Retaining Employees with Employer Tuition Reimbursement

In today’s world of low unemployment and recruiting headaches, employers need to use all of the tools in their tool belt to attract and retain the best talent.  Consider how hard it is to find good applicants for some of the positions that you might be looking for.  What if you were able to grow some of your high potential employees into higher-level positions where you have a need?  Those employees would appreciate the help, have greater loyalty, and be more engaged than other employees are. 

An employer can provide employees with up to $5,250 in education assistance as a tax-free benefit each year – check with your tax preparer for specific advice.  For example, a secretary could work toward becoming an accountant, or a medical assistant could work toward being a nurse.  If you can’t find enough employees out on the market, maybe you have to ‘grow your own’.   Employees want a career and growth opportunities.  By providing assistance in pulling themselves up the ladder, you could gain employees that are more committed and you could position yourself as an employer of choice in your market.  Wouldn’t it be great if the applicants came looking for you instead of the other way around? 

Some employers worry about spending the money and then having the employee leave.  You could have an agreement where the employee has to pay back some of the tuition if they leave within a certain number of years, just be careful not create a contract where you are obligated to keep (or pay) the employee for those years. Contact your legal counsel for advice on creating those agreements or better yet, consider it a cost of doing business and a benefit that you provide to your most valuable assets.

” The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

Henry Ford