This employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer finds that tuition assistance is one of the best employee retention tools you can find…particularly for your high potential employees. Yet, so many employers are reluctant to offer it because, “it costs too much.” Really? Do these same people not calculate what the cost of employee turnover is? I guess not. I remember fighting this battle with senior level VP’s when I was an HR Manager. They used to look at the cost of tuition and NEVER look at the cost of employee turnover. This employee retention author is amazed that every company does not offer tuition assistance as a benefit to its employees.
Who normally will want to take additional classes? Those people that are inquisitive, want to grow, progress and advance. Those are the exact same people that the organization should want to keep. The argument that “if I give them the education, they will use it to better themselves and leave” is so stupid as to be beyond my imagination. If you don’t offer it, they will find a smart organization that will offer it. Either way they are gone! The real key is to require a payback. If you quit within a certain period of time, you have to pay the money back. This can be a real “hook” to keep people. With the cost of tuition, nobody wants to get stuck paying that money back. I have seen it work time and time again.
Unlike other benefits, tuition assistance has a payback because people will generally use the knowledge they acquire on the job…if you let them. Assuming they have some good ideas, the company will improve productivity, quality, generate ideas that create cost savings, etc. Tuition assistance is a drop in the bucket even if a person comes up with ONE cost saving idea. And again, we haven’t even factored in the cost savings due to employee retention.
Organizations need to do projections as to the cost of tuition assistance, the amount of time a person will have to stay and then determine how much it will improve their employee retention numbers. You can virtually predict the cost savings. We do models for everything under the sun, why not for reducing employee turnover by the implementation of tuition assistance?
It’s time for organizations to stop thinking this is 1970. There is a worker shortage and organizations need to proactively drive employee retention. Tuition assistance will do that. It’s time to stop saying, “it costs too much” and start saying we can’t afford to not offer tuition assistance.