When you think of the phrase, “back to school” it can bring up several images – it could bring up memories of when you were a youngster, enjoying the summer and all of a sudden faced with the reality that school would be starting up again very shortly.
It could also bring up the parent’s checklist of making sure all the required shots and immunizations are in place, enrollment forms completed, paper and pencils purchased, new shoes bought, etc.
As a business owner it could mean one of two things and that is what I am going to go over. What are those two things?
- Back to school could mean looking at your current programs to see if you have policies in place for your employees regarding day care, dependent medical coverage, time off requirements, and communication between employees and their supervisor.
- The second issue of back to school could be looking at your current tuition policy and how supporting your current employees in furthering their education by going back to school can enhance your business and help retain some key people.
So, let’s look at these two issues.
The first one is probably the issue most employers need to concentrate on to start. The work/life balance is very important to the family worker who needs and wants the job, but also wants to make sure their children are in school. If you can make sure you have good clearly stated policies and programs, your employee will be more relaxed and productive at work. If they feel they have to hide what they are doing from you, they will not be as productive and your business may suffer.
This might be a good time to do an audit of your “back to school” policies and programs. Do you know what types of programs your employees need? Have you talked to your insurance broker to find out what types of insurance in available for a family and how to keep the cost down? Do your policies reflect what you what them to regarding flex time or school visitation? Some states have specific regulations that allow parents time off to attend school functions. Does your state have such a rule? Do you communicate openly with your employees to let them know you care and are flexible enough to work with them on this issue?
The second part of the issue is providing your own “back to school” for your employees. It could be as simple as adding some specific training that managers might have asked for but you haven’t implemented. Many employees want to increase their effectiveness on the job by taking classes. Maybe you can talk to your local community college and see if you can develop a program that will offer your employees the education they are looking for at a reasonable price. It may or may not be feasible but you won’t know until you ask.
Putting together a reimbursement policy will help define what you will offer and what the employee must do to participate. You might start with required training classes or supervision classes and see what the response might be. There are some great on-line courses and training programs. The bottom line is, if your employees know you care enough to help them go back to school, they will probably stay with you for a long, long time.
Therefore, brush off the heat of the summer and get ready for the new school year. The economy has been down, businesses have been slow, but you can turn up the pace by getting a jump start on going back to school.