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  • Writer's pictureSherry

Investing in Employees: A New Level of Brand Awareness and Employee Loyalty

You may have picked up your newspaper or checked your tablet today and read about Starbucks offering college classes to over 130,000 employees. It got us thinking, how many organizations are investing in their employees’ education outside of the internal training?

The American Council of Education approximates that roughly 20 percent of graduate students and 6 percent of undergraduates receive some financial assistance from their employers to attend school. As many as a third of undergraduates in fields like business and engineering receive tuition assistance from their employers. In fact, tuition assistance is the most common source of financial aid for college students, and on average it covers about one-third of the average annual cost paid by post-secondary students. Big name companies like Apple, Chevron, FedEx, Gap, Raytheon, and U.S. Airways (to name a few) offer some level of financial assistance to employees looking to further their education.

A 2002 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management of 510 employers found 79 percent offering educational assistance of various kinds. While some employers require that employees agree to stay with the company for a certain period of time post-graduation to “pay their dues” others see this cost as an investment in their talent and their brand. The CEO and Chairman of Starbucks was quoted by the NY Times as stating that even if employees left soon after receiving their education, Starbucks’ investment in the employee “would be accreted to our brand, our reputation and our business…I believe it will lower attrition, it’ll increase performance, it’ll attract and retain better people.”

Is there a shift happening in the way employers invest in employees? We think there might be. Organizations are moving away from pension plans and tenures and moving toward investing in early to mid-career employees who show a tenacity for productivity and an ambition to move up the ladder.


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