Get Your Boss to Pay for Your Professional Development
By Ross Van Wyk
Get Your Manager to Expense Your Professional Development Costs
The 70/20/10 Learning Model is a formula that professional trainers often use when developing curriculum. It suggests 70% of learning should come from hands-on experience, 20% from social interaction and coaching, and 10% from focused course work.
Unfortunately, many organizations overlook the 20 and 10 components of this model and assume workers will advance their skills solely through on-the-job experience.
If this sounds like your company, don’t fret!
Just because your organization hasn't prioritized these aspects of your professional growth, doesn't mean you can't earn your manager’s support.
After all, it’s in their best interest to help you become more effective as a professional.
Here’s what you need to know to wow your boss and get them to pay for professional development...
Get Your Company to Pay For Continuing Education
1. Be Prepared to Answer Their Questions
Earning your bosses support requires thoughtful preparation and a consideration of their needs.
Before you approach your manager, be ready to answer these questions:
How much time will this development opportunity require?
Will it be taking place during work hours?
What kind of support will be needed to cover my workload?
Have others on the team expressed interest in this opportunity? Have they been asked?
What new skills will be developed and how do those relate to key business initiatives?
What is the total cost?
If you have answers ready, you’ll be prepared to handle their immediate concerns.
Nevertheless, you may still get a "let me think about it" response.
How can you handle this objection?
Easy: ask what concerns they have.
The most common concern will be the cost of the program, especially if there isn't a discretionary budget set aside.
But don't give up, you still have a few tricks up your sleeve…
2. Find a Discount Code
You can usually find discount codes if you spend a little bit of time looking online, though you may need to ask the organizers. Event speakers may also have personal discount codes they can share with their network.
Reach out, explain your situation, and ask them if they know of any discount codes—they may be able to help!
The trick is to find the discount code before you meet with your boss to ask for their support. It’s a great way to show your boss how much the opportunity means to you. It also shows you’re a realist who is trying to help them conserve budget.
That said, don’t mention the discount right away. If they object to the opportunity due to its cost, you can share that you found a discount code, which should help to eliminate the objection.
3. Start Negotiations with an Offer to Pay Some of the Cost
If there are no discount codes and your boss refuses to cover the cost, suggest that you pay for some of it.
Offering to help with the cost shows that you’re flexible, and it’s unlikely that your boss will remain rigid and simply refuse—how could they when you’re being so ambitious and willing to make it work! If they still say no, don’t assume they’re penny pinching. They might simply not have the budget, and it could be killing them to say no to you.
If they simply can’t afford it, you can always offer to cover the whole cost, noting that you still need time away from work.
Admittedly, this isn’t the best outcome, but depending on the value the professional development opportunity has for your career, it might be worth the compromise.
4. Multiply The Company's ROI by Teaching Your Team Members
If your boss expresses concerns about paying for your professional development, suggest that you share the knowledge gained with the rest of your team.
If there are nine other people on your team, your boss suddenly gets a 10 for the price of one deal. This greatly increases their return on investment.
Not only that, but it illustrates your ability to coach your colleagues, which positions you as a future leader.
Own Your Professional Growth
Intentional professional development is crucial for young professionals. It provides a sense of forward progress and helps with the acquisition of core skills that are required for career advancement.
However, not all organizations make this a priority. Although the steps outlined here can improve your chances of getting financial support from your organization, they’re is not a silver bullet for success.
Give these tips a shot and do your best to get your company to invest in your professional development. If it doesn’t work out, don’t give up.
There are plenty of free and low-cost professional development opportunities available—you can own your growth!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ross Van Wyk is a seasoned sales professional and Co-Founder of SkillUp, a place where sales and marketing professionals can find the latest free professional development opportunities.