This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 4, 2005

Corporate Schools as a Benefit

Soon, employers will once again be looking for creative ways to recruit and hold desired employees. They know an integral part of this search will involve building corporate communities that link and engage workers and their families. Benefit packages will be comprehensive and individually tailored. The targeted candidates will perceive a very attractive opportunity…more than just a job. Employers focused on developing and maintaining a high-talent, stable workforce will invest more and go the extra mile. These unique relationships will differentiate these organizations from their competition.

In the late 1990s, when recruiters were active in a seller's labor market, a number of ideas were proposed, explored, and implemented. One of those experiments was the strategy of providing a high quality school, on or near the company property, for children of company employees. Established as charter schools, in collaboration with local school districts, these educational programs offered families an exciting alternative to public or private schools.

Previously, enrollment in the schools was limited to children of employees and, in some cases, contractors. The company subsidized the budget, providing financial support to hire highly effective teachers. The students had new books and all the needed support materials. Ideal for child-parent relationships, students came in with their parents in the morning and stayed until their parents were ready to go home in the evening. The extended time period allowed for longer classes, more tutoring, and stimulating learning. Included in the eight-hour daily curriculum were experiences that taught leadership, interpersonal relations, and how to function as part of a community.

Parent-employees were so thrilled with these incredible opportunities for their children, it was easy to recruit families…and retain them. Who would want to leave and pull their kids out of such a wonderful learning environment?

In the new, more competitive employment market, this benefit will be re-energized. The Scottsdale, Arizona, school system is already exploring an alternative that fits this model. To boost student enrollment, Superintendent John Baracy is considering locating satellite kindergarten classes at Scottsdale's largest employers, targeting employees who live and/or work in the area. Expect more such innovative ideas to surface.

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