Do you need to be a major player to offer further education to your employees? Siona Singletary doesn't believe so. Here's what her company, EI Group, has done.
Taking the initiative to support further education for your employees is a powerful employee retention tool. Many large corporations across Australia including KPMG, Apple and Dell are realising the transformative potential that such an opportunity can hold.
But what if you’re not a supersized multi-national corporation? Is it still possible to compete in the major leagues if you’re an SME? I couldn’t be sure, so two weeks ago, EI introduced its very own Education & Postgraduate Assistance Program, proving that even small to medium sized businesses can provide such support for formal education and long-term benefits to their employees.
Under this program, employees are encouraged to pursue further formal educational options including postgraduate and masters diplomas in a field relating to their current job role that will also support their future career path by adding to their list of qualifications.
We offer the program to two employees per semester and the management team is responsible for picking which two applicants will benefit the most from the particular course they would like to enroll in.
EI then offers to subsidise some of the total course fees and also provides study leave to facilitate attendance of classes and exams.
As you can see, this strategy is a possibility for SMEs and the benefits are clear.
Why are we doing this? (And why should you do this?)
Attracting new employees – A company that provides their employees with a positive workplace culture and meaningful benefits such as personal training sessions, first aid training programs, healthy food initiatives and EAPs will always look more attractive than a workplace only offering a higher salary.
Retaining employees- Providing employees with assistance when it comes to identifying future career paths and providing the opportunity to pursue the relevant qualifications and skills needed is a display of support. This works in favour of creating loyalty and trust, inevitably helping to retain employees.
Developing talent – Helping employees to discover their talents through challenges which enhance their personal and professional growth is a positive move, and talent management is crucial to any business. Offering leadership opportunities and development as well as external training courses will guide, train and engage the top talent in your workplace. Offering employees the chance to undertake formal tertiary education is one of the best learning and development programs they could participate in.
Rewarding talent – Employees who are given the chance to participate in an EAP are subsequently acknowledged as having potential, with goals and dreams to aspire to. By providing those employees with financial support and study leave you will be rewarding their commitment to learning and to your business.
About the author
Siona Singletary is Social Media & Content Executive at EI Group