Most employers want well-educated, talented employees — but few employers are willing to pay to educate and improve the talents of those employees they already have. What results amongst the workforce is low morale, low loyalty, low productivity, and ultimately, low engagement as workers begin to resent the demand for skills and knowledge they cannot obtain without expensive schooling. Slowly, but surely, employers replace these defunct workers with newer, more educated hires, and this cycle continues in perpetuity, costing everyone absurd amounts of money, time, and energy.

Education benefits programs are exceedingly beneficial for both employers and employees. For one, they eliminate an employer’s race to constantly replace outdated employees. For another, it improves workers’ skills and knowledge, giving them higher earning potential for the rest of their careers. Finally, it improves organizations overall by increasing productivity and profits with enhanced work.

Employees’ Benefits of Education Benefits

It should be relatively obvious how education benefits employees. As the ones acquiring the advanced education, employees directly receive enriched knowledge and enhanced skills, making them more adept at their jobs and more likely to rise high in their careers. Additional training and education tends to dramatically increase an employee’s earning potential by at least $500,000 and as much as $1.5 million over a lifetime of work. Further, because employees are qualified for higher positions in within the company, they typically stand to gain better benefits packages and perks, improving their quality of life substantially.

Online education programs are particularly advantageous for employees looking to remain with the same employer. Unlike traditional school, in which students must arrange their schedules around objectively planned courses, online programs allow students to fit education into their existing lifestyles — which means they don’t have to miss work to attend classes. Employees can continue their careers uninterrupted while enhancing their abilities through education. Plus, many modern employers are coming to respect online degrees more, as the best MBA online rivals the best MBA on campus in preparing students for real-world challenges.

Yet, there is one downside to education for most employees: Cost. Even online programs require tuition, and many employees cannot spare a portion of their salary to return to school. That’s why education benefits programs are so advantageous. Employer-sponsored education relieves some or all the costs of advanced education, so employees can better themselves without the significant financial risk. However, few employers doubt that employees gain from such programs; most are concerned education benefits are not beneficial to the entity that really matters: the business.

Employers’ Benefits of Education Benefits

In truth, employers stand to win much by supporting their employees’ educations, and they stand to gain in a variety of ways. First, better educated employees tend to be more effective at their jobs, increasing their productivity. Higher productivity amongst the workforce means bigger, better, and faster profits for the business, which leads to growth and success.

However, more importantly, employees who take advantage of employer-sponsored education programs are more likely to be closely engaged with their work. Employee engagement is vital for a number of reasons: It increases productivity, it reduces turnover, it improves customer relations, and it helps a workforce stay physically and mentally healthy. Furthermore, it helps low-level employees reach higher positions within the same company, giving businesses executives who are familiar with operations and the brand — and who are strongly devoted to achieving success.

There are several ways employers can ensure they receive such benefits from their sponsored education programs. Some businesses only grant access to their education programs after employees have remained with the company for a specific amount of time, proving their commitment to their employer. Others mandate a certain amount of service after the degree program is complete, so employees can utilize their newfound skills and knowledge to better the company. However, such measures are typically unnecessary: 61 percent of workers who received sponsored training reported that they were likely to remain with their employers for five years or more, proving their education led to strong, long-term engagement.

On one hand, employers are more likely to retain employees in whom they have invested, so workers can enjoy more job security; on the other hand, workers are more likely to feel indebted to companies that have invested in them, so they are more likely to remain loyal and hardworking into the future. Ultimately, both parties get what they want from education benefits programs: improvement, engagement, and success.