retail news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC reports that as businesses struggle "to convince workers to work in person and face the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant," they are looking for ways to improve their benefits programs.  One benefit gaining currency:  tuition reimbursement.

The story notes that "earlier this year, Walmart, the biggest employer in the world, announced that it would offer free college for all 1.4 million of its U.S. employees.   The benefit builds on a program introduced by the retail behemoth in 2018, which offered subsidized higher education for employees who would pay just $1 per day to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or supply chain management from the University of Florida, Brandman University and Bellevue University."

CNBC notes that "over the past several years, Walmart has been far from the only large employer to offer, expand, and advertise its employee education benefits. Some of the biggest employers in the country, including Amazon, Chipotle, Target and Starbucks now offer college as a benefit."

The story points out that "according to recent research from EdAssist Solutions, 45% of American workers feel their education became even more important for their growth in the past year. Researchers also found that 30% of working adults list not having the money to pay for an education program as the top barrier to pursuing advanced education."

KC's View:

This isn't a new concept - tuition reimbursement used to be standard at a lot of companies.  Mrs. Content Guy got her MBA 40 years ago in part using tuition reimbursement programs offered by the companies where she worked.  (She's much better educated than I am.)

What I hope retailers are realizing, even beyond the immediate need to attract employees, is that they need to find ways to treat workers as if they are assets, not costs, and demonstrate that they want to invest in those employees if they want their workers to feel invested in their companies.