Workplace Certification, To do or not to do?

In today's competitive business landscape, companies are continually striving to enhance their workforce's skills and capabilities. One way they accomplish this is by investing in employee knowledge & skills through acquiring certifications. These certifications provide employees with specialized knowledge and expertise in their role, benefiting both the employees and the organizations they serve. However, like any strategic decision, there are risks and rewards associated with businesses paying for employee continued education. Let’s explore some of the potential pitfalls and advantages of this so you, as business leaders, can make informed decisions regarding training and development initiatives.

One of the primary concerns for businesses paying for employee certifications is the financial burden it can impose. Any form of continued education often comes with significant costs, including training fees, exam fees, study materials, or even potential travel expenses. Moreover, certifications usually require regular renewal, adding to the long-term financial commitment. For small businesses or those operating on tight budgets, these expenses can strain resources and impact overall financial stability.

There is always a possibility that employees may not fully utilize their certified skills within the organization. Perhaps the certified skills do not align with the company's current or future needs, this would make the investment prove to be less valuable. This risk emphasizes the importance of aligning training initiatives with the organization's strategic objectives and regularly assessing the relevance of certifications to ensure maximum return on investment.

However, by investing in employee continued education, businesses can develop a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Certified employees gain a deeper understanding of their respective fields, acquiring up-to-date knowledge and best practices. This enhanced expertise can lead to improved productivity, higher quality outputs, and greater customer satisfaction. Ultimately, it strengthens the company's reputation and competitiveness in the market. According to a study conducted by Lorman Education Services, Retention rates rise 30-50% at companies with strong learning cultures.

In industries where certifications are highly regarded, such as engineering or accounting, having a certified workforce can provide a significant competitive advantage. Certifications serve as a validation of expertise, instilling confidence in clients and customers. This competitive edge can open doors to new business opportunities, attracting clients who prioritize working with certified professionals. Additionally, certifications can contribute to industry recognition, and brand image. 76% of employees say that a company would be more appealing if it offered additional skills training to its staff, according to that same Lorman study.

So how do you balance these dichotomies? The reality is businesses should conduct thorough research and align learning programs with their strategic goals and industry demands. By identifying the most relevant and valuable certifications, organizations can minimize the risk of investing in unnecessary or outdated training.

Likewise, continuous evaluation of the certified employees' performance and skills is crucial. Businesses should regularly assess the relevance of certifications, provide opportunities for professional growth, and support employees in maintaining and expanding their knowledge. This ensures that certifications remain valuable and aligned with the organization's evolving needs.

In conclusion, investing in employee education & skills can be a double-edged sword for businesses. While there are risks involved, the potential rewards are significant and can contribute to the overall growth and success of an organization. By carefully considering the risks, implementing mitigation strategies, and aligning certification initiatives with strategic objectives, businesses can maximize the benefits of supporting their employees' professional development. Ultimately, finding the right balance between risk and reward is key to creating a workforce that is highly skilled, engaged, and capable of driving the company forward in a competitive marketplace.


Alex Vial
HR Advisor, HR Services

Alex obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a focus in Human Resource Management from The University of New Orleans. He has worked in a variety of industries, including not-for-profit organizations, Telecommunications/IT, and Solar/Renewables. In his career, he has focused on human resource and legal compliance for companies operating in multiple states, Professional Development and employee trainings, employee engagement, onboarding, offboarding, and conflict resolution. Alex believes the best part of HR is helping companies create pro-employee cultures, increasing retention and reducing recruiting costs. Alex loves tackling new challenges on behalf of his customers at empact and Crescent.

His personal philosophy is “The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.” – Ryan Holiday