Continuing Education Incentives Help Engage and Retain Employees

Investing in ongoing training and development for employees is more than just a good idea; it could be critical to a business’ ongoing success. The rate of technological and business practice change dictates that workers at all levels must have access to continuing education to remain relevant and be able to perform their work proficiently. Also, employees are more engaged when continuing education incentives are offered, to help them progress on their career path, rise within a company and achieve both more responsibility and higher earnings.

EMPLOYERS Across Ontario Benefit from Incentivising Staff Education

According to Statistics Canada’s Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy, a quarter of firms said that lack of skills is a significant obstacle to innovation. The Canadian Council on Learning suggests, “As part of an excellence agenda for skills and higher education in Canada, employers need to take more responsibility for the training that, ultimately, produces great benefits for them. All stakeholders should take action to reduce the barriers faced by Canadians who would benefit from skills development opportunities.”

As a business owner, executive or manager, you probably understand this. Are you acting on your knowledge? Does your company presently offer incentives to employees for continuing education? With a significant percentage of workers approaching retirement age (that great population bulge we know as baby boomers) you may have difficulty sourcing experienced replacements, either from within the company or from outside. Planning for succession means offering the necessary training, and why not look within your business for capable, ambitious people who are eager to step up?

Even if you aren’t expecting to fill a substantial number of positions due to retirement, you probably see the benefit of keeping your present workforce. Studies show that offering continuing education incentives will engage workers and improve employee retention.

If you haven’t already established a continuing education program within your business, it may be time to reach out to the post secondary institutions in Ontario that offer classes that align with your training requirements. You may be experiencing a surge of technological advancements in your industry that demand new training for workers in artificial intelligence or robotics. Perhaps you require education options for D or C-level executives to learn new tools and strategies so they can excel in decision-making, organizational learning and change management.

EMPLOYEES Across Ontario Can Deliver Better Performance with Access to Ongoing Learning

For workers at all levels, if you want to advance your career, making yourself more valuable to your company through continuing education is clearly a smart strategy. Ask your HR manager, or if you work for a smaller company, your supervisor, manager or boss, if they offer any incentives for continuing education. Even if they do not have an established program, you may be able to persuade them if you can demonstrate how the course you wish to attend will improve your performance. They are likely to be amenable to supporting your further education, especially since studies have proven that higher education leads to increased productivity.

Many companies offer tuition reimbursement, usually to employees that have been with the company for at least a year. You may need to inquire about your company’s continuing education program to learn the details such as:
• Must the classes be job related?
• How many classes will the company reimburse tuition for each term?
• Do you need to achieve a specific grade to qualify for reimbursement?
• What percentage of tuition fees are eligible for reimbursement?
• Will you receive paid time off to attend classes?
• What are the limits of classes or semesters in which you may participate?
• Will these benefits or bursaries be offered to you for a postgraduate education?

In short, regardless of your present level of education and position in your company, continuing education is not simply a ‘nice’ option. In today’s rapidly evolving, knowledge driven culture, lifelong learning is a necessity. It’s time to get back to class!