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Putting Your Employees Through Education

By: Jennie Kermode - Updated: 10 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Education Study Employee Staff Resources

If you want to improve the quality of your staff whilst maintaining the trusting relationships you've built up over the years, it may be time for you to consider the advantages of putting them through further education. Providing opportunities like this can improve employee loyalty and motivation, boost the reputation of your business, and help you make valuable contacts in locally based academic institutions.

Improve your Resources

When you educate your staff, you're improving the resources at your business' disposal. This is particularly useful if you work in an area where specialist knowledge is important, and many businesses can benefit from training employees in skills like marketing, accountancy and design. If you want to prepare a capable but unskilled employee for a senior role, you might consider courses in business or logistics.

Providing opportunities for education is particularly important if you work in an area where there is a steady influx of new technology, where it's important to maintain a suitable level of knowledge and skill to go with it. In any area involving technical work, employees undergoing education can bring back important news and information to help you stay at the cutting edge.

Improve Staff Prospects

Many employers worry that if they educate their employees they'll just go off and get better jobs. Certainly this happens sometimes, but usually only when those employees are underpaid and shown insufficient respect to begin with. Providing educational opportunities for your employees can do a lot to increase their loyalty, after all, why would they leave when you've shown a willingness to invest in them, especially if you've done so as a stepping stone towards offering them a more important role?

Because new academic qualifications will improve your staff's CVs, they won't need to leave your business in order to develop impressive career paths, and won't need to worry about having fewer employment opportunities in the future if they stay. They will also have no reason to take breaks from employment in order to study.

Educational Options and Finance

Putting employees through education doesn't have to mean giving them lots of time off work. If you choose a part time course, you may simply need to rearrange their hours, or they may be happy with the option of taking a full time course designed to fit into evenings and weekends. An increasing number of academic institutions offer these options.

Off-site study is also an option, and is provided by many ordinary colleges and universities as well as the Open University. Because this means that no time is wasted on travel, it can be easier for employees to combine with a busy working life.

Providing access to education can be expensive, but there are various ways in which you can recoup the money. Much of the cost can be written off against tax and, depending on where your business is based, you may be able to claim grants from your local council to help towards your costs.

Reaping the Rewards

Educating your staff offers many indirect rewards as well as the obvious ones. Besides making existing staff happy and improving their motivation, it will make ambitious and capable people eager to work from you, improving the talent pool available to you when you are ready to hire further employees.

Students tend to retain access to many academic facilities even after graduating, enabling them to provide help and advice to the business. They'll make useful contacts who can improve the quality of your business networks, and they'll spread good word of mouth about what you're doing for them. By helping your staff to study you can boost your reputation considerably and thus do a great deal to help yourself.

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