Employee engagement and motivation are continually on the radar of business managers and owners. These issues also relate to employees’ highly personal goals and individual lives. They impact businesses productivity and profitability and influence employees’ job choices and work performance.
A Gallup report on employee engagement report shows that 18 percent of people are actively disengaged in their work and 67 percent are not engaged. This global cost of this lack of engagement is approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity. The 67 percent are the majority of the workforce. These are employees who simply show up to work and do their jobs. The report states, “They are not your worst performers, but they are indifferent to your organization. They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. They likely come to work wanting to make a difference --- but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.”
Change that makes an organization better can happen when business leaders give their employees opportunities to use their strengths. University of San Diego professor Susan Fowler says, “Nobody wants to be bored or disengaged. People appreciate meaningful challenges. They want to contribute, feel fulfilled and grow and learn every day. No matter what their situation, their basic nature is the desire to thrive.”
A tuition assistance program is one of the best ways to help workers thrive and develop employee engagement. It is an opportunity for workers to develop the three needs that Fowler says people need to thrive at work: autonomy, relatedness, and competence.
A tuition assistance program that helps workers complete or continue their higher education develops people’s autonomy – to see that they have choices. Workers choose to take action, to advance their knowledge and skills. Tuition assistance can also help workers feel more autonomy regarding their jobs opportunities. Growth opportunities are extremely important to millennials who are a major part of the workforce. Gallup’s report How Millennials Want to Work and Live says that 59 percent of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them.
Tuition assistance programs also satisfy people’s need for relatedness to thrive in the workplace. People need to relate, to feel connected to others and feel that they are contributing to something greater than themselves. These feelings directly build employee engagement. A tuition assistance program that gives workers a sense of where they fit into the overall company picture, and how their education will help them and the company flourish, is an avenue for building engagement. Aligning education goals, career goals and company goals develops workers’ connection to their jobs, motivates worker and increases employee engagement.
Developing competence is the third need Fowler says will help people thrive at work. Workers will thrive and be engaged when they feel competent and effective at meeting their everyday challenges. In an ever-changing workplace workers need tuition assistance programs that will create a sense that they can grow and increase their skills. The opportunity to demonstrate their skill growth and development will increase employee engagement and raise motivation. The SABA 2017 State of Employee Engagement Survey shows that when workers have access to education they are more connected to their jobs and engagement is higher. “Perhaps the biggest lesson learned from our 2017 State of Employee Engagement Survey is that in today’s modern world of work, employee demand for continuous professional development, accelerated career growth, and “always on” engagement is only getting stronger.”