Benefits and Compensation, Learning & Development

Benefits Trend: Employer-Provided Professional Certifications

For some roles, like human resources, specific credentials are required—think Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). For some industries, like finance and accounting, professionals need certifications that show they’re licensed to offer the services in those industries—for example, a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) working with banks and lenders.  Certifications
As more employers are looking for ways to attract talent, have you considered offering employer-provided benefits that help workers obtain specific certifications and credentials? With younger generations seeking out employers who offer professional development opportunities, employer-provided professional certifications could be your best bet at attracting today’s top talent.
“Given the tight hiring market, companies are doing more to attract and retain top talent,” says Steve Saah, Executive Director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting—in a press release. “For job seekers, continuing education aid can set an employer apart. Organizations investing in employees’ growth show they value team members’ contributions and career progression.”
According to global financial recruitment firm, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, most (94%) Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) said their companies foot the bill for some or all costs for staff to obtain professional certifications. Ninety-five percent provide full or partial support to maintain credentials. While the financial industry may be setting this trend, employers in every industry can reap the benefits of this “benefit.”

The Benefits of Professional Development Benefits

Executives reported bottom-line benefits from this incentive, with increased productivity (41%) and enhanced retention efforts (30%). CFOs also indicated providing financial assistance for employees’ professional development can bring in additional revenue, contribute to succession planning, and enhance information-sharing among colleagues.
“Firms reap major benefits by supporting their staff’s professional development,” says Saah. “Employees can take what they learn, including industry trends and best practices, and apply that knowledge to meet business objectives and coach their colleagues.”
While most businesses offer this benefit, small companies lag behind their larger counterparts. One-sixth (17%) of organizations with 20 to 49 employees don’t help with expenses for obtaining certifications, compared to just 3% of firms with 1,000 or more staff members. How can small businesses implement this benefit on a budget?

Enter MOOCs

Massive open online courses (MOOCs)—such as the ones administered on platforms like EdX and Udemy—have grown in popularity and standing in the past few years. Many employers are starting to rely on them to teach their own employees in the workplace and are beginning to view them more favorably overall.
Most MOOCs are free to any student and therefore free to employers. And for those few courses that do require a fee, the fee is usually less than $500 per course and is certainly much less than typical fees required by a traditional higher education institution. For small employers on a budget, MOOCs may be your best bet at offering professional development opportunities as a way to attract talent.