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Many businesses have chosen to provide educational assistance opportunities to their staff in order to improve their workforce capabilities while also increasing their engagement and longevity within an organization. According to Held (30), more employers are more likely to provide tuition payment assistance to full-time salaried staff and hourly jobs than to part-time employees. This point was founded on survey findings of prevalent tuition aid, qualifications, assistance, and service limitations. Companies have come up with various provisions to ensure that they offer tuition reimbursement assistance while monitoring the benefits of the employee to the firm. In this, the firm fails to pay for the entire cost of the tuition by setting a maximum amount of contribution and also stipulates the existence of a close relationship between the programs of study being reimbursed and the work of the employees.
Importance of offering tuition benefits
There is the need of offering tuition benefits to their employees to ensure they meet their personal goals. This is a great impact of this to a firm for it get an assurance of having a pool of trained and qualified staffs who have a positive impact on the firm. Firms also leverage the human capital which is an effort in ensuring that human resource shines and becomes competitive to enhance the overall performance of the firm. Ryan, (72) explains that with the dramatic economic changes, continuing education is important as it improves the lives of people as well as ensuring value creation to the organization and the society as a whole and it is an important strategy to invest in human resource function. Furthermore, the employer provided tuition assistance can bolster the studies in business and technology which are key fields in the global economy that shall expand competitiveness in the coming decades. Additional schooling and learning lead to more advanced and diverse knowledge which can enable an individual to perform the job duties better. Also, the benefits offered to maintain the employee satisfaction, keep workers current concerning the evolving skills and attracting better future talent.
To what extent should firms offer tuition benefits to their employees?
Many firms have challenges onto the extent into which they should offer tuition remission benefits to their employees. Should the benefits be offered to the employees only or should it also be extended to their dependants? According to Jackson (67), a high percentage of university and colleges offer tuition remission benefits to both their employees and dependents. Venessa (72) proposed that firms should include payment of employee’s kid’s tuition to the policy of tuition assistance benefit as a financial support towards making higher education more affordable to all categories of families in the world. A survey carried by society for human resource management in the United States of America indicated that only the schools and universities provide tuition, but most of the companies do not do so. But what should be done is that employers should offer tuition assistance to their employees who ensure that they meet their personal goals. This will also ensure that these organizations have a pool of trained and qualified staffs who make the contribution to the success of these businesses.
Barriers towards efficient delivery of educational benefits
Firms offering this benefit see it as a challenge and they are considering revising this policy as a way to balance the perk of the employee with financial and budgetary constraints of the challenging economic environment. Held (18) pointed out several barriers towards efficient delivery of the educational benefits to the employees which include high cost, the lack of applicability of job duties and the staff interest, little or no management support, short-tenured employee population and the negative return on investment.
Ways of overcoming these barriers
If firms want to ensure that there is the provision of productive tuition assistance, there is the need for them to adjust such remitting a different percentage of the tuition, adding minimum course grade for the reimbursement and ensure that it is job-related. For an organization to overcome these barriers, Cherry (P36) suggested that there should be effective communication whereby the tuition assistance programs can be communicated to the employees via their handbooks are during their orientation, and also they should be listed on specific sections of the company’s website or the intranet. Also one of the best ways of ensuring that there is a smooth process for student employee and the chosen learning institution is through the circulation of a copy of the benefits policy, description, and claim forms. Additionally, there should be an implementation of a tuition remission policy which should necessitate the use of more resources which can improve fulfillment of the benefit commitment.
Other companies have been seen adopting severe changes as a strategy to enable them takes control of the policy through eliminating free tuition to the relatives of the employees. Other companies have taken a step further of burning tuition benefits to their employee so that they can meet their budgetary constraints. These measures may be detrimental to the overall performance of the workforce due to decreased motivation and loyalty which results from such benefits.
Revisions being carried out by the firms on tuition benefits offered to the employees should focus on the benefits accrued from those tuitions rather than denying the employees these benefits. The employers should rather look for better ways of improving the benefits as a way to show that they value their employees despite the cost of these tuition benefits. In bolstering this strategy, it is important to carry out research on most appropriate and best practices that can be incorporated into the plan the plan and review the implemented changes so as to overcome the challenges and barriers that deter proper utilization of tuition assistance and educational benefits.
When it comes to the effective departmental planning of the tuition fee assistance programs in various companies, employers ought to come up with policy understandable to all people as a way to make it relevant and worth. This can be done through ensuring that there is ample availability of collateral materials to those employees who are young who may not be aware of expense account reimbursement, insurance claims, and the financial forms. Additionally, there is the need to spread the benefits for a longer period as a way of motivating employees to finish their degree on time and add value to the organization by applying the new skills learned to the job duties. More to this, there is the need to adjust time frame for the remission policy and matching it with the dates of the workers which can help in the proper use of the financial support which is provided by the company. (Dressner, P46), argued that, for the company to handle the issue of tuition reimbursement humanely and equitably, it is important to include payoffs to aid flexibility in the current market dynamics. Also, it is important to request employees to share what they have they have learned to a group of co-workers and encourage the spread of the educational benefits of such investment.
Tuition assistance benefits to the employees are important. There should be no limitation of the course that any employee should take and furthermore, direct supervision approval on the length of service should be minimized so as to accelerate access to education from accredited institution. However, more research ought to be carried out so as to evaluate this benefit and its weight value as a retention and recruitment tool against the overall cost of the company. This is to ensure that the firms are not running away from this responsibility due to its negative attributes but rather embrace it to foster more advanced and diverse knowledge of their employees (Hilliard, P98).
Cherry, T.. Rejuvenating Tuition Reimbursement Programs. HR Magazine, (2014): 59(6), 78.
Dressner, H. R. TUITION REFUND PLANS. Journal Of Educational Sociology, (1952): 25(5), 270-274.
Held, J. benefit trends. Benefits Magazine, (2015): 52(11), 8-9.
Hilliard, T., Schimke, K., Bowles, J., & Center for an Urban Future, N. N. Working to Learn, Learning to Work: Unlocking the Potential of New York's Adult College Students (2007).
Jackson, N. M. Rethinking TUITION REMISSION. University Business, 19(10), (2016): 61-63.
RYAN, J. T. Tuition assistance: A popular - but uncertain - employee perk. Central Penn Business Journal, (2012): 28(43), 17-18.
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