Tuition reimbursement refers to an arrangement between an employer and an employee that outlines and specifies terms that allow an employer to pay for the employee’s advanced education (Martocchio, 2003, p.23). A tuition reimbursement plan provides suitable employees with an opportunity to improve their capabilities associated with their career.
They do this through participating in certain courses offered at accredited institutions of study and organizations specializing in career related training (Martocchio, 2003, p.25). It is very important for employees to understand the company’s policy on such programs. Reimbursement tuition may cover certain courses and exclude others. An employee is required to take a course that is included in the company’s tuition reimbursement program.
Tuition reimbursement helps companies build a stronger workforce (Willis, 2010, par1). However, the common benefit of an employee tuition reimbursement program is controversial in that some human resource gurus say it is a waste of money or mismanagement at its best.
The common complaint is that employees do not learn anything related to their current jobs and at worst the employer pays for a staff member’s degree in an unrelated field, only for them to lose the employee to a different company (Willis, 2010, par2). Tuition reimbursement is one of the best and competitively priced retention tools for a business for a number of reasons.
The business should structure the plan appropriately by ensuring that it only gives opportunities that comprise of courses associated with jobs offered by the business. This will guarantee a certain level of benefits to the business through the application of employees’ newly acquired knowledge. Through improved skills and newly acquired knowledge by employees, the workforce strength will be enhanced, thus increasing the overall output of the business (Willis, 2010, par4).
A degree in business and communication will improve the employee’s motivation to work and improve interaction with clients, which will enhance the image and integrity of the business (Willis, 2010, par7). It is important for a business to consider its employees as valued resources whose capabilities are worth improving regardless of the career course they choose to study.
The business should take responsibility and encourage employees to fund their study courses because it is a personal initiative to improve one’s career through advancing one’s current education level. This is because benefit is more likely to be a motivator and loyalty builder, which will boost the business reputation as a good place to work (Willis, 2010, par8).
A tuition reimbursement program helps in attracting younger employees (Smith, 2004, par2). The advantage of this program especially for small and midsized businesses is in attracting younger employees, since they know the benefits of joining such a business organization.
This helps in incorporating new ideas and more vibrant workforce into the business that is important in meeting business goals (Smith, 2004, par2). It is inevitable, regardless of the degree an employee will pursue, that the knowledge on a multitude of things will increase. This makes the employee more marketable for advancement with the current employer and a better employee (Smith, 2004, par4).
A tuition reimbursement program ensures favourable relations with employees (Smith, 2004, par6). Employers and managers in a business are supportive of employees trying to better themselves in terms of career advancement through advanced learning.
The presence of such employees and their commitment to attending college classes, serve as motivation to the employer to consider the employee for possible advancement opportunities. They do this because they consider the employee’s initiative to advance education as a positive step in personal growth and an opportunity for the overall growth of the company.
A tuition reimbursement program for a Bachelor in Business and Communication will make employees highly competitive (Willis, 2010, par5). Career options for such graduates include public relations and human resource officers, business and marketing managers, government administrator, media and marketing officer, promotions officers, advertisers, management consultants, information systems specialists (Willis, 2010, par5).
This degree program focuses on management. At some point in an employee’s working life, management may be included as part of a job’s responsibilities.
A Bachelor in Business and Communication degree combines various aspects of business management and communication. Employees learn the interaction between market forces within external and internal business communities (Martocchio, 2003, p.49).
They expand their skills in leadership and management, problem solving, public relations and critical thinking. Employees in a master’s class learn to think critically and creatively about problems facing a free market economy. They explore effective and ethical management concepts and learn the complexity of changes in an organization.
Professions for employees with a bachelor in communication include journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising. For example, after pursuing a business degree, a Human Resource assistant can become a systems manager, a teacher can become a school administrator, a mechanic can become the workshop supervisor and a marketing assistant can become a marketing director (Martocchio, 2003, p.43).
Business degrees mainly include courses in commerce, business finance, information technology, entrepreneurship and marketing. The main advantage of pursuing this degree is the attainment of knowledge and skills that are necessary in any field in the different sectors. Precisely, it diversifies opportunities available to employees who have taken that degree course. These skills include leadership, communication skills, report writing, teamwork, problem solving, data analysis and time management.
Another reason why this degree is important is that it offers many opportunities and most important, it provides an employee with a chance for promotion in the work place and advancement of career. In addition to advancement of career and promotion in the work place, employees who undertake the course earn higher salaries compared with those who fail to pursue the degree.
According to the bureau of labour statistics, those with an economics or business degree entered the workforce in 2007 with an average starting salary of $47,782 (Willis, 2010, par6). After a given period, employees with degrees in business related fields earned more than the average salary of other degree majors. Those with an associate’s degree made, on average, $7,228 more per year than those with just a high school diploma (Willis, 2010, par6).
Those with a bachelor’s degree made, on average, $20,488 more per year, while those with a master’s degree made on average $31,980 per year than those with a high school diploma (Willis, 2010, par6). According to recent studies, seven out of the top 25 highest paying jobs of 2008, required masters degree in business administration or a related business degree. In addition, management and consulting services were recently ranked as the fastest growing industry. This is attributed to the fact that both require a professional business degree.
When making a decision on whether to pursue a business degree or not, it is important to consider certain factors. First, consideration of personal career goals is important and secondly, the goals and objectives of the organization should be in line with personal career goals. A business and communication degree does not guarantee an employee rise to a chief executive officer position, but it does offer a flexible way of enhancing education, updating job skills, and an opportunity for a more fulfilling position (Willis, 2010, par3).
Therefore, it is important for businesses to develop tuition reimbursement programs for employees to increase output, improve their credibility, strengthen their workforce and increase loyalty from staff members. In addition, it is important for employees to take up reimbursement opportunities in order to enhance their skills, improve their market worth and foster motivation in the work place.
Martocchio, J. (2003). Employee Benefits: A Primer for Human Resource Professionals. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Smith, M. (2004). Does Tuition Reimbursement Benefit Employers? Retrieved from http://hr.blr.com/HR-news/Health-Safety/Workplace-Accidents/Does-Tuition-Reimbursement-Benefit-Employers/
Willis, M. (2010).Tuition Reimbursement Helps Companies Build a Stronger Workforce. Retrieved from http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/12/prweb4878364.htm