Unless you have been living in a cave or buying other people’s misery on margin, you have probably noticed that money is a little hard to come by in the business world right now. In times like these, companies begin cutting any costs they possibly can. At Verteego, for instance, we have switched from phones and internet to a complex system of messenger pigeons for communication. It is low cost and low carbon–a win-win. Strangely, we have not heard anything back from any of the messages we have sent to North America.
There are many programs/departments/activities that organizations can choose to cut to save costs. It makes sense that they would want to cut those that are not integral to their immediate operations and that have the lowest return on investment (ROI). Investing in your employees’ education is one of those things that has difficult-to-measure returns, so it is usually one of the first costs to be dropped in times when money is tight in the business world. The costs of employee education do seem high when we think about it: the employer has to pay for seminars, classes, conferences, and transportation, not to mention the time lost while the employees are at these educational programs.
But the returns are great in the long run. The workplace becomes more efficient–educated employees are more productive, capable, and willing to take on responsibility. More educated employees need less supervision, and they demand less of their superiors’ time, which makes everyone more productive.
Employees appreciate being invested in, and many consider the education opportunities when choosing a place to work. Employees who feel the company is investing in their long term development are more likely to stay with a company, which increases employee retention and reduces time and money costs associated with training new employees. Sometimes, employees can make valuable contacts at conferences or seminars that may lead to business for the organization.
When all of these benefits are taken into account, the costs of employee education do not look so high anymore. Granted, the benefits are hard to measure, but in the long run the increased productivity and employee retention will reduce costs, increase revenues, and make your business more sustainable.
There are many different ways to invest in your employees’ education. Here are some of the more common methods and a couple creative ones:
- College courses
- In-house seminars
- Magazine subscription allowance (for magazines related to your business)
- Invite them to company meetings they would not otherwise attend
- Encourage them to talk to employees from other departments