Education can take employees away from immediate job duties; however, corporations are quickly realizing the value of helping their employees acquire more and specialized knowledge. By helping employees earn their GEDs, learn to speak English or a foreign language, learn a specific skill, or get a master's degree, companies are demonstrating an increasing awareness of the benefits of more education.
One form of education that is fairly easy to introduce into a unit or organization is a seminar. You may begin by dedicating one staff meeting a month to educating your staff on a specific topic. For example, Angie wants to help her online magazine staff understand the qualities of a successful Web publication. Although all her employees have journalism backgrounds, only one has previous Internet experience. Angie decides to hold a regular Thursday staff meeting to concentrate on helping her staff to think in terms of the Web. Each Thursday, Angie gives a presentation about a specific successful online publication. She uses an overhead monitor to give examples about what works on specific sites and also gives examples of absolute flops. She also engages her staff by asking them to rate the sites and to think about how some successful principles could be incorporated into their own site. From time to time Angie invites guest speakers who are experts in the field to talk to her staff. As a result, Angie's staff are very aware of what plays well on the Internet and are also extremely interested in their work now that they have detailed knowledge of the myriad options available to them.
Some larger companies now house their own education departments. These in-house programs usually concentrate on topics relating to how business is done at the company. For example, at Angie's company, classes may range from basic HTML to how to use common Windows applications to how to conduct effective interviews. The wider the opportunity for taking classes in the workplace, the more contented the workforce. Employees can point to the solid transferable skills they've acquired in the workplace, even if they have no intention of leaving.
Plain English : Transferable skills are skills learned at one workplace that would be beneficial for gaining employment elsewhere. For example, HTML is the most commonly used language for putting content on sites on the World Wide Web. A skill such as using HTML, which is not proprietary to one company, is a transferable skill.
Another program gaining popularity in today's workplace is education reimbursement. Companies set up programs that pay for an employee's higher education tuition if their field of study is deemed work-related. Often the individual is required to make a certain grade-point average to be eligible for the reimbursement. If you work in a large company, check with your human resources department to find out whether your company participates in a tuition-reimbursement plan. If you work in a smaller setting, perhaps raise the idea of starting a partial reimbursement program.