For most people, asking your company to pay for training and development falls under the “awkward conversations I wish I could avoid” umbrella.
But asking for training shouldn’t be as scary as you think. For starters, most employers expect these conversations and a reasonable manager isn’t going to penalize an employee for simply bringing up the topic.
Most businesses encourage continued learning and development, even if they don’t have a formal training assistance program in place. So, rest assured, your boss is probably more than happy to discuss building your career and the benefits it might bring to the company!
Asking for training should follow similar rules as asking for a raise: Do your research, Build your case, Make your pitch and Prepare for the response.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do your homework on all the different kinds of training options out there and prepare a shortlist of those that interest you. Look at courses of different lengths and price ranges to have a variety of options to present. If you want to pursue something more long-term like a Bachelors degree, then present it in terms of one or two classes per semester. Also, be mindful of your work commitments and how it might affect them. For example, don’t ask for a week-long interstate training course during peak season for your office.
BUILD YOUR CASE
Know what the outcome of this training will be and how it will benefit the business. For example, if you are looking to add graphic design skills to your repertoire, explain how this could lead to cost savings in the future as the company can then bring some design costs in-house. It’s also a good exercise to make sure you are investing in something of value and not just going to training just for the sake of it.
MAKE YOUR PITCH
Set up a time to speak with your manager in person, either with a special appointment or during a periodic review. But be mindful of the financial state of the business. If your company is openly working on a tight budget, now might not be the right time to ask for any costly training. But you also shouldn’t assume that they will dismiss your request simply because of budgetary constraints. Remember, highly-skilled employees benefit the business as well and improve employee retention.
PREPARE FOR THE RESPONSE
If the answer is a ‘no’, don’t give up just yet; there are other options to consider. If the problem is cost, you may want to suggest paying part of the costs yourself. Or if the issue is timing, ask when might be a better time to revisit the matter, or try to find an option outside of office hours. Remember it’s important not to neglect your own professional development even if your company won’t pay for it. Keeping your skill set up to date and employable will benefit you in the long run.