Tips for Creating Employee Continuing Education Programs in a Remote Work Setup

| COVID-19, Employee Engagement
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Your staff are vital to the success of your organization. And, as guest contributor Samantha Peters explains, providing them with continuing education opportunities is a great way to show your appreciation and invest in their personal and professional growth.

Your employees aren’t just there to meet deadlines and get their tasks done – the people in your organization help build it. And investing in the development of your staff is a great way to show that you appreciate their efforts.

This is all the more important in today’s remote world, where face-to-face interactions are fewer and farther between.

To that end, encouraging your employees to pursue further continuing education is a great way to show that you care about their growth, both inside and outside the company.

How Continuing Education Works

Continuing education is all about providing your team with opportunities to develop skills that will benefit both themselves and your organization.

Let’s look at a real-life example.

Multinational clothing brand Hanes has received acclaim for its commitment to continuing employee education, even despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Their program supports its employees across Central America and the Caribbean and has helped over 2,000 employees to obtain a high school degree as well as another nearly 200 employees to get a college degree. In light of growing employee demand, they have since offered ways for their employees to get an MBA as well.

While Hanes is not the only company that engages in employee continuing education programs, their current set-up highlights how continuing education can many forms.

This can be post-secondary courses or even targeted skill-development programs for entire teams or departments.

The key is to focus on what your employees are looking for in terms of continuing education.

You can even simply generate a survey using a service like SurveyMonkey to get insights from your team about what they’d like.

This could be:

  • Asking your employees about the highest level of education they’ve attained
  • Asking your employees what skills they feel would benefit them professionally

You can then use that info to create a continuing education program that caters to their needs.

You’ll probably find that sharing plans of your employee continuing education program can be a pleasant surprise for your staff – one that will be welcomed during these rather challenging times.

3 Types of Post-Secondary Programs Your Employees Can Join

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When it comes to continuing education in the form of post-secondary courses, there are a host of courses to choose from.

The three most common types include:

1. Organizational Leadership

As organizations develop, research shows that there is little attention paid to the various cultural and social factors that go into employee engagement. Today’s organizational leadership degree holders are equipped to meet these needs through their extensive training in change management and business psychology through courses like conflict resolution and business negotiation. The current pandemic has catapulted businesses into uncharted territory when it comes to employee engagement, which is why demand for organizational leadership professionals remains high.

2. Accounting

The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased a demand for accounting services. Businesses everywhere are struggling to recalibrate their budgets in order to cope with huge operational changes. As such, accountants play an active role in assessing business operations and devising a way forward for your team. Employees who study accounting systems can also help their organization adopt accounting software that will inevitably streamline operations.

3. Business Management

It goes without saying that business management continues to be a popular course, especially for employees who are seriously thinking about changing or enhancing their careers. The benefits of pursuing a business management degree as a working professional is that your employees are able to get valuable on-the-ground experience that they might not have otherwise gotten in a traditional classroom setting.

2 Types of Post-Secondary Programs Your Employees Can Join

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If post-secondary education isn’t optimal for your team, there are a number of other options available as well, including:

Licenses and Certificates

You can help your employees get licenses and certificates that can further their professional development. These programs will naturally end up being specific to your company (i.e. medical assistant certifications for those who work in the healthcare field, or building administrative certifications for those who work in real estate). The benefit to these certificates is that they’re much quicker to complete while still encouraging growth.

Group Skill Development Programs

You can also offer group skill development programs that help employees refine their soft skills, such as:

  • Authentic Leadership: In this hands-on workshop, your team can explore the concept of leadership stage-by-stage, including interactive exercises and business simulations.
  • Clear Communication: In a team setting, communication is critical. And this program will help develop your team’s verbal and written communication skills as well as learn non-verbal communication skills and communicate more effectively during conflicts and decisions.
  • Conflict Resolution: This program can help your team to manage and resolve conflicts with colleagues in a more productive and positive way.

If you’re looking for something else, check out Outback Team Building and Training’s entire selection of more than 20 group training programs, most of which are also available in a virtually hosted format for remote groups.

These types of programs work well for employees across industries and roles, and they’re valuable skills that your employees can use outside of their work life.

How You Can Support These Endeavors

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As a business leader, your support shouldn’t stop at simply providing access to these programs.

Depending on your employees’ educational background, it might have been a while since they were in school. Sending them quick guides on how to study effectively or subsidizing their software costs (should this be needed) can also supplement their education.

You should also look to implement flexible work hours to accommodate class schedules. Asking your employees about their schooling during a team huddle is also a small gesture that goes a long way in making your team feel supported.

Employee loyalty is hard to come by in today’s competitive business landscape, and investing in your team’s success is a way to return the favor when it comes to the time and effort they’ve put in to make your operations succeed. Supporting employee continued education programs at this time is a worthwhile strategy that businesses should consider, and the array of courses available means that even small businesses can consider implementing this strategy.

Learn More About How Group Training Programs and Coaching Solutions Can Help Your Employees to Develop Their Core Skills.

For more information about how you can invest in your team’s growth with group training programs or coaching solutions, reach out to our Employee Engagement Consultants.

Author Bio:

Samantha Peters — Organizational Consultant

Samantha Peters is a Chicago-based organizational consultant and blogger with an interest in using the digital world to improve company culture. Her new lockdown hobby is tending to her small garden, and she can always be found sipping on some green tea.


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