As a career person, professional development provides you with skill sets that go a long way in keeping you relevant in your field. But sometimes you might not be able to afford to pay for webinars, conferences, online professional courses, or certifications. Thus you might require your employer to assist in sponsoring you, and it can be tricky. How do you go about making such a request, and what is the likelihood of getting a positive response?
The good thing is that a company will more likely invest in your professional development if there’s going to be a return on investment.
Now let’s see how you can navigate the conversation of asking your employer to invest in your professional development.
1. Find the Learning Opportunities you’re Interested In
Professional development in any field requires you to have a variety of hard and soft business skills. The hard skills relate directly related to your job, for instance, data analysis, programming, or accounting. While soft skills cover areas like leadership, team management, communications, or presentation. Your reason for certification may also be tied to areas where the company is struggling and requires expertise.
Once you have identified what kind of skills you need to upgrade, then you can search for the available channels. These may include webinars, online learning courses, certification training, workshops, or trade magazine subscriptions. When selecting a particular type, of course, be prepared to show your employer that the training you require funding for is the most useful and cost-effective option for your personal development.
2. Show Your Employer How These Programs Are Helpful
Once you have carried out your research on the best program, demonstrate to your employer the benefits of the initiative. You can first put it all in writing before making your pitch. And if writing is not one of your strongest suits, then you can make use of a professional writing review service. Try to show the relevance of your personal development to your job and the return on the company’s investment. List out the real problems that you want to improve on and the role the company investing in your personal development will play.
What is the connection between specific learning outcomes and how you’ll put them into practice at the company? For example, if you pick a course on automation software, then you need to show how it will help you to carry out more tasks, save the time spent on certain projects, cut out errors, and improve your overall productivity.
A course in social media marketing should show how you will use it to generate more leads for the company. The same as taking a course in business writing should enhance your report, proposal, or letter writing skills. It could even be a course on staying mentally healthy to boost productivity.
3. Show a Detailed Return on Investment (ROI)
Next, estimate the cost and provide details to your employer. At each stage show, the realistic monetary benefits the company stands to gain if they invest in you. The goal is to show that the investment will not only be returned but that with time, your company profits will increase by more sales or reduced expenses.
Another tip is to target when your company is about to begin its fiscal year. Knowing the right timing can sway your ability to receive funding. Several companies specifically allocate funds towards employees’ professional development. Ask your HR department for information on educational assistance.
Also, you can tell your employer you’ll reimburse the company if you happen to leave your job in less than six months. Besides this being a requirement for most companies, it also shows your employer your level of seriousness in improving your skills not just for personal gains, but also to benefit the company.
4. Make a Specific Request
Do not make a long and empty proposal. Be direct and specific about what you need when informing your employer. Provide direct links to the training, seminar, or certification course your employer is to fund. If you are going to incur ancillary costs such as transportation, lodging, and feeding, also add this to your estimate.
In case you need to take time off work to attend the course, also provide such details. When you intend to leave, how long it will last and when you will return to work. Include your learning schedule if possible. The deadline for course registration should also be provided. Such specific details enable the company to respond in good time. Make a summary of all the details at the end of your proposal. And also show the cost implications if you do not attend the training. For example, what are the opportunity costs?
5. Let the Company Know You Can Share What You’ve Learned with Other Staff
Besides the ROI of leads, conversion, sales, and profit, there are other forms of returns. For instance, you can help the company to maximize the benefits of the investment by passing the knowledge you have gained to your colleagues. In this way, they can save costs on training multiple people, since you are willing to disseminate Knowledge. The chances of working longer with the company are also greater when you are willing to share what you’ve learned.
6. Own Your Professional Development
When asking your employer to invest in your personal development, you don’t entirely leave everything to management. You need to take initiative and present a clear plan to get a better chance of management buy-in. There are a lot of resources and opportunities for professional development within your reach. With a bit of research, thought, and planning, you’re more confident navigating the conversation when asking your employer to invest in your professional development.
Investing in your personal development is not only beneficial to just you but also to your employer. And whereby you require funding from the company, then you will need to approach it with a plan. Decide on the areas you need to skill up, pick a course, show your employer the benefits the company stands to gain, costs, and other relevant details.
Author: Dominic Beaulieu is an expert writer who specializes in creating various training and professional upgrade courses, materials and manuals. He mainly writes on development, digital marketing, design, business strategies, etc. This breadth of specialization allows him to write expert columns on the most pressing topics in today’s society and to specialize in creating writing reviews in Pick The Writer and Writing Judge.