Stores are stocking shelves with back to school items; folders, pink erasers and glue sticks galore. This time of year is a great reminder of the importance of preparing for education; although this reminder should not end with your kids back packs. Education should extend long beyond those yellow school bus days. Organizations that incorporate education and training into the workplace are more successful and profitable, and their employees are happier.

In a recent study of 550 U.S. CEOs, 25 percent identified the need for workplace education programs as a top challenge. Research shows that improving employee skills creates employees who work smarter and better cope with change in the workplace, management relations and result in higher profitability. When employees learn that high-quality work is crucial to the success of the organization and to their own job security, they are more meticulous. Understanding how their efforts fit into the big picture, and then receive the skills to meet those demands, the quality of their work generally rises.

This leads to a host of direct economic benefits for the employer, including increased production of products and services, reduced time per task, reduced error rate, a better health and safety record, reduced waste in production of goods and services, increased customer retention and increased employee retention. It also produces a variety of indirect economic benefits, such as improved quality of work, better team performance, improved capacity to cope with change in the workplace and improved capacity to use new technology. These indirect economic benefits, although less tangible and more difficult to measure precisely than the direct benefits, have an important impact on organizational performance.

Organizations can take baby steps to get started. An important first step is assessing the education needs at your company. Understanding what skills and learning gaps exist is essential to designing a well-founded program. Education and training partners like NorthStar360 can help design and implement a survey tool to help the management team assess and prioritize these training needs. Next comes the training and then an assessment tool to see quantitative results. The qualitative results are evident in the new found confidence of your employees and new energy in the hallways.