Organizations which fail to empower their human resources through putting in place proper knowledge management policies fail to benefit optimally from the potential in their employees. Tuition reimbursement is the best form of employee empowerment. Introduction Business organizations more than ever before are faced with a great risk of high employee turnover. To keep employees contented and well motivated, the organization must be seen to be genuinely interested in employee career growth and development.
There is no better way to do this than tuition reimbursement study program for employees which enables employees to enroll for relevant courses as adult learners. The duty of companies in the whole program is the provision of financial help to meet the cost of education of the adult learners. The companies also contribute by providing adequate time for the employees. Tuition reimbursement programs are very important to an organization in a number of ways. Tuition reimbursement programs have been found to have a positive correlation with employee productivity (Kiser, 1999).
This implies an increase in the productivity capability of a company especially considering the fact that, employees who undergo the program attain new skills and are either able to perform more effectively, or could as well increase their output in that, they become able to use new technologies for instance IT based technologies in their tasks. Employees who have been through these programs are also capable off executing more complex tasks faster and more effectively than their counterparts who lack that additional knowledge.
Alternatively, the employees are more empowered to increase their performance in comparison with their past performances. According to (Kitano, & Morey, 1996) employee view tuition reimbursement programs as a sign of confidence and trust the company has in them, this in turn is reciprocated by their employees becoming more loyal and committed to their duties compared to the period before. To some employees, the effect of such supportive and empowerment program is so big that, they become more loyal, submissive and committed in their duties following such decisions by their employers to cater for their education needs (Keegan, 1994).
Employee tuition reimbursement programs have been found to indirectly contribute to the companies’ growth considering the fact that, the workers become more loyal, committed, skillful and effective as a result of the tuition reimbursement programs. Tuition reimbursement most likely leads to companies saving costs associated with the process of always having to always hire and train new employees as well as the time it takes for new recruits to settle upon being recruited.
The process of hiring new staff is both time consuming and capital intensive and therefore not cost effective therefore any effort which can counter this is welcome by companies as a lifeline. Tuition reimbursement programs are very good at this. The federal government encourages companies to offer tuition reimbursement by in turn giving tax benefits to those companies which offer such programs. Therefore, tuition reimbursement is in that way, an advantage to companies in that, they stand to save expenditure while at the same gaining from a more empowered workforce.
Tuition reimbursements are beneficial to employees who improve their worthiness through acquisition of more skills. In an increasingly competitive, market environment, employees stand better chances of getting promotions or jobs elsewhere if they posses more qualifications. Tuition reimbursement empowers employees and positions them strategically to compete in an increasingly competitive job market. Tuition reimbursement programs grants employees a chance to relive their unachieved dreams especially in terms of unattained academic qualifications.
This further improves the connection between employees and their employers, a bond which every company longs to have in the work place. According to (Greengard, 1999), tuition reimbursement achieves the desired learning in adult learners who are considered as pursuing academics with a clear focus especially considering the fact that, they can clearly link class theories and concepts with real life situations, this is what is the aim of any educational program.
Therefore, adult learning is very beneficial to adults and all the gains are likely to trickle down to the company once the adult learner has grasped the intended skills. Unlike beginners who do not have any practical experience on their job tasks, adult learners easily connect theories and apply such to difficult issues in the work place to accomplish difficult tasks which an employee who is fresh from college may find impossible to accomplish. Tuition reimbursement is not a perfect program and therefore it has its own downfalls and challenges.
First of all, adult learners are usually psychologically and unprepared for classroom teaching especially whereby they have to go back to colleges and study in integrated classes with young students. Some feel out of place and this can greatly affect their performance in the different courses they intend to pursue. This has been found to be a major set back in the tuition reimbursement program. The fact that, the tuition programs meet the tuition costs associated with learning leaves the adult learners with a financial burden to deal with.
Some of the adult are barely financially well up and the learning program may mess up their finances and therefore interfere with their normal lives. This can be a source of stress in some occasions something which can cause job related stress hence affect job performance. The tuition reimbursement programs may also become a source of frustration for employees who attend such courses with high ambitions and yet fail to realize such dreams even after attaining the academic credentials.
For instance, most employees enroll in such learning employees in a bid to gain promotions once they graduate, when ever their expectations are not met, this could prove a challenge for the employee and therefore lead the employee to be de-motivated or to leave the job altogether. Companies risk losing incase employees decide to search for better jobs after a lot has been spend on their training. This especially happens in situations whereby, employees are not genuinely interested in staying in their current jobs but see the learning opportunities as a chance to better their employment chances.
Other challenges of implementing such programs include, as improved expenditure and therefore loss of profits, loss of time, the risk of loosing the companies to better paying companies or competitors once the company has invested heavily on the training as well as the fact that, some employees never show any meaningful improvement job performance despite the company spending too much money in their training are nothing compared to the benefits resulting thereafter.
Conclusion In light of the above mentioned advantages of tuition reimbursement programs, there is a need for organizations to incorporate tuition reimbursement programs in their employee development plans. Companies need to view these programs as beneficial to them only if the companies are ready to utilize them. The challenges which companies expect to gain as a result of the tuition reimbursement programs are nothing compared to the numerous benefits as listed above.
However, all sides should be considered before an organization decides to support such programs. Advantages of the tuition reimbursement programs are numerous and include amongst others, winning employee loyalty, increased productivity, attraction of the best talent, decreased employee turnover, increased employee motivation, the tax benefits associated with the tuition reimbursement programs as well as increasing literacy levels in the society and improvement of service delivery as a result of well trained and qualified staff.
From the analysis above, it is evident that, organizations which fail to empower their human resources through putting in place proper knowledge management policies are likely fail to benefit optimally from the potential in their employees. Tuition reimbursement is the best form of employee empowerment as it brings a lot of advantages not only to the company but also to the employees. References
Greengard, S. 1999. Web-Based Training Yields Maximum Returns. Workforce. 78. Keegan, D. 1994. Otto Peters on Distance Education: The Industrialization of Teaching and Learning. New York. Routledge. Kiser, K. 1999. 10 things we know so far about online training. Training, 36 . Kitano, M. & Morey, A. 1996. Multicultural Course Transformation in Higher Education. Old Tappan, NJ: Allyn & Bacon.