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In the not-so-distant past, it was much more common for companies to fund employee training as well as continuing education for their employees. Many companies made it more of a priority to invest in the professionalism in the workplace for their employees.

Once the economic downturn occurred, many businesses were anxious to tighten their belts, and educational funding was often one of the company benefits on the chopping block. According to a recent Fortune article, “Just 26% of chief financial officers say their companies reimburse employees for the training required to maintain their professional certifications, according to a new survey by staffing firm Robert Half Finance & Accounting. That’s a big drop from the 46% who paid for continuing education in 2006…College tuition reimbursement has declined too, and not just in finance — yet another casualty of tough economic conditions.”

Although these cutbacks have been the trend over the past several years, the economic recovery suggests that it might be time to reverse that trend and push again for employee development benefits. If you are a manager, you are in a unique position to assert your own desire to improve your professionalism in the workplace through continued education and training, and you can also try to increase the benefits of the employees you manage in your unit.

Employee  Development Talking Points:

1. Increased professionalism in the workplace equals better employee performance and productivity.

Employees are more likely to take advantage of professional development opportunities if they are offered to them free of charge or at a reduced rate. Companies benefit from this investment in employee development, because it improves performance and professionalism. To maintain competitive advantage, businesses can strongly benefit from an investment in their employees.

2. Better educated employees mean a more competitive company

The best employees are the employees who are dedicated to their jobs and committed to learning more and progressing further. Continuing education is an excellent investment, because a well-educated workforce is more prepared to meet the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world. Employees are also likely to have strong loyalty to a company that supports their continued growth and education.

3. Agree to stay with company for a certain amount of time or reimburse tuition

Some companies shy away from offering tuition assistance or paid employee training because they worry that they will lose their employees if they become more marketable. If your supervisor is concerned about this possibility, some companies ask their employees to sign a form on which the employee makes a commitment to stay a certain number of years once a degree or training program is completed, or else that employee is liable for a percentage of the tuition costs. Perhaps such a form might set your company at more ease.

Professionalism in the Workplace Through Continuing Education

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