A degree of good will

Just read an interesting story about tuition reimbursement policies in the Workforce Management newsletter. The author says that tuition reimbursement plans have generally survived budget cuts, but that companies are increasingly looking to measure their efficiency. Clearly, a tuition reimbursement plan promotes employee loyalty while the employee is in school, but are companies able to hold on to these employees when they graduate?

To me it makes sense for a company to seek a commitment from an employee when they underwrite their education in a meaningful way, but at the same point, the company should be looking to use that person's knowledge. If not, the advanced degree is not useful to the company, wasting the company's financial investment, as well as the benefit of the employee's good will and ambition, both at ready for the company's use. 

Obviously, it is a waste to the employee as well, even if the employee doesn't contribute a cent. That's because the employee still invests considerable time to gain the degree. But, without the opportunity to use the degree, the knowledge may soon become irrelevant and dated and the employee's time investment in her career is squandered. If enough time goes by, the knowledge may not even be enough to help the employee land in a more appreciative company.