Describe the key problems with the tuition-aid program.

During the past 14 years, Garden Gate Inc. has grown from a small local garden supply company into a diversified corporation with stores in 36 states and net sales of almost $1.4 billion. The company currently employs 26,500 people and has been expanding at a 12 percent annual rate. Garden Gate expects to continue this pace of growth for at least five more years. The company has a talent philosophy of treating its employees as investors and spends heavily on their training and development. The firm also has a generous tuition-aid program that allows qualified employees to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees part time if the degree they are pursuing is consistent with their career plans established in conjunction with their supervisors.

Last year the company spent $350,000 on tuition aid and recently decided to more closely evaluate the program’s effectiveness. The evaluation was prompted by the recent departure of Jill Ises, who stated that her reason for leaving was that she had not been promoted in the year since she had received her MBA degree. Her career plan had been to become a senior accountant in one of the company’s regional offices, and she received high performance appraisal evaluations while earning good grades in the accounting program. Five regional accounting manager positions (the job in between Jill’s current job and her desired senior accountant position) had been filled in the past year, and Jill had not been contacted about any of them. Further investigation identified 17 other tuition-aid beneficiaries who had left in the past year. Like Ises, these people said that their lack of being promoted after earning their degrees was the primary reason for their leaving. The following table describes the 18 employees who received tuition aid but left the company because they had not been promoted.

The company’s review of its internal hiring policy identified the following three primary sources for identifying internal talent, and some problems with them:

  1. Supervisors are asked to nominate employees they feel are qualified for openings in the company, but there are often dozens of open positions, and many supervisors do not regularly review the internal job postings.
  2. The firm’s HR professionals try to match open positions with employees who fit the criteria for them by looking at the company’s skills inventory database. Unfortunately, the information in the database is often outdated or incomplete.
  3. The departments that have openings recommend employees they feel are promotable.
  4. Garden Gate’s management is concerned that it is not realizing a sufficient return on its considerable investment in its tuition-aid program, and is considering discontinuing the program.

Questions

  1. Describe the key problems with the tuition-aid program.

  2. Does the information in the table indicate any special problems or issues? What do you suggest Garden Gate do about them?

  3. Should Garden Gate discontinue its tuition-aid program?

  4. Create a plan to improve the retention of tuition-aid recipients.

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