How to invest in education that drives real change on DE&I

According to a recent Fortune/Deloitte survey, 96% of CEOs agree DE&I is a strategic priority

That shouldn’t be a big surprise to those paying attention to U.S. news and culture. What’s more interesting are the top elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion that are being prioritized over the next 12 months: namely, talent recruitment, development, advancement, and retention.

To learn how DE&I executives across the Fortune 500 are building diverse talent pipelines, join us for a webinar on Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. ET.

To make progress on these goals, companies can’t rely on the strategies of yesterday. College recruiting alone won’t solve the problem—Black enrollment in higher education is down 8% since 2010. External hiring is also untenable as competition for talent increases—leading hiring costs to increase and retention to decrease. In addition, targeted employee development programs are often designed for exempt employees and may not be accessible to a large part of the workforce.

The fact is that diversity already exists at companies across industries. Black and Hispanic workers are overrepresented in the frontline compared to the general workforce, yet they have limited job mobility. 

Any strategy for diversity needs to create career advancement opportunities and economic mobility for frontline workers. 

4 elements of an equitable education benefits program

For education to drive real change for employees, it must be accessible and inclusive. These five elements help ensure that the maximum number of employees can take advantage of the program.

  1. Offer a curated marketplace of schools—including Hispanic-serving institutions and HBCUs—that are best-in-class in serving diverse working adults with career-aligned programs. To determine which schools are best, start by looking at graduation rates (especially for non-first-time and part-time students), part-time student retention, loan default rates, earnings after graduation, and career placement data.
  2. Enable direct billing between employers and academic providers, allowing employees to avoid personal out-of-pocket expenses or debt. Costs are a major barrier to education for many: 40% of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover an emergency expense of $400, let alone front the cost of tuition, books, and other fees.
  3. Support employees with dedicated success coaching to overcome barriers and enroll in, persist through, and complete their programs. Many frontline employees are the first in their families to go to college, others didn’t have great experiences their first time at college, and all are balancing the demands of work, life, and family while going back to school. They need support navigating the process, from initial program exploration through coursework and beyond.
  4. Develop employee communications and campaigns to make sure frontline employees are aware of the benefit and understand how to take advantage of the offering. The most generous education benefit won’t make a difference if no one knows about it. Thoughtful, intentional marketing of the benefit helps make it more accessible.


Learn more at an upcoming webinar

For more strategies on developing diverse talent, join us for a webinar on Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. ET.  In this panel moderated by Johnny Taylor, President and CEO of SHRM, leading DE&I executives from across the Fortune 500 will share how they’re driving change at their organization. Learn more and register.

Written by Guild Education

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