One of the best benefits you can get from an employer is the opportunity to engage in “professional development”. When I first started in sourcing, my employer made sure I attended sourcing training regularly to develop my skills. Since that time, nearly every employer I’ve worked for has offered tuition reimbursement as a benefit, and depending on what was going in my life, I took advantage of it.
Honestly, when I had three young kids and a spouse with an equally if not more demanding job, there was just not time to develop except on company time. I always felt really fortunate that I had one employer that insisted everyone do something to professionally develop each year. $1k was set aside per employee to attend training, a conference, apply to schooling…the choice was ours but it was a mandate and part of our review process.
Brilliant. I had no excuses. I had to do it and the company not only paid for the course/conference but paid me for my time to attend.
A more recent employer of mine, also offered tuition reimbursement, but it was a more complex offering and there was a definite carrot/stick mentality at play. I used my tuition reimbursement to study/take the SHRM CP. If I failed, I’d have to pay all the tuition back. If the SHRM CP wasn’t stressful enough, layer that on.
But if professional development is not a mandate or carries some penalty…do you do it and do it well? Truly, you should. Obviously it’s good for your career. But even more so, it’s part of your total compensation. Why would you leave money on the table that you can spend to better yourself.
My current employer believes in tuition reimbursement. I’m back with a company that believes in encouraging conference attendance, and additional coursework, whether you need it or not. I’m torn, so many choices…as an HR Pro I have more focus on diversity than ever, so Cornell’s offering is ever so interesting. But I also want that SHRM SCP. And then of course, I could well do with some time working on my analytics and reporting skills.
When I’m recruiting and hiring candidates that haven’t obtained a Bachelor’s, Master’s or if needed, PhD. I highlight that company benefit. Education is expensive. Any money to off-set it, is huge. And this is a no-brainer, often finishing that degree may help you in securing a promotion, taking on a leadership role and demonstrating to your employer that you have initiative and the ability to achiever personal and professional goals. So step up and take it on.
Kelly is the Recruitment Manager for Westat, a leading social science research organization headquartered in Rockville, Maryland.