In 2009, Bersin & Associates released a study titled, "Tuition Assistance Programs: Best Practices for Maximizing a Key Talent Investment." We, EdAssist®, recently hired Bersin to update this study based on current data and information. Read on for a sneak preview of this study slated for release in the coming weeks.Of the original study's nine best practices for tuition assistance programs, the 2012 Bersin Study eliminated two and added three new ones. Starting today, I'll provide in-depth analysis of these new best practices.
Centralize the Program Across the OrganizationThe first new best practice for this year is to, "Centralize the Program Across the Organization." From our experience, there are many companies that have a decentralized program. That is, the tuition spend sits in the business units' budgets. Indeed, often each business unit has a different policy. This makes it extremely difficult to leverage the tuition spend, link it to the talent development needs of the company, and provide accurate analytics.
The upcoming Bersin Study concludes, "Centralization of the program can offer significant efficiencies, and a tuition assistance program needs adequate resources (whether internal or outsourced) for program administration development and operations." Centralization does not mean you have to centralize your company policy across the globe. However, it does make sense to centralize based on the post-secondary education system. For example, in the United States, it would make sense to centralize domestically because of our regional accreditation system.
Recommendations for Centralizing a Tuition Assistance ProgramIf you are one of the companies that has a tuition assistance program that is decentralized, Bersin recommends completing an "enterprise-wide" review of all of the current policies, procedures, exceptions, and spending. Further, they recommend determining the outcomes the company wants. For example:
- High morale due to a sentiment of employee investment and goodwill?
- Closure of gaps for certain skills?
- A more robust labor market for certain positions?
- A deeper leadership bench?
In my next blog, I will talk about another new best practice.