A well-educated workforce will help your business grow, innovate, and succeed. Unfortunately, high college costs and other obstacles have been keeping some workers from completing their degrees. If some members of your team have not completed their degrees, then they may not be reaching their full potential. 

As an employer, you have a great opportunity to help your employees develop their education and their careers. By encouraging and supporting your team members to further their education and finish their degrees, you’ll build goodwill, loyalty, and a more empowered, capable workforce. 

With that said, you can’t force someone to go back to school if they don’t want to. Instead, you need to show them the benefits! Here are 5 ways to encourage your employees to make the push and get their degrees. 

Provide Access to Education Degree Options, Organizations & Associations 

Many people want to complete their degrees but aren’t sure that going back to school will fit into their lives. Some might not know what kind of degree they want to get or what options are available for attending classes, especially part-time while working. 

As an employer, you can do some of the heavy lifting on behalf of your employees and research educational opportunities for them. Offer resources and information on different types of degree programs, educational leadership organizations and associations, and online higher education options. 

Ideally, you would offer direct access to education. Offering tuition assistance, partnering with universities, and offering flexible hours are all great ways to increase your employees’ access to degree programs. 

 Highlight Potential Post-Degree Promotion Opportunities 

One of the biggest benefits of completing a degree is all of the career advancement options that potentially go along with it. But if your organization doesn’t have any clear paths toward a promotion upon the completion of a degree, some employees might feel like going back to school isn’t worth the time and energy. 

To encourage employees in continuing their education, it’s important to not only highlight potential promotion tracks after graduation, but to create clear steps employees can take to earn a promotion. Follow-through is important—employees should trust that they will be able to advance if they get an education and are proactive in following the promotion path. 

Creating these paths to advancement requires organizational change. Leaders need to understand the importance of creating advancement opportunities and rewarding employees who take the initiative to finish their degrees. 

Note the Key Benefits Employees Will Gain Through a Degree

Getting a degree takes time and effort. People who are working full-time already might not be interested in going back to school if it will mean sacrificing more of their free time. That’s why it’s so important to emphasize the benefits of getting a degree—showing your employees exactly why it’s worthwhile to get a degree will make them more likely to enroll. 

Some of these benefits include: 

  • Enhanced skills and knowledge 
  • Opportunity to earn more money
  • Advancement opportunities 
  • Ability to update skills and improve resume 
  • Personal satisfaction 

Reward the Small Steps 

Let’s be honest: earning a degree is a huge goal that can take years. To get through it, people need to have perseverance and celebrate the small wins along the way. 

As an employer, you can help your employees make progress toward a degree by rewarding small steps and removing barriers along the way. These rewards don’t have to be big—some praise and acknowledgement, a free lunch, or an afternoon off are all great ways to help your employees feel good about the progress they’re making. 

Just having someone else invested in the process can make a big difference. Employees who feel like they are being supported in their educational journey are much more likely to finish it. 

Share Your Personal Experiences on How a Degree Helps 

If you’re encouraging your employees to go back to school and finish their degree, then you know how important getting an education is. You might be able to inspire your employees to feel the same way by sharing your story and personal experiences. 

Think about why you got your degree. How has it changed your life? That kind of proof could be just the push your employees need—especially if they see themselves as potential leaders someday.