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The value of education for companies and their people

Investing in employees can pay off for organizations through attaining a more skilled workforce and higher retention rates.

2 min read


The value of education for companies and their people

Michigan State University

Research shows organizations are viewing career development as a key part of benefits packages.

As benefits packages grow in their offerings, one option that can bring about a win-win opportunity for both an organization and its people is education — better known as professional development or training.

Professional or career development being offered as a benefit for employees is growing in frequency, according to the 2015 Employee Benefits research report from the Society for Human Resource Management. SHRM’s report noted that 84% of organizations had some variety of professional development option available in 2015, an increase over the previous year (82%). Off-site professional development such as courses or conferences were offered by 81% of employers versus 78% in 2014.

Research from Korn Ferry Hay Group found that 66% of organizations cited career development or training programs as an area they plan to boost for managers and professionals; 64% will offer similar programs for clerical, technical and skilled trade employees, and 57% for executives.

What makes professional development so attractive?

For organizations, investing in their employees can literally pay off. The American Society for Training and Development reported a 6% higher shareholder return from a $680 boost in spending for employee training and development, and a 24% higher profit margin, according to a 2014 Huffington Post article.

Organizations can also benefit from the increased knowledge that employees in school may gain while studying outside of work. Michigan State University graduate Heather Serrano found that much of what she was learning was relevant to her job.

A class in organizational design, for example, provided the California native with valuable knowledge she could apply at work, including consulting work her organization could offer to clients.

Professional development is a great retention tool for organizations, as employees are less likely to depart for greener pastures if they believe their organization has a vested interest in their professional development. This is particularly the case for Millennials, as a Gallup study found that 87% deem professional development very important to them at work.

Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB, acknowledged in a Chicago Tribune article that a change from salary being the reason employees left their employers has taken place. CEB found that instead, 70% of employees claim to be dissatisfied with opportunities to grow at their existing companies.


This post is sponsored by Eli Broad College of Business.