Attracting and Retaining Great Employees with Your Education Benefit

Bank of New Hampshire Staff
A Look at the Partnership between Bank of New Hampshire and Granite State College

Providing great benefits is an important component of being an employer of choice; however, it’s important to remember that one size doesn’t fit all. Beyond health insurance and retirement plans, not everyone will consider each and every perk of a benefits package relevant to their lives. From culture to work environment, to commitment to the community and beyond, offering a range of benefits helps companies attract a diverse audience of high quality candidates and nurture them throughout the progression of their careers.

As part of their comprehensive benefits, Bank of New Hampshire has focused on expanding opportunities for growth and development for their employees. With great diversity within its workforce—a range of ages, multiple geographic locations, and mix of banking and non-banking professionals—the obvious training resources in banking weren’t going to fit the goals of every employee.

“We wanted to take our traditional professional development to a whole new level, including our industry-specific training but also for employees who just want a high-quality degree,” shared Kathy Nelson, Associate Vice President – Recruiting and Employee Relations Officer at Bank of New Hampshire.


Granite State CollegeBank of New Hampshire

This desire set the stage for a collaboration between Bank of New Hampshire and Granite State College. In 2016, the presidents of each organization were introduced and between their missions and shared values, it was apparent that they had a lot in common. They soon identified an opportunity to work together to offer a different type of education benefit program to the Bank’s employees. These preliminary conversations soon evolved into a partnership that provides 100% tuition assistance for eligible Bank of New Hampshire employees when they enroll at Granite State College.

“This is something unique that not a lot of companies are doing. Some organizations will pay for degrees or certifications over time, but to get an education that’s essentially free with 100% tuition assistance is something entirely different. When a prospective employee sees that you can go to school for virtually nothing, there’s an appeal to that,” explained Nelson.

Above and beyond the Bank’s desire to enhance their education assistance benefit and the College’s ability to deliver, the partners found that the employees of the bank seamlessly aligned with Granite State’s mission to serve adult students of all ages.

Nelson adds: “The fit was ideal because Granite State College’s whole approach is geared towards the adult learner: those who work, have been out of school for a while, and juggle other priorities. At Bank of New Hampshire, our employees are exactly those people.”

With more than 20 locations and over 300 employees, the flexibility of online courses and select on-campus evening and weekend classes at Granite State College offered a wide range of opportunities for Bank of New Hampshire’s employee demographic. Associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in high-demand fields were hand selected by the Bank and, include a range of diverse programs such as accounting and finance, human resources, marketing, technology management, project management, and leadership. Employees can take up to four courses each year after they’ve worked full-time for the Bank for at least three years. As an employee, the coursework doesn’t interfere with the traditional work schedule and as a student, having a campus that’s local to your community helps provide the support needed to be successful academically.

Upon launching the education assistance benefit, three Bank of New Hampshire employees enrolled immediately at Granite State College. Over the course of the next few terms, that number has steadily grown and in the next fiscal year, they’ve budgeted for more than 20 employees to use this tuition assistance benefit.

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Bank of New Hampshire Employees
Jenn Schaffner, a long-time Bank of New Hampshire employee, is just one of the staff members taking advantage of the education assistance benefit.

“Because of the partnership with Granite State College, I could worry less about paying my tuition and student loan debt because my tuition is covered. The amount of money that I was able to save by using this education assistance is absolutely incredible,” said Schaffner.

As a Business Management major with a Human Resources minor, Schaffner finds that her coursework has helped her gain confidence as she grows her career at Bank of New Hampshire.

She explains, “I am constantly using what I learned in class at work—it’s just so relevant. Working full-time while being a full-time student is tough, so when I was able to apply what I learn, it just reinforced that going back to school as an adult student was 100% the right decision.”

Elizabeth Brothers is another Bank of New Hampshire employee taking advantage of her education assistance benefit by pursuing a degree in business.

“I was extremely nervous to go back to school after all these years with work, motherhood, and everyday life. After just a few weeks in my Organizational Behavior course, I realized that this couldn’t have come at a better time in my life. Effective July 1, 2017, I was promoted to Associate Vice President of Retail Lending! My education at Granite State College is a contributing factor to my success and has helped me become the type of leader that I want to be,” said Brothers.

The enhanced education benefit serves as an extension of the organizational culture at Bank of New Hampshire and speaks to their core values as an employer of choice. Kathy Nelson, Associate Vice President, Recruiting and Employee Relations Officer, explains:

“So many of our employees are looking to better themselves personally and professionally. We have respected colleagues that have been working in banking since they were 16 or 18 years old and have decades of experience, but just never had an opportunity to go to college. Our education benefit and partnership with Granite State College gives them a chance to go back and get that degree not only for their own personal achievement, but also to just enhance their knowledge to be used in their jobs.”

“Supporting our employees in this way gives them another reason to say they are proud to work for Bank of New Hampshire.”


Jenn Schaffner

B.S. in Business Management, Minor in Human Resources

What I’ve learned is that you can get pretty far without a degree, but if you want to take that extra step and get more opportunities, or even just more knowledge about what you currently do, you need a bachelor’s degree.

Jenn Schaffner|Class of 2018

An Affordable Choice for Employer Tuition Assistance

Granite State College is dedicated to helping New Hampshire’s workforce development. We partner with businesses, such as Bank of New Hampshire, to offer an education designed to expand employee’s potential and drive organizational success. We provide employees with access to a range of accredited, high-demand undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

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