I’m on the record as saying there’s no better benefit to put on your brochure than deep support for Tuition Aid. That’s especially true if you employ a young workforce, many of whom haven’t yet achieved a college degree – retail, call centers, etc, come to mind right?
The reasons Tuition Aid is a smart benefit to add are simple. Observe:
1. Employees who haven’t gotten their college degree are attracted to this benefit.
2. BUT, the benefit is hard to use. It can mean working full time while you go to school, takes persistence, sacrifice of time and at times impacts your personal life. It’s easy to like but hard to use, which means that you can offer the benefit with little risk of all who are eligible using it to it’s full potential.
That’s the reality. But there are some big brands who have started to make it even easier to use the benefit by solidifying a single relationship with a university, effectively streamlining distance learning for the employees who work for them. By creating a single relationship and promoting the ease of use, these companies are changing the commitment level they’re making to Learning and Development.
The latest company to take this approach is Pizza Hut. More from Fortune:
“Yum! Brands’ YUM -1.14% Pizza Hut is the latest company to announce a plan to help employees pay for college.
Yum said Wednesday that it’s extending its partnership with Excelsior College to assist workers and their families pay tuition, The Street reported.
Called “The Life Unboxed EDU,” the program gives Pizza Hut employees a 45% discount on undergraduate tuition at the online university. The program also offers a 15% discount to graduate students. There are currently 65 employees in a pilot of the new perk.
The discount includes $5,250 for tuition, books, and other costs for full-time employees, according to The Street.”
Pizza Hut follows Starbucks into this territory of enhanced commitment to external L&D resources that have impact to employee’s careers. Last year, Starbucks announced a similar focused relationship with Arizona State University. The program has been a success, so much so that the cost is now referenced as a potential drag on profits. More from the Street:
“Starbucks is spending tens of millions more on employees and tech.
Better customer service and reduced turnover comes at a cost.
Starbucks SBUX -0.71% reported another set of stellar quarterly results, but its stock got slammed when it forecast a profit for the current quarter that missed Wall Street’s expectations because of rising employee costs and higher mobile tech investments.
Starbucks has also been spending more on employees, which the company calls “partners,”providing college-tuition help and a raise, something Schultz said is lowering employee turnover, which in turn helps with customer service.
“We are seeing improvements in partner attrition, a direct result of our partner investments at a time when the industry overall is actually moving in the opposite direction,” Schultz told Wall Street analysts. “Our comp (comparable sales) results are strongest where we are having the greatest success in reducing turnover.”
Starbucks will increase spending on employees and tech by between $100 million and $125 million in the current fiscal year that just got underway. That compares to $145 million in fiscal 2015.”
You know you’ve arrived in your commitment to L&D when that investment makes it’s way into earnings conversations and is used to point to reduced turnover.
If you can’t do that, maybe you ought to at least consider adding Tuition Aid via reimbursement. I’m just saying…
FOT Note: This post is brought to you by the good folks at Meridian, who like us enough to be an annual sponsor at FOT for all content in our learning and development track (and don’t expect that we run any of this by them ahead of time). They’re also up for having fun to the extent that they’re sponsoring the Learning and Development Hangout Series. Check it out!
Kris Dunn is a Partner and CHRO at Kinetix, a national RPO firm for growth companies headquartered in Atlanta. He’s also the founder Fistful of Talent (founded in 2008) and The HR Capitalist (2007) – and has written over 70 feature columns at Workforce Management magazine. Prior to his investment at Kinetix, Kris served in HR leadership roles at DAXKO, Charter and Cingular. In his spare time, KD hits the road as a speaker and gives the world what it needs – pop culture references linked to Human Capital street smarts.