To avoid feeling stagnant in our careers we know we need to grow, learn new skills, to try new experiences to build on our existing knowledge.  As our world evolves so do our jobs and the need to keep updated on changes and advances in our chosen profession often falls to the responsibility of the individual.  But how do you ask your company to pay for your development, what are the key points to consider and how do we position our request in a context of rising costs?

This blog takes a look at how you build a persuasive case.

Understand the Companies approach

Your starting point is to understand the company’s approach to paying for training and development.  Is there a formal policy which details what training and development the organisation will fund and the process to submit any requests?  This can give you an indication of how your request will be received.  However don’t let this deter you, because there are policies and then reality!

Sometimes there are no policies or dare I say they are not adhered to, the second step is to understand what precedent has been set within the team or your organisation.  Have other people had the same training or similar supported by the organisation?  If so see what details can you uncover, what was the process they went through, what were the expectations of them, how did the company support them financially and in time away to study?  Were there any conditions, for example, if they left the organisation during or within a certain period of completing their training was there a requirement to pay back the training costs?

By understanding the Organisation's approach to investing in training and development programs you can get a feel for how your request will be received and understand the process.

Build your case

There are two key points you need to cover in your case

  1. To demonstrate what the organisation will get in return for their investment
  2. To show that you are the right person for this investment

When we buy something, when we spend our hard-earned cash we are expecting to receive something in return that we perceive as being worth it and that we need.  And while the money is not directly your managers or the person approving your request, you need to approach it with the same mindset.  They need to be able to clearly appreciate the return on the investment – is it worth it and does the Organisation need it?

  • Does the organisation/team need someone or an additional person with this training?
  • How will it save them money?
  • How will it save them time?
  • How will it contribute to an improved service/product?
  • How will it benefit the team?
  • How will it benefit the manager?
  • How does it prepare the team/organisation for future challenges?

Now you may find you can clearly demonstrate how the team, your manager and the organisation will benefit, but you also need to show you are the right person as otherwise you may do all the hard work only for someone else to benefit instead of you.

Think about the following:

  • Why are you the best candidate for this investment? (This is not about being negative of others rather why you deserve the investment over others):
    • Is it pivotal to your role?
    • How does your performance support your requests?
    • How will it prepare you for future projects or challenges that are imminent and will fall within your responsibility?
    • How will this course enable you to provide a higher level of performance in your current role?

Now put yourself in the approvers’ shoes and consider what will be their concerns and be ready to offer a solution or how you will mitigate the impact.  Concerns could include:

  • Budget – how they will find the money to pay for it.  To prepare for this get an idea of the costs and the different payment options including instalments.  Understand when the payment needs to be made and how this fits with the organisation's fiscal year.  Maybe a compromise is that you delay participation until the next year.
  • Providers – many organisations will have preferred providers for their training courses, which are largely selected due to the quality, costs and scalability of the training they offer.  If you know this is the case for your organisation, be prepared to go with a different provider.
  • Duration and timing – Does the training coincide with a particularly busy period or perhaps when someone else is off within the team.  To mitigate this think about what else is going on for the team and what options there are on dates.
  • Impact on your job while participating in the course – If you are taking large periods of time out of work to complete your training, how will you manage your workload to avoid any negative impact on the rest of the team, the service/product you provide.
  • Request from others – approving your request could mean others follow and while this may be welcomed for some organisations this may be something they may not be able to afford or need.  Your manager may have some concerns about this which is why you need to really emphasise why YOU are the right person to prioritise.

Finally, take an independent perspective, let go of your agenda and the concerns of the approving manager and ask is there anything else you need to consider and incorporate into your request?  Are there any other parties that may be impacted?

Now you have built your case it’s about choosing the right time to have the conversation and going for it.

Again step into the shoes of the approving manager and think about how they would receive this request best.  Do you need to give them a heads up and set up a time to talk to them or do you have one to one on the calendar?

Asking for something can be daunting, particularly if we don’t have a strong relationship with the approving manager.  However, taking the time to develop a thorough proposal will strengthen your case and demonstrate that you have understood the wider implications. 

If you would like help building your proposal why not take advantage of our free introductory call.

And to support your proposal you may find the following useful.