In today’s workplace, employees want more than healthcare, PTO, and retirement plans in their benefits packages. They want to be part of an organization that invests in their career development. Companies that invest in employee development attract more qualified candidates. They also develop a highly qualified internal pool of candidates for future openings. It’s a big win on both fronts for your company.

Three common ways organizations participate in employee development: by offering tuition reimbursement programs, continuing education courses, and online courses. Here’s a quick rundown of why and when to offer each of these employee development options.

Tuition Reimbursement

If your organization has positions that require technical training or higher education, then your organization may benefit by offering tuition reimbursement. Offering tuition reimbursement is a great way to attract ambitious, hardworking people and up-skill them. Most organizations then require employees to stay for a period of time (typically one to two years) after completing their education to ensure they don’t just take the courses and leave.

Online Courses

employee development done online is very successful

Online courses are often the most cost-effective and efficient method of employee development. Whether employees need to sharpen a specific skill set or learn something entirely new, online courses are often a great choice for employee development. There are many subscription-based services that offer online courses. These courses are typically created by industry professionals. They can be quick videos on simple topics that take only a few minutes to watch, or a series of longer videos for more complex topics. While many of these courses are great for general knowledge, they leave out important business processes that are specific to the organization.

That’s where company-created courses authored and distributed on a learning management system (LMS) become crucial. Using an LMS, employees can access training at any time to up-train, cross-train, or refresh on relevant skills. And because these courses are created internally, they guarantee your employees develop industry and organization-specific skills.

Continuing Education Courses

Some professions require practitioners to update their skill set and certifications throughout their career. These continuing education courses can get costly, so employees appreciate the benefit of working for an organization that covers the expense. In some cases, your company may be able to form agreements with universities, colleges, and professional organizations for discounted rates on continuing education courses.

Many universities now offer a variety of targeted degree or certificate programs that zero in on specific workplace needs. Some of these programs may also be conducted online, meaning that remote employees can still reap the benefits of ongoing education. Any of these options, or a combination of options, show employees (and prospective employees) that your company is invested their future. In today’s highly competitive labor market, that’s more important than ever.