This is the last of three guest posts written by Mollie Lombardi, Co-Founder and CEO of Aptitude Research Partners. Mollie has surveyed and interviewed thousands of organizations to understand how human capital management technology is enabling organizational success by improving efficiency, effectiveness and employee engagement.
There is much conversation these days about pay equity, and while I agree that pay equity is exceptionally important, there is also something that I refer to as opportunity equity.
Not everyone has the same opportunities when it comes to availability of educational resources, not to mention the availability of economic resources to fund education. One of the ways in which employers can help to level this playing field and make themselves attractive to a wider variety of talent is to offer education assistance to help them hire, as well as retain, those looking for a way out of student loan debt, or seeking to work while completing an education.
Education Assistance: A Key Part of Organizational Culture
While education assistance is by no means the only important factor when it comes to improving quality of hire, it is indicative of an organization that is focused on development as a key part of its organizational culture. Organizations that maintain this kind of focus do achieve differentiated business results.
When participants in Aptitude Research Partners’ recent culture study were asked to rate the year-over-year change in quality of hire metrics, organizations that offered both tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment were 63% more likely to say they had improved quality of people they were hiring. These organizations are also three times more likely to indicate that their Glassdoor ratings had improved.
Setting the Tone for an Inclusive and Supportive Culture
When it comes to hiring, organizations continue to face a fierce battle for top talent. At the same time, they are looking to ensure that they have a deep bench of growing talent, as well as a diverse and representative workforce. According to the study, 52% of organizations say they have specific programs in place to recruit diversity candidates, and 48% say the same for college hires. About a third of these organizations however don’t continue to focus on these groups with ongoing development or retention programs.
By both offering education assistance benefits, as well as by making sure people are aware that the programs exist and how to use them, organizations can not only attract, but keep and develop a broader workforce. The total package compensating employees, which includes the benefits to which they have access, has a big impact on the organizational culture. And, the platform on which employers have to communicate is ever-expanding in the age of social media. By showing a commitment to ongoing staff development, organizations set the tone not only for learning and development, but for a culture that is inclusive and supportive of individuals.
Using Every Available Tool
It is also important to remember that engagement, development, and motivation are deeply personal. Organizations would do well to not only ensure that they have programs in place addressing education assistance, but also to make sure people are able to take advantage of them with easy access to information that will help them make the most of these benefits. This is more important than ever, as half of respondents say they are deeply concerned about turnover among top performers, and 45% say turnover is impacting their ability to serve customers.
Using every tool available to get and keep the talent needed is essential. And if you already have education assistance programs in place, make sure you are using them to their full potential, and measuring their business impact.
Mollie’s previous guest blogs: