Maybe your organization has a tuition reimbursement program that lets employees take courses that advance their knowledge and their career. Or if not, you may have the latitude to subsidize employee continuing education or outside training on a case-by-case basis.
Either way, what you want is an employee who will come back to you wiser and more capable. What you DON’T want is an employee furthering his or her knowledge at your expense in order to build a resume and go somewhere else.
Keeping some control
Obviously there are things you can do to prevent the latter outcome, like obligate the employee to stay with you for a certain amount of time after the course(s), on pain of having to repay you the tuition costs.
But you can also ask focused questions that will help you be sure the training is both worthwhile, and relevant to the person’s role with your organization.
According to Peter DeVries, COO of continuing education software provider Destiny Solutions, the following questions will help you assess whether you should pay for the course(s) or not:
- “How will this training affect your current projects or role?”
- “Is this training part of a larger learning goal (i.e. a certification or degree)?”
- “Can you describe how you researched this course or education provider to demonstrate that the content is useful and cost effective?”
- “Are you willing to present to your peers a summary of the key learning outcomes from this training?”
DeVries says that if the training or courses are properly focused, the organization reaps two benefits:
1) The training allows work experience to be partnered with best practices or formal methodology. It allows the employee to match up what they are doing with what; perhaps, they should be doing based on a specific body of knowledge.
2) The employee returns to work and presents one of three outcomes:
- “Watch what I learned how to do”
- “I’ve validated how we are doing things”
- “We need to change what we are doing”
So by all means, support employees’ desires for continuing education and training. But make sure it will benefit your organization, too, and for some time to come.
To read more of Peter DeVries’ thoughts on tuition reimbursement, visit his article on The EvoLLLution.
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