seem like a huge financial expense to offer tuition reimbursement to employees, studies show that it will increase employee productivity and decrease company expenses.

If your employees are working harder with better productivity, your customer satisfaction will go up and your amount of waste will go down. This greatly affects your company's bottom line - for the better.


For smaller companies where cost is the main issue, consider reimbursing for specific developmental classes instead of entire programs.

You can attend workshops, seminars or other educational events to make sure your employees are continuing to learn and grow in their field.

Another advantage is that the IRS states that companies can deduct up to $5,250 per employee per year as a business expense if they're providing educational assistance.


Cons of offering continuing education

Other than the expense, the main disadvantage of offering employees continued education is they may move on to a bigger company that can offer them more.

Some companies with educational assistance programs have a rule in place where the employee must work for X amount of years at that company upon completion of program.

Hospitals, for example, are known for partnering up with schools and paying for students' tuition, with the agreement of having those students work for them for a specified amount of time once they graduate.

Another disadvantage is the worker's productivity may decrease for the time that they're in school.

Between driving to and from work and school, attending classes (even online) and keeping up with schoolwork, the employee may start to feel drained. You may want to consider reducing the employee's hours for the time being or letting him or her work from home a few days a week.

Remember, though, this is only temporary and studies do show that the worker will be more productive and better equipped for the job once they're finished with school.


Other financial options for your employees

If paying for the entire degree or course just isn't something you as a business owner can afford right now, learn about the different forms of paying for school - including grants, online learning financial aid and scholarships.

Your employees will be more likely to return to school, even if you're not reimbursing everything, if you help them see their options as far as paying for difference. Try to make it as easy on the employees as possible.


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