A career growth conversation can be a milestone moment for both boss and employee. More than 80% of employers say helping workers learn on the job is important, yet barely a third know how to do it effectively. Not only that, but a growing majority of workers say getting training opportunities influences their decision to stay or leave. In other words, both sides are in agreement about the importance of on-the-job training.
What is the best way to talk to your boss about career growth education and what should you focus on in the discussion? Can you realistically convince an employer that the company will benefit if you undertake extra professional development?
Knowledge is power. Be prepared to learn
Approaching the boss to discuss work-related training or study might cause some apprehension. You might feel like you’re asking for a favour at the expense of other staff or your job. However, this simply isn’t true as any workplace skills you develop while studying will always benefit the company.
Advancing your skills through a diploma qualification could greatly benefit a company and show that you’ve got the discipline to put your nose to the ground when it comes to education.
Employers value fresh skills, and if they’re going to invest in you, your dedication to knowledge and learning will be an important consideration when deciding if you are getting extra training or not.
What’s in it for the boss?
If an employer is weighing up giving somebody time to study, they’re far more likely to approve a course or subject which can benefit the company.
These days, a third of learning managers deliver training via mobile technology, dramatically cutting time spent away from the workplace. Most managers will want you to succeed and thrive but articulating what the return on their investment (ROI) will be for the business is important.
Try suggesting ways of cutting the company’s expenses or increasing revenue to offset the cost of your professional development. Consider any seminars or career development courses they may think is appropriate. Your forward thinking demonstrates commitment and shows initiative towards furthering your career and the growth of the company.
Be specific and strategic
Companies rely on how well costs are understood and managed to thrive. Simply asking your manager for time off to undertake professional development is not specific enough, even if you can articulate how it will benefit the business.
Do your research and invest a little time understanding the costs associated with what you want to do. That may include course fees, accommodation or flights in the case of interstate conferences. Setting out what it will cost the company overall is just as important as explaining clearly how it will benefit by investing this time and money in you.
You will be looked upon more favourably for understanding the nature of business and how gaining a diploma, or an industry qualification will be a personal gain and a benefit for company growth. You must prove you are committed to your job and to helping the business thrive and succeed.
Practice makes perfect
Asking your boss for further education or training can be a daunting task. You need to prepare yourself to ‘sell’ the message and benefits to your boss.
Very few of the best orators in history were born with the gift to speak well in front of big crowds or in times of stress. They practised, and then practised some more. Once you’re confident about the ‘what you want to say’, stand in front of the bathroom mirror and pretend you’re talking to your boss. Think of potentially ‘tricky’ questions your boss may ask and practice answering them. It might seem a little weird, but it works!
The pay-off will be that you’ve succeeded in securing further training for yourself and potentially other colleagues too. Be respectful and confident, and your boss will be impressed by your initiative to help grow your character and their business.
Make the goal of securing yourself a diploma or a qualification a reality.