There are those of us who, if offered $5,000 to put toward our own education or professional betterment, would snap it up in a heartbeat. Free money to learn? For fun? Done. But there are also some of us who hear “learning stipend” and feel our palms start to sweat. Maybe our time outside of work is already filled to the brim with commitments or the thought of taking a continuing education course evokes memories of staying up all night to finish a final paper or being hopeless in a subject everyone else seemingly breezed through.
There's so many ways to learn, and we embrace them all at IEX. Whether you’re taking an online course on blockchain at MIT, a workshop on mastering PowerPoint and Excel, receiving career and leadership coaching or signing up for a subscription to Bloomberg, it all counts. We believe learning stipends create environments that empower employees to expand their expertise, allow them to explore what’s new in their fields in a variety of ways . The ultimate goal is to inspire everyone to bring that knowledge to their work and professional development.
Never Stop Learning and Growing
Every full-time employee is eligible for an annual reimbursement of up to $5,000 in education costs. What they do with it is up to them. One of IEX’s team standards is to “be gritty” and to “never stop learning and growing,” so the sky’s pretty much the limit when it comes to the options they can put their stipend money toward. As long as it is focused on their professional development and their manager agrees it will help them thrive in their work, there is no skill out there that is too hard or soft for an IEXer to brush up on.
Here’s what’s covered by the stipend:
• Educational courses or webinars
• Degree programs
• Membership fees to professional organizations, subscriptions for scholarly journals, business-related news outlets, books and computer-based resources
And here's how it works:
• Choose their learning options
• Meet with their manager to discuss their learning opportunity and get their support
• Get learning
Don’t Sleep On It
Learning stipends don’t roll over into the next year, and get forfeited if they’re not used, so don’t let the opportunity languish to attend every panel at an awesome "women in tech" conference, or to show off your Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads Ultimate Boxed Set on your desk.
If you miss your chance, however, all is not lost: Though the stipends don’t roll over, employees get a fresh $5,000 each year to spend. Team members also don’t have to spend their stipend all in one place. Maybe their reimbursement is spread across an online course, a subscription to the Wall Street Journal, and career coaching. We’re flexible.
Take it From Some Learned IEXers
Obi Nwaigwe, a business analytics specialist for IEX Exchange, and Sean Spector, a product manager for Dispatch, used courses they took with their learning stipends to move into new roles within IEX and its businesses.
“I took a data analytics course at General Assembly and a KDB class via Kx Academy for fun during the Covid lockdown,” says Obi, who was originally in the Compliance department at IEX.
After he started sharing insights from his coursework with some of his colleagues, “business leads noticed and offered me the opportunity to transition to the Exchange business analytics team. From there, I kept enhancing my skillset from their teachings.“
“Learning different programming languages helped me to better understand the problems Dispatch engineers are up against and to meet them with greater empathy as a teammate.”
Jessie Schroeder, who oversees marketing operations and analytics, used her stipends to take a writing course on op-ed and persuasive writing, as well as creative writing. She also hired a career coach to help her evaluate and better harness her strengths and goals.
“My courses put me back in touch with the concept of writing not just to convey information, but to connect with another human and build rapport,” she says. “That can feel like a ‘nice-to-have,’ but that’s the kind of soft skill that can help you create content that’s actually compelling and successfully engages an audience.”
After working with a career coach, she also zeroed in on the aspects of marketing she found most enriching and worked with her manager to incorporate them into her role, shifting from a position as a product marketing manager to operations.
Go For It
IEXers concerned they don’t have the time or energy to embark on something new should put those worries aside. “It can feel like your schedule (and brain) are just too busy to add on something new to your plate,” says Jessie. “But, if you think about from the perspective of what would be fun, exciting, and energy-giving, chances are you’ll think of a learning opportunity that sits at the intersection of those qualities and something that could potentially impact your immediate career. My writing course was a great way to grow a universally applicable soft skill (writing) in a very low-pressure environment where it was really impossible to fail – I only had to show up, have fun, and see what happened.”
Learn more about the benefits of working at IEX and check out iex.io/careers