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••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Education Matters

Encouraging Employees to Pursue Degree Dreams
• Indiana Lee
Investing in your employee's education can pay dividends

 Photo:  Unsplash


There are dozens of ways to train your employees. You can create sophisticated training plans, invite guest speakers to your workplace, create social media learning platforms, or invest in dedicated training facilities for your staff and guest speakers.

However, nothing is quite so motivating or rewarding as helping your employees pursue the degree of their dreams through higher education.

Here are a few ways you can encourage your employees to pursue their degree dreams and take the reins of their careers.

Why Encourage Employees?

Helping employees pursue their degree dreams will give you a major boost in productivity and motivation — it’s also the right thing to do.

However, many managers have a hard time believing that the investment into their employees' education will be worthwhile.

Here are a few reasons why educating employees can be as beneficial to the individual as it is to the organization they belong to.

Critical Thinking

At its core, a college education teaches students how to think, and every business needs employees who can critically interpret their work in a professional environment. Regardless of their degree, all college students are taught to become critical thinkers and will learn how to navigate complex ideas or problems.

This is particularly useful if you work in an evolving industry and need to shift your business strategy. Critical thinkers can spot key trends and develop a strategic approach to the way they work. This might be as simple as small changes to daily operations, or they may help you find large competitive advantages to exploit in your market. 


Matthew Kelly, the author of The Dream Manager, reminds reluctant managers that employees “have dreams for themselves and their families and believe that by hitching their wagon to a particular company those dreams will be furthered.”

Encouraging your employees to pursue higher education will show them that they’re valued as community members and that their dreams matter to you. This will almost certainly pay off in the long run through increased loyalty and productivity in the workplace — it will also help your recruitment efforts. 


The “Great Resignation” has shaken up the way recruiters work. Potential employees are driving harder bargains than ever before, and have usually received multiple offers when they walk through your door for an interview — so what can you offer to convince them to sign on?

Well, access to higher education can be the extra edge you need. It’s a great line to include in your benefits package and will reflect well on your business if prospective employees research you through sites like Glassdoor.

What Should They Study?

So, you’ve decided you want to invest in your employee's education — but what should they study? Ultimately, this choice is for your employees to make, but here are a few common routes that benefit your business.


A Masters of Business Administration is the holy grail of employee training and development. An MBA will help employees burst through plateaus in their career, and can give them the skills they need to move laterally or vertically throughout your organization.

During an MBA, employees will learn everything from key business terminology to interpreting trends and decision-making models. They’ll also have the chance to tailor their learning experience, so they can gain knowledge and skills that are relevant to them and their interests.

Liberal Arts

An education in liberal arts is underrated in today’s economy. According to ??the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are always looking for employees who are skilled in critical thinking and communication — two of the core skills developed by a liberal arts education.

A liberal arts degree program will also teach employees to find meaning where meaning seems evasive. They’ll be exposed to a range of “texts” (novels, film, theory, etc), learn to make meaningful connections between ideas, and will develop the kinds of communication and critical thinking skills that are valued by roughly 80% of employers.


STEM education can give employees the hard skills they need to succeed in a new role. Additionally, STEM education will teach employees “how” to think, as they’ll develop a resilient, systematized approach to problem-solving and quantitative reasoning.

By supporting employees who previously faced barriers to pursuing STEM education, you will gain a workforce that has the hard skills to succeed in technical roles and also have the ability to respond to new or unique challenges.

How Do You Facilitate Employee Education?

Your employees want to pursue their education — but they still have to balance their responsibilities at work. How can you help facilitate employee education in a way that is productive for both your workers and your business?

Time Off

You must adjust expectations for employees while they are pursuing higher education. You simply cannot expect them to continue working the same hours they did before and should consider treating them as a part-time employee.

Additionally, before your employee begins their education program, you should make a plan together. If possible, this should allow them to take advantage of flexible hours and scheduling, and should help them find ways to make the work they are doing at college relevant to their day-to-day responsibilities.


The cost of college tuition is always rising. This means that more students need financial help to get through college. As an employer, you could be in a great position to award scholarships to your employees who deserve a major financial investment.

You’ll need to plan ahead and should be aware of IRS policies for Grants both for individuals and for businesses. You’ll also need to ensure that you avoid discrimination when awarding scholarships, and should seriously consider blind reviews when assessing scholarship applications.


Over 19 million Americans are enrolled in higher education currently. These students are being exposed to exciting and engaging ideas on a daily basis, and are gathering the skills they need to succeed in an increasingly complex world.

However, many employees who want to pursue a higher education never get the chance due to external barriers. As an employer, you have a great opportunity to encourage these employees to pursue their degree dreams.

You can start by providing financial assistance or giving employees access to flexible hours. As a reward for your investment, you’ll gain motivated, loyal employees who rave about your company online and help attract the best talent to your business.

 Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 1.19.22

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