Why employers should support their employees studying part-time

Two persons shaking hands.
Supportive employers profit from happy and growing employees.

· Has your employee just asked for support with their plan to study part-time? Find out in this article what’s in for you!

· You found this tremendous part-time study programme and need to convince your boss to support you? Get some inspiration for arguments in your favour in this article!

“How are you handling work and study life?” was one of the many questions that popped up among my fellow students during our first presence week of our part-time master’s programme in Content Strategy in Graz. “Does your employer support you studying?” was another essential question.

While most employers embrace their employees for seeking personal and professional development, others only tolerate it. There might even be employers who deny their employees such a possibility — luckily not amongst us.

After all, studying employees also carry the newly gained knowledge back into the company. But there is also the other side of the coin: employees enrolled in studies are less flexible in terms of time, their energy level might drop, and don’t they even dare to ask for a raise after graduation. So, why should employers support their employees to study part-time? Here’s why!

1. Lifelong learning — the key to success

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
— Albert Einstein

More than ever, lifelong learning is inevitable. With rapidly evolving technologies, most employees can no longer afford to stay at the same old level once they enter the workforce. And the other way round: companies gain nothing if their employees work exclusively on the status quo.

On the contrary: employers should be thrilled about employees who are motivated to learn new things, who challenge themselves to develop themselves further — be it personally or professionally. In the end, the company will benefit from the new knowledge its employees will bring to the table.

In addition, the desire to learn is very natural. Most people possess it. Supporting the employee in pursuing it, therefore, always means keeping their motivation level high. And who wouldn’t want to do that?

2. Motivated employees are the best employees

Have you ever observed yourself doing a task you did not feel motivated to work on? And how about a job you felt enthusiastic to complete?

I guess we can agree that motivation plays a crucial role in our daily work. Whenever we are motivated, things come much easier to us. An employee who receives support from their employer in their studies feels appreciated. And an employee who feels valued is usually much more motivated to step into the breach for their employer.

On the other hand: An employee whose employer puts obstacles in the course of their professional development will very probably get frustrated soon.

In a nutshell: Don’t kill your employee’s motivation by not meeting their desire for further development!

3. New perspectives — the solution to most problems

It’s not only the sheer learning and deepening of professional knowledge of a part-time study programme that is beneficial. It is also the influence of new people: Working together with people with different backgrounds and diverse professional experiences is very enriching. This is an aspect that my fellow student Rosa also highlights in her article Study and work? Why the double burden is worth it.

If you only surround yourself with the same people and same views day in and day out, you will never find new ways of looking at things. It’s the new people with different experiences that challenge you and open up new perspectives for you.

And along the way, you can also learn from their expertise in another field.

4. Booster for time management skills

Employees with children have mostly perfected them: their time management skills. But also, employees who juggle a job and studies at the same time inevitably learn to structure themselves better. Managing their timetable, coordinating with colleagues and fellow students, planning ahead, and meeting deadlines: all that requires a high level of time management.

In the beginning, the double burden might be a rough ride. There will be pushbacks. But in the end, the employee will grow.

By the way, to get things done, my fellow students Linda Puntschart and Linda Schwarz both (what a funny coincidence, huh?) swear by the Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo.

5. Supportive companies are more attractive for potential employees

And finally, a working relationship is not a one-way street. Not only do applicants have to meet the employer’s requirements — but the company also needs to attract the applicant. Why else would they choose the company over its competitor?

Companies that are known for their focus on developing their employees are more attractive to applicants than those that only advertise free fruit and drinks. Or as Josef Günthner (Co-founder & CEO at PALTRON) puts it in his article 8-Point Checklist for Attractive Employers (in 2020): “Anyone trying to save money here is only harming themselves.”

Conclusion:

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a part-time master’s programme or a short-term course that focuses on a particular topic your employee is interested in — play a supportive role for your employee! In the end, both sides can only win. Your employee will feel valued and will gain new motivation to do a great job, and you will have a highly qualified, loyal employee that enriches your company.

You’re on the other side, and your employer doesn’t want to support you with your studies, although it is your heart’s desire? Leave your employer if you can’t convince them! Another company will be thrilled to have you.

Did I miss another strong argument? Or do you contradict? Let me know!

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Hi, welcome to my Medium page. I’m Meike, based in Berlin, communication allrounder, nature lover and currently studying Content Strategy.

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Meike Koch

Hi, welcome to my Medium page. I’m Meike, based in Berlin, communication allrounder, nature lover and currently studying Content Strategy.