As companies look for more ways to stay competitive, they turn to useful and unique employee benefits.
Anything that pairs saving employees money and helps to enrich their lives is a jackpot benefit. That's why providing continuing education benefits at work is such a solid idea.
In this article, we'll cover the different types of continuing education your employees might want and how to start a continuing ed benefits package.
Employee Benefits Spotlight: Professional Development and Continuing Ed
Prospective top-talent employees are on the lookout for companies that can feed a passion for learning. That's why offering continuing education and professional development courses is such a great way to stay competitive as an employer.
Read on to find 3 types of continuing education you could provide to your employees. Following that, you'll get 3 steps to get started.
3 Types of Continuing Education for Employees
There are three main categories of adult education. People tend to take classes for fun, for career enhancement, or because it's required for some aspect of their work. Let's take a look at these.
1. Required CEUs for Licensure
Some positions require regular upkeep of a certification, such as teachers, nurses, lawyers, or massage therapists.
This upkeep is given through acquiring a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) for a given time period. This ensures practitioners are up-do-date with the latest developments in their fields, as well as keeping the basics top-of-mind.
These kinds of CEUs can be collected by attending certain conferences, workshops, classes, and even through online education. The required number of CEUs varies for each professional and even on a state-by-state basis. But usually, students are able to collect course credits in a variety of topics acceptable in their field.
Why should employers pay for CEUs?
Companies in fields where CEUs are required for employees would do well to offer to cover the cost of the CEUs or at least provide partial coverage.
2. Career Advancement
Another type of continuing education is anything that would enhance or advance a career. While an employee may have a perfectly adequate education level for their job, they could make advancement easier with an additional certification or professional degree.
These types of continuing education experiences are often through online education, night school, community colleges, and local professional organizations. A professional educational course like this is made up of a set number of credits and classes, and a formal degree or certificate is earned through the process.
Why should employers pay for professional development?
A smarter, more engaged pool of employees is something most every employer wants. By helping workers advance their careers, companies can show they are invested in their employees, which can in turn earn employee loyalty.
Finally, there's the self-enrichment aspect of continuing education. This could be in the form of learning a new art like drawing or woodworking; practicing a language for fun or travel plans; or learning about the basics of starting a home garden.
Why should employers pay for hobby classes?
You may be wondering: if adult education classes aren't directly tied to a worker's productivity or aptitude, why should a company spend money on it?
The answer lies in employee happiness. There is a thriving world of personal growth courses and just-for-fun creative classes in any given metro area. And employees who know their job is paying for their class on beer-making or photography might be more willing to stick around.
How to Offer Continuing Education as an Employee Benefit
So now for the nitty gritty. How to go about offering continuing education to employees?
1. Determine Your Budget
The first thing you'll need to do is to determine how much the company will contribute to a continuing education fund.
Once you know how much each employee can use, you'll have an idea of the best way to use that money, whether it's subsidizing a portion of an employee's program, or paying for something completely.
2. Establish Payment Procedure
The simplest way to start is to providing a reimbursement for completed classes. When an employee turns in a receipt for their class, as well as proof of successful completion, the company can cut a reimbursement check.
After the program has been underway for awhile, consider other ways to organize payment. Perhaps the company can pay for a program outright, and if an employee doesn't finish the program (or gets a bad grade), they must reimburse the company.
3. Tie Learning to the Company
For an even more robust employee education program, consider a way of tying these classes to career advancement. Work with a local community college or professional organization to create a list of classes or certifications that align with your company's goals.
Finally, employees should bring their ideas they've learned back into the workplace -- whether it's how to make organic cleaning solutions at home, or how to be a Six Sigma Lean Leader.
A standing Lunch and Learn session where employees present to their team will build cohesiveness among your team, and give employees an opportunity to practice their presentation skills in a low-stakes environment.
Plus, since the company is paying for the courses, it only makes sense that you should do what you can to disseminate the information among as many workers as possible.