The thought of juggling both work and class can often be a roadblock for employees who'd like to go back to school. At first glance, employers might be reluctant to hire workers who are juggling several external responsibilities. But employers who support their employees in earning a degree can reap a variety of benefits, including increased loyalty, higher retention rates, and greater engagement at work. Here's how you can help ease your employee's education journey.

Offer Schedule Flexibility

Employees going back to school need a little flexibility in their schedule. Though a varied schedule may be difficult to navigate, it's one of the best ways to support these employees. There are benefits to the company, too - for instance, these workers may now wish to take traditionally less-desirable shifts such as evenings and weekends to make time for class and homework.

Show your support by being understanding when these workers need time off to study for final exams and consider granting them longer breaks to do homework. Ask them to share a copy of their class schedule and curriculum each semester, and then use it to develop a work schedule that benefits both you and the employee. With this foresight, you can plan ahead and make sure everything is covered.

Offer Educational Opportunities

Another way employers can support their employees who want go back to school is by offering them opportunities to complete the coursework they need to pursue higher education. For instance, if you have workers who haven't completed high school, consider offering them a High School Completion program. This provides promising candidates with a high school completion program that enables them to work an entry-level position and eventually advance by pursuing managerial and leadership opportunities.

Additionally, employers can consider offering college courses - as Starbucks and other major corporations have done recently - to help employees complete any prerequisites or even earn full degrees. Supporting their education in this way benefits both employees and employers; not only does it give these workers a bridge to pursue post-secondary education, move up in the company, and achieve a better quality of life, it can significantly reduce high turnover rates and improve the public image of the company.  

The Penn Foster High School Completion program provides a bridge for your employees to earn a fully accredited high school diploma and subsequently qualify for higher-paying positions within your company.

Offer a Career Path

Keeping employees motivated and engaged at work is imperative for companies who wish to retain their employees after they've achieved their education goals. Help employees realize the value of their education by showing them how they can move up in the company once they earn their degree. Implement on-the-job training that supports this career path. Consider partnering these employees with a senior team leader as part of a mentorship program.

If you help employees further their education, you'll have better employees in return. Whether they want to learn more, improve their skills or earn a degree, education can pave the way toward their goals. Employers who facilitate this for their employees can count on earning their loyalty and engagement, which ultimately benefits the company's bottom line.

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Resources: Photo Credit. (1) Back To School? Small Companies Can Support Student-Employees (2) Recruit and Retain Quality QSR Employees With These 4 Initiatives