Are Education Benefits In Your Budget? Here’s Why They Should Be

Adult learner upskilling at home during the pandemic

A friend of mine was describing an app she uses to learn French – a program that awards points for hours spent learning. 

Pre-pandemic, she said top scorers might end the week with 1,000 points. Right now, she said, participants were racking up four times that many points. By Tuesday.

Her experiences aren’t unique. Across the country, people are lapping up coursework, putting on their learning hats and bettering themselves with new skills – coding, writing, software – to the tune of millions of participants monthly. The combination of time plus desire plus easy access has fueled booms in signups, some experiencing global enrollment increases of more than 600%

The Uplift of New Skills

The surge shouldn’t surprise anyone. The pandemic has people feeling uncertain, inert at best, at worst like they’re moving in reverse. New skills are power; they feel optimistic, agile, future focused. They make people feel they have some control.

And make no mistake – that drive is an opportunity for employers. Transitional periods can dictate proficiencies in ways we can’t always predict. And a pandemic that’s changed the way we live is one heck of a transitional period – one that will call not just for agile minds and cutting-edge skills, but also for dedicated, engaged people who want to use those abilities. It’s the reason McKinsey wrote earlier this year that “Managers can’t push the pause button on capability building.” 

But to get those benefits, you have to look at education through the right lens, and then design your program to meet the moment:  

Research-based: Directed toward the precise talent goals your organization has identified and needs to meet.

Targeted: Specifically designed to address and reach those goals.

Fine-tuned: Created to deliver on both of the above by leveraging discounts that significantly lower cost.  

Right now, people are hungry to learn. And employers can harness that energy for good. The trouble is, education is too often looked at purely as a benefit that only serves the employee, putting it in question when employers are carefully examining budgets. But that’s shortsighted, not just denying coveted opportunities to employees,  but also costing employers the chance to tap into that desire to learn and build the proficiencies the organization needs. 

All those people who are throwing themselves into learning French; they don’t want to just learn a foreign language: they want to learn something that will better them; inspire them; ready them for the future.

Skills for employers; inspiration for employees…

Done right, education delivers on all of it.

Join our webinar to hear how successful organizations are controlling – and focusing – their education assistance budgets in the wake of COVID-19.

Written by: Alan Robins

June 17, 2020

About the Author

Alan Robins at Bright Horizons

As Director of Product Marketing, Alan drives original research and thought leadership for Bright Horizons education benefits programs, drawing on his extensive experience helping companies optimize education programs to support their Talent and HR objectives. Prior to Bright Horizons, Alan was at Gartner, a global leader in providing advisory services to technology and business executives, where he led new product teams in Europe and the US.