The job of a CHRO hasn’t ever been as daunting as in the past two years. Among others the war for talent remains the number one challenge that organizations are dealing with, leading to CHROs continuously reinventing their hiring strategies. According to the latest report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, even though the number of job openings has decreased the number of voluntary separations or quits hasn’t changed much indicating that it’s still a candidates market. To circumvent the dearth of talent, many organizations are rethinking their hiring process, focusing less on hard skills, and recruiting lifelong learners. This is beneficial in any field where job skills are trainable; some examples include Cybersecurity, Tech skills, Management skills, and Banking. To this end, Education benefits help organizations mesh the element of learning into the benefits portfolio to recruit and retain top talent. Moreover, organizations use these benefits to engage and nurture their existing workforce which enhances employee wellbeing.
A growing belief among HR professionals is that prioritizing, upskilling, and reskilling internal talent is the key to tiding the wave of Great Resignation and Great Reshuffle. To support this, contemporary data from the Conference Board Survey indicates that Professional Development and Learning Opportunities can be pegged as the top Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2022.
In addition, the Gartner survey indicated that the number one priority for more than 550 HR leaders would be to develop critical skills and competencies in 2022.
Education benefits or Strategic HR benefits like Tuition Reimbursement, Student Loan Assistance, Scholarships, and Academic Advising are no longer ‘nice to haves’, but act as vital tools that attract, nurture, and retain a high-performing workforce, and are very much tied to employee wellbeing and the DE&I strategy.
If your organizational focus is on learning, the following insights on Tuition Reimbursement and Academic Advising would be most beneficial to you.
Tuition reimbursement or assistance is a benefit where an employer pays a fixed amount towards continuing education credits, obtaining certifications, or college coursework that leads toward a degree for the employee. Most companies have a cap of $5250, which is a tax-free limit for both the employer and employee. Tuition reimbursement can partially fund an undergraduate or graduate degree program. These programs are directed toward the employees who want to go back to school for career advancement, to develop advanced skills, or to better their industry knowledge. Additionally, these benefits may also cover job-related professional development courses or specific skill-building classes. Recently, there is an increased demand for this benefit to cover short-term courses such as certifications or certificates to bridge the skill gaps that don’t necessarily need a degree.
Now let’s talk about the financial wellness and DE&I element of this benefit. The cherry on top of the cake is third-party specialized HR benefits providers like Edcor who can help secure zero out-of-pocket expense programs in collaboration with their partner schools – what is also popularly known as Debt-free degrees. These are designed such that the school scholarships or grants cover tuition over and above the employer contribution of $5250+. Most of them have a deferral agreement in place or a direct bill option resulting in no out-of-pocket costs for the employees! This has a direct effect on women and the diversity group since it removes a major barrier to going back to school – enhancing the financial wellness of employees and the inclusivity quotient of the brand.
No wonder Tuition Reimbursement is the most widely used Education benefit as it significantly reduces training and hiring costs due to internal mobility of the talent pool, along with building a leadership pipeline resulting in a high ROI. They also lead to highly motivated and engaged employees who spend time and efforts on career growth within the organization furthering the workforce productivity metrics.
Time and again you must have read about low utilization of education programs, the number one demotivation being learner success. Adult learners are unique in their needs of not requiring coaching and mentoring per se, but a deep authentic relationship where the advisors are invested, from day one, in their success guiding them through the shortest route for course completion. It is learner success that translates to skill transfers back to the job and overall bottom-line improvements for organizations, making it imperative for organizations to add Academic advising as an extension to their educational benefits portfolio.
Academic advising targets the core elements of a learner’s success: right from choosing a suitable school, credits building, credits transfers, setting academic goals based on career interests, developing an academic plan, to staying on track to achieve those academic goals. The significance of Academic advising is compounded for working adult learners who don’t have the bandwidth to navigate through heaps of information while balancing the act between their personal and professional lives. Advising makes students better consumers – rather than signing up with the school down the road or the school with the biggest marketing budget – students can make the best choice for their careers. Advising also helps employees to stretch their tuition assistance or out-of-pocket dollars further. Students leveraging their employer-sponsored tuition assistance benefits have a 90 percent success rate when these benefits are combined with Academic advising.
At Edcor, we are passionate about education and believe that it opens doors that one didn’t know existed. So, contact us if you are thinking about providing Education benefits to your employees in the most effective way.
By Spardha Khera, Edcor
Edcor is a woman-owned business and is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For 40+ years, our customized service and solutions have allowed Fortune 500 Clients to use education benefits programs for employee recruiting, retention, and development. Please feel free to reach out to us!
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