3 Ways to Set Up a Corporate Education Program That Attracts and Retains Top Talent

Today’s job market is a competitive one, and the lack of a strong corporate education system can lead to stagnation within a company and challenges with employee retention. This is often cited as one of the top reasons high performers quit their jobs. A lack of growth leads to feelings of boredom and restlessness, and before you know it, your employees are looking for greener pastures.

A related issue is the lack of relevant job skills in European markets. According to a 2014 McKinsey investigation, “27% [of employers] reported that they have left a vacancy open in the past year because they could not find anyone with the right skills. One-third said the lack of skills is causing major business problems, in the form of cost, quality, or time.” However, according to the same study, youth unemployment is up to three times above the general unemployment rate.

The surest way to combat both problems quickly and efficiently is to make sure provide employees with options for continuous growth, whether it’s your top talent or you hire youth with strong potential and provide training to prepare them for their new roles. Here are some methods you can implement to provide solid education for your employees.

1. Set Up a Digital Library

A digital library provides resources for employees to learn about topics related to their position and interests. The immediate benefits of setting up an e-library include:

  • A learning program your talent can participate in at their own pace
  • Faster and more convenient learning compared to a traditional classroom setting
  • More individualized Cloud learning for each employee’s needs

Another great result of a company digital library is that while the company is providing the necessary resources for education, the ultimate responsibility for learning falls on the employees, as do the benefits. This provides plenty of incentive for employees to improve their skillset and make progress in the workplace.

To ensure employees take advantage of the library, some companies present every new employee with a tablet to aid their learning, or start employee book clubs to provide a more social space to share key learnings with each other.

2. Offer Corporate Tuition Assistance

Corporate tuition assistance has existed since the 1970s, but recently the emphasis on providing financial incentives has seen a resurgence in popularity, particularly in the United States. In fact, a survey of American companies conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 83% of companies surveyed offered some sort of tuition assistance.

In 2015, healthcare giants Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield both announced free tuition programs for their employees studying at Southern New Hampshire University’s College for America. While covering 100% of the tuition may not be financially effective for every company, there are various ways to help out with tuition for employee education.

Here are some other examples of programs in place:

  • Starbucks offers tuition reimbursement for the online degree program at Arizona State University
  • Chipotle offers 90% tuition and fees reimbursement, up to a maximum of $5250 a year
  • Citigroup offers a four-week microfinance project in Kenya for younger employees

3. Create a Culture of Learning

Regardless of where your company is headquartered, libraries and tuition assistance are great, but may not go far if their potential if the company culture is not in place to accommodate them.

As HR consultant Josh Bersin demonstrates, corporations can reach higher outputs of learning and maintain a culture of constant learning and innovation by integrating education into the system as a whole, rather than making it an incidental perk for attracting employees.

It benefits a company to have everyone engaged in learning activities, from newer employees to management. This may be either alone or in a group setting, depending on the organization’s and individual’s needs. To ensure everyone is fully engaged in learning, make sure you are offering opportunities that are applicable to their daily work, such as language training. This can both help them progress in their careers and also lead to landing business for your company in new markets.

Takeaways

Underestimating the value of talent education can lead to higher turnover rates, while setting up a simple training system will not only retain current employees, but attract motivated talent. In 2015, EdAssist found that 60% of its survey respondents preferred jobs with potential for professional development over those with regular pay raises, while 72% felt that traditional schooling did not prepare them for the workforce.

For a corporate employer, the combination of a company library for self-learning along with tuition reimbursement and educational opportunities can go a long way towards keeping top talent motivated and trained. This will result in low turnover rates and an attractive corporate culture that will have top hiring prospects flocking to your company.

Interested in learning more about managing top talent? Read our white paper on “Managing Top Talent — A Call for Better Communications.” If you’re ready to start attracting top talent today, we recommend language training.

Photo: Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

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About the Author:

Armin is Founder and President of Speexx, the world’s leading online language learning and business communication skills training service. He writes and occasionally speaks about learning languages online and the secret of the Perfect Blend and global talent management, Speexx, e-learning and generally believes in the power of communication. Follow Armin on Twitter and LinkedIn.