Chipotle Mexican Grill is the latest company kicking its employee benefits up several notches in an effort to attract and retain workers for entry-level positions. Starting July 1, the restaurant company now offers hourly workers full tuition reimbursement, paid vacations days and paid sick time. What started out as an unknown quick-service restaurant in 1993 has grown into a company that empowers its employees to become leaders and embark on a career path.

Chipotle's lauded perk follows other efforts to make a college education attainable. Chrysler and Anthem already offer free tuition programs. And Starbucks has its College Achievement Plan, and as of Spring 2015, offers full tuition for 49 online degree programs at Arizona State University to both part- and full-time Starbucks employees. Chipotle echoes this initiative by adopting this type of forward-thinking strategy that provides affordable pathways to higher education and equal opportunities for futures of success.

Creating Advancement Opportunities

According to Blisstree, a news and lifestyle ezine, the restaurant's decision to extend benefits to all employees is built around opportunity. William Epsey, a member of Chipotle's marketing division, told the website that a new Chipotle restaurant opens every two days, and 10,000 Chipotle employees at the restaurant level have been promoted into management positions. About 95 percent of Chipotle managers were hourly employees promoted from within.

Higher education itself isn't a trend though  -  it's an investment that continues to prove its permanent worth, despite rising tuition costs and a tough job market. In the past 30 years, the economic disparity between high school and college graduates has more than doubled, Pew Research Center reports. Higher education is invaluable, and a high school diploma is essential.

Education Increases Your Bottom Line

Chipotle's new initiative provides opportunities to access an education (and better quality of life) that would otherwise be unattainable for many employees. But the employee benefit also welcomes outstanding business benefits. Not all employers have the ability to offer full tuition reimbursement, but employers can help employees earn their high school degree or take training courses to build a career path.

Provide employees with opportunities to enhance their education or increase workforce training and knowledge, and bolster your business in the following six ways:

It minimizes turnover.
Whether employees are earning a high school diploma or college degree through an employer benefit, they're making a commitment to their education and your business. Not all employees are guaranteed to stay with your company, but many will use their education as an incentive tool to move into leadership roles or managerial positions.

It incentivizes entry-level employees.
Entry-level restaurant or food service employees, for example, may approach their jobs as temporary means to get by without real potential or a long-term future. By offering a high school completion program or education assistance program, employers show their workers that this job can stand as a cornerstone from which to build upon and grow.

It equips workers with relevant jobs skills.
A workforce development program can provide your workers with advanced knowledge and up-to-date training  -  ultimately improving job performance and increasing your bottom line. A career training program strengthens job skills and progresses business initiatives specifically tailored to your company needs.

It fosters company loyalty.
Offering growth and advancement opportunities represents an investment in your employees. With employer-employee loyalty, you can develop your employees over time into strong leaders who continue to engage, perform well and exceed expectations.

It boosts motivation.
Employees find more meaning in their jobs when they know they're not just working, but working toward a career using their current job as experience. Communicate with workers interested in continuing education. Provide these individuals with more responsibility that aligns with their coursework and educational endeavors. In response, these workers will be motivated to go above and beyond, taking ownership of their work.

It attracts quality candidates.
Great benefits, especially an investment in continuing education or workforce skills advancement, appeal to quality job candidates who want to create a career path, and not just work at a job. An educational benefit signifies an employer's investment in the growth of its workers, which will attract new hires who are motivated and driven to continue to do and achieve more.

 Contact us to learn more about offering education benefits to your employees.

Resources: Photo Credit, (1) Starbucks and ASU Offer Four Years of College with Full Tuition Coverage (2) Chipotle Will Now Pay Tuition For Its Employees, So Guac Costing Extra Finally Makes Sense (3) The Rising Cost of Not Going to College (4) Here's Why Working at Chipotle Just Got Way Better (5) Motivation Mystery: How to Kepp Employees Productive (6) Penn Foster - Workforce Development & Career Training