Tuition Assistance Builds Employee Engagement

There are more than 100 million full-time employees in the American workforce. According to the latest Gallup State of the American Workforce report, only 33 percent of those employees are engaged at work. These workers are enthusiastic, focused, team players and work for the good of the organization.

The report also says that 16 percent of people in the workforce are actively disengaged. We’ve all worked with those people. They have high absenteeism, miss deadlines, and are generally unhappy at work. Right in the middle is the majority of the workforce: 51 percent are not engaged, but they are also not destructively disengaged. They are just there. This is the group of workers who, under the right circumstances, could become engaged and improve the culture and profitability of a business.

The Gallup report says that one way to engage more employees is to create a culture of “purpose” rather than a culture of “paycheck.” A culture of purpose will focus on business growth and development. It will also focus on employee growth and development. Opportunities for employees to be part of business growth and development vision and opportunities for employees to engage in personal growth and development will reinforce enforce each other.

In a few years millennials will be the largest segment of the workforce. Millennials want their work to have purpose and meaning, and they also want opportunities to learn and develop. This presents an opportunity for a business to nurture employees and create a workforce that is educated, skilled and engaged. However, this isn’t always happening.

The Gallup report shows that most employees don’t feel they are getting feedback from leadership about their personal performance or about the vision of the company.
• Only 21 percent of employees say they are motivated to do outstanding work based on their performance feedback.
• Only 22 percent of employees agree that their business leadership has a clear direction for the company.
• Only 15 percent of employees strongly agree that their business leaders make them enthusiastic about the future.
• Only 13 percent of employees agree that their business leaders communicate effectively with all employees.

These employee perceptions lead to poor employee engagement. A clear focused plan to motivate employees and communicate the company direction can be a core principle of a tuition assistance plan. “The key to an organization’s growth has been and always will be its workforce,” the report states. A tuition assistance plan can align business growth and development with employee personal growth, to the benefit of all stakeholders. Businesses continually need educated and skilled workers to maintain and increase their position in the economy. Employees want opportunities to increase their education and skills for personal development.

A tuition assistance plan is vitally important for today’s businesses and workers. “The benefits and perks that employees truly care about are those that offer them greater flexibility, autonomy and the ability to lead a better life,” according to the State of the American Workforce. Nothing can achieve this better than a tuition assistance plan. As employees gain necessary skills for businesses, they grow professionally in ways that give them opportunities for greater success. These opportunities are so important to the upcoming majority of the workforce that 45 percent of millennials would change jobs to have tuition assistance, the report shows.

Employees who feel they are an important asset to the business and believe they can achieve personal growth and success are vital to business success. So is employee engagement. Tuition assistance will create both.