Continuing education can be advantageous for both your employees and your organization in a number of ways. Once you have selected a method that works best for everyone, how do you implement such a program that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved?
- Determine Educational Needs – Talk with your employees to determine what their educational needs and wants are. Would on-the-job training be sufficient or would a small group of employees benefit from being sent to a workshop or seminar? Does one position require a particular certification? Do your employees want to develop their skills further?
- Create an Outline – Map out what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. This plan may include an introductory vision/goal of what you hope to achieve for your company and your employees, a budget for training, the methods of continuing education, and guidelines for employee attendance/completion and recertification.
- Develop a Policy – Playing off of your initial continuing education plan, creating a policy to provide and communicate to your employees is critical. Particularly for continuing education programs in which a significant amount of money is invested in the education of the employee (e.g., college coursework), a clear policy is vital in ensuring that you both reap the benefits.
- Be Fair and Consistent – Make certain that when implementing this type of policy, you provide every employee with the opportunity to develop their skills (within reason and as pertinent to the job and functions performed). There are always opportunities for ongoing growth and development and while this may look different for each individual, work with your employees to find the best fit for them.
Encouraging and supporting professional development in the workplace is a proven way to boost morale and engagement. Get creative. Investing in your employees leads to higher levels of productivity, retention, and feelings of appreciation which in turn lead to loyal, long-term employees.