Chief Learning Officer - May 2006 - (Page 66)

CO0506.qxd 4/18/06 3:07 PM Page 66 in conclusion Tuition Assistance: Corporate Entitlement or Strategic Investment? Jeanne C. Meister C h i e f learning Chief learning officers are increasingly responsi- Create criteria for the selection of universi- ble for the management of both enterprise learn- ty partners. This exercise is similar to creat- officers are ing as well as tuition assistance programs, but are ing selection criteria for corporate training increasingly they prepared to manage both strategically? vendors: You should be as specific as possible and develop the criteria as part of an exercise responsible for According to a study conducted by the Council of the learning team. For example, when for Adult and Experiential Learning CAEL , the management of Ingersoll-Rand University searched for a uni- among 1,304 human resource professionals across versity partner for its customized e-MBA pro- b o t h enterprise the United States, roughly 85 percent agree that gram, its five key selection criteria identified tuition assistance programs are important as a learning as well as were cost of the program, ranking and awards strategic investment. But almost 40 percent of garnered by the university partner, flexibility t u i t i o n assistance these companies do not know the impact of their in customization of MBA curriculum, ability tuition assistance programs in terms of the recip- p r o g r a m s, b u t are to incorporate specific business goals of ient's job performance, retention or promotion. Ingersoll-Rand into the MBA curriculum and t h e y prepared to faculty experience with delivering learning in This situation is leading a growing number of m a n a g e both a blended format online and on site at corporations to house tuition assistance pro- Ingersoll-Rand University. strategically? grams in the corporate learning department. This is an attempt to govern tuition assistance as Develop specific metrics to measure the value a program to be managed in terms of business of your investment in tuition assistance pro- outcomes rather than a program to be adminis- grams. Test and control panels can be created tered as a corporate benefit. Although CLOs of similar employees to measure such outcomes continue to refine dashboards to measure the as improvements in employee performance, ROI of the corporate learning budget, few, if any, productivity, promotion and retention of have applied the same rigor to developing a con- employees who participate in tuition assistance sistent methodology for measuring the ROI for programs versus those who do not participate. higher education programs. Benchmark corporations that are at the If you have recently been given the additional forefront of managing tuition assistance as a responsibility to manage tuition assistance pro- strategic investment. Inquire about the grams, you should consider this a significant results they have achieved, how they manage opportunity to align your organization's educa- the programs in-house or outsourced and tional investment with its strategic priorities. key business results achieved due to invest- Setting up people, processes and metrics to ment in higher-education programs. Some manage tuition assistance programs strategical- companies to begin benchmarking include ly is now viewed as part of the equation to Ingersoll-Rand, John Deere and Intel. manage learning as a business. In short, there are five action steps you can take immediately Begin thinking about customized education to show increased impact to the organization: versus open-ended tuition assistance pro- grams. Although open tuition assistance pro- Commission an audit of the total amount grams will not be gone overnight, more CEOs May 2006 spent on tuition assistance programs. Just as will ask the same hard questions of their an audit is the first step in obtaining visibili- tuition assistance investment that they cur- ty into corporate learning spend, a tuition I I Chief Learning Officer rently ask of their enterprise learning invest- assistance audit will focus on the processes, ment: How much did we spend? What was the policies, metrics and spend in tuition assis- specific business outcome in terms of improve- tance across the range of university partners. ments in productivity, retention, time to com- Many companies admit they either underes- petency and achievement of business results? timate or simply do not know the total How can we improve and manage this func- amount spent on tuition assistance programs tion as a high-performing business unit? until undertaking a formal audit. One major Jeanne Meister is a high-technology firm estimated spending $25 In fact, it's time to ask the hard questions of research fellow at Accenture million in tuition assistance, but an audit your tuition assistance program before your Learning. She can be reached revealed it spent twice that amount. CEO asks you. at 66

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Chief Learning Officer - May 2006

Editor's Note
Table of Contents
Letters to the Editor
Take Five
Selling Up, Selling Down
Guest Editorial
Learning Solutions
Robbins-Gioia University
Deloitte & Touche USA
CLO Profile
Washington Gas
Case Study
Human Capital
Health Care Service Corp.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida
Business Intelligence
In Conclusion
Advertiser's Index
Editorial Resources

Chief Learning Officer - May 2006