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The past couple of months have been a whirlwind for education, edtech, and workforce development, but one story has become increasingly prevalent: More and more companies have continued to invest in employee training, development, and education.

The benefits of workforce development and employer sponsored training are exhaustive; ranging from higher employee engagement to building secure talent pipelines. And many companies, including some just this month, have decided to invest in employee training and education. Whether due to the new tax break or not, major organizations have grown aware of the benefits of investing in their employees. 

Expanding the Archways to Opportunity

One such company, McDonald's, recently announced the other week that they would commit $150 million to employee education. In an effort to expand their Archways to Opportunity program, over the next five years McDonald's will use their investment to increase the reach of their program to an additional 400,000 employees.1 Among the changes include lowering the eligibility requirements and extending benefits to some employees' family members.1 The program allows eligible workers to earn a high school diploma, college tuition, and ESL learning.1 According to their quarterly review in January, their expansion is in part due to the recent tax cuts.1

Working Together for Workforce Development

Other organizations are working together to provide educational and training benefits to employees. Practice Management Institute (PMI) and Hendrick Health System have partnered together to provide workforce development for Hendrick employees.2 This past month, Hendrick announced that the extensive training and classes offered through PMI will continue as they have increased both retention and satisfaction of the Hendrick staff.2 Most importantly, similar to McDonald's, the training is not for a select executive cohort of employees, but across all levels, regardless of position.2 This is crucial because historically, employee training and development has been reserved exclusively for high-level employees.

Investing for Long Term Benefits

Earlier this year, many other companies, including AT&T, American Airlines, Comcast, and Walmart, have offered employees one-time bonuses, typically $1,000, because of the tax break.3 While a bonus is certainly beneficial, investing in longer-term benefits like education or training can be even more beneficial for both employees and employers. Particularly for industries with traditionally higher turnover rates, like retail, where training is crucial for ensuring high-performing employees. Recently, Retail Customer Experience shared the four phases of employee turnover, and one phase included losing employees due to a lack of training.4 To combat this, retail employers should train employees and encourage them to train further to advance their careers.4 This training allows organizations to facilitate higher engagement and build their talent pipeline more effectively.

By investing in their Archways to Opportunity program, McDonald's is able to make their jobs more competitive and desirable, while also boosting employee engagement and potentially retention. And by partnering with PMI, Hendrick Health System is providing employee benefits while offering a higher level of care, which increases their effectiveness as an organization. Workforce development, therefore, provides long term benefits for employees who have the opportunity to further their education and move up in their careers, and for the employers who have a stronger workforce.

This past month has shown that the need for workforce development and employee education is incredibly relevant and coming to the forefront of many industries.

Recommended for You: How Businesses Can Leverage Tax Cuts to Invest in Employee Development

Sources: (1) QSR Magazine (2) News 9  (3) CNN Money (4) Retail Customer Experience