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From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.
Tim Vogt wasn’t the ideal student. He paid attention during class, but homework was an inconvenience he’d rather not deal with. As a result, Vogt didn’t earn his high school diploma.
He didn’t need one to do his job as a driver for North American freight company XPO. “But it was kind of always in the back of my mind, like, ‘Hey, one day I’d like to finish that,’” he said. “It was just not something that was within my reach at the time.”
In 2019, XPO started offering employees a tuition reimbursement program. Two years later, Vogt used it to earn his GED. Now, he’s working toward his associate degree.
Providing benefits and programs that allow employees to pursue their education isn’t just a nice gesture—it can benefit an organization by positively impacting retention and recruiting. Around three in five employees who have access to an education benefit say they feel a sense of loyalty to their current employer, according to HR Dive research. Additionally, 62% would change jobs for better tuition benefits.
“We really try to think about the employee from a holistic viewpoint,” Carolyn Roach, CHRO for XPO, told HR Brew. “That includes making sure they can be the best that they can at their current jobs, future jobs, and then also provide financially for themselves [and] their families. We know that furthering education can help.”
The 411. The annual tuition reimbursement of $5,250 is not the only way XPO is investing in the education of its 22,000 employees. The company also offers academic partner discounts that allow XPO employees to earn tuition-free college degrees online in over 80 fields.
Through XPO’s Driver School, employees can earn a commercial driver’s license for free, and by enrolling in the Grow at XPO program, hourly workers will receive training and learn new skills from different departments within the company, allowing them the chance to pursue new opportunities within XPO.
XPO also has a program that gives recent grads the opportunity to develop skills through role rotations, on-the-job learning, and tailored training, and XPO University, which provides recent grads and military veterans with career development training and leadership training.
Company impact. This year alone, XPO has retained 93% of the employees who used its tuition reimbursement program benefit. And since creating Grow at XPO in 2020, XPO has retained 91% of its hourly dockworkers, drivers, and customer service reps who participated.
By offering employees and candidates access to a variety of educational opportunities, Roach said it can cultivate top talent who it may have not had access to as a result of educational barriers.
“It gives us access to a more diverse set of employees, and I don’t just mean diverse from a racial or gender standpoint,” Roach said. “I mean diversity of backgrounds. We recognize there’s a lot of untapped talent out there in the market that maybe hasn’t had the same access or opportunity to education.”