Congratulations! You've decided to grow your career by earning a professional certification. Now, how do you convince your boss to pull out the company's pocketbook and pay for it?
- 87% of companies think digital transformation will help them develop their competitive edge.
- 90% of companies claim that the main benefit of digital transformation is the increase in employee productivity.
Yet despite this, there is still a significantly large number of organizations that need to be convinced digital tools and techniques are worth the investment. So much so that, 30% of marketers claim a lack of training in new skills is a top barrier to their success. So, we've pulled together the data, resources, and conversation starters to help you sell your boss on why they should pay for your professional certification.
The Problem: There is a Shortage of Skilled Digital Professionals
A big concern for most companies is that there is a distinct digital skills shortage that is making effective recruitment very difficult. Not only are organizations in competition with each other to hire the small amount of highly qualified candidates, but they must also contend with the increasingly lucrative salaries and benefits that other companies are offering. This puts smaller businesses and startups with less budget at a distinct disadvantage.
The Solution: Grow Internal Talent
The answer to your organization’s digital success is a strategic and sustainable education plan that will allow you and your organization to keep pace with the industry. According to Adobe, companies with a plan for their digital maturity seek to train and advance the skills of their existing workforce and hire the people they need to get the most from digital tools and technology. Upskilling with essential trainings will help you to refine your digital expertise and shape a fulfilling career while enabling you to make a meaningful impact in your role--all the while benefitting your organization.
This current situation supports the fact that your digital skills training is a worthwhile investment. Let's dig in a little deeper to provide you with specific steps to help you convince your boss to fund your training.
How to Convince Your Boss to Fund Your Professional Development Goals
1. Do Your Research
An impulsive 5-minute chat or a quick email won’t be sufficient. Schedule a meeting with your manager and plan to present a case that’s backed by thorough research. You need to be able to demonstrate the benefits of your training to the organization. Be sure to determine if your company has a training budget, and who controls it. Is it your department head, HR, or someone else? You want to make sure you know who you are talking to in regard to buy-in.
💡Pro tip: maximize your chances of acquiring your employer’s approval by incorporating tangible figures into your research.
2. School Yourself (and Your Boss) on Ohio TechCred
Ohio TechCred is a state-funded, tuition reimbursement program that helps Ohioans learn new skills through technology-focused credentials. This means you can potentially earn a professional certification for free thanks to the state of Ohio.
- Recently, $5 million was allocated to the program.
- A total of 1,728 Ohio employers have been approved for funding.
- 36,803 Ohio employees have earned tech-focused credentials and certifications since the start of this program.
3. Determine the ROI of Your Professional Certification
As with any investment, calculating the ROI is an essential element for securing buy-in. You need to demonstrate the specific value of your training and how it can support the overall goals and strategy of the organization.
💡Pro tip: Use this formula to help you estimate the monetary benefit to your organization:
% ROI = financial benefit – cost of training / cost of training x
Financial benefits can also include things like labor savings, reduction in lost workdays, and productivity increases. For example, if you have an idea of how much time your skills training would save you due to increased efficiency and streamlined processes, you can put a price on your time to calculate ROI. Work out your hourly salary and multiply it by the number of hours you think you would save a month. To determine annual savings, multiply this number by 12.
To strengthen your ROI discussion and put things into clear perspective, consider answering the following questions during your conversation.
- Which Marketing Training Room course have you decided to take and why?
- What content does the course cover that is relevant to your role and will enhance your skills?
- How will this course improve your performance and help the company achieve its business goals?
4. Determine the Payback Period
Another calculation that can potentially reinforce the fact that your training will be a valuable investment for your organization is the payback period. The payback period is the time it takes for the financial benefits to equal the cost of the training. This is the point at which your course has paid for itself.
💡Pro tip: Use this formula to calculate the payback period: Payback period = cost of training / monthly financial benefits
If your payback period is reasonably low, your employer will most likely feel more confident in the decision to fund your training.
5. List the Benefits to Your Boss
When discussing your training with your manager, it’s important to illustrate how financing your professional development will positively impact the company. You want to demonstrate that your training will enable you to become a more efficient, effective, valuable, and overall better employee. The American Society for Training and Development collected training information from more 2,500 firms and found that organizations that offer comprehensive training have 218% higher income per employee than those with less comprehensive training. Why? Because skills training is a priority for employees. Without it, they often feel disengaged and unmotivated. The cost of retaining present employees is significantly less than replacing them. One of the most incentivizing ways you can convince your boss to invest in skills training is by presenting it as a powerful retention tool.
6. Emphasize That Training is a Retention Tool
According to the American Management Association, the cost of hiring and training a new employee is between 25 to 200% of annual compensation. Avoiding unnecessary employee turnover is a key consideration for employers. A common barrier to skills training is an organization’s concern that they could potentially subsidize training for employees who will leave upon its completion. To eliminate these doubts, incorporate a payback clause into your research (if there isn’t one in place already). A payback clause requires you to repay the training costs if you leave the organization before an agreed-upon time period. A payback clause will support your proposal because it provides a guarantee that the organization will not lose your valuable skills and knowledge.
7. List the Benefits Your Training Will Have on Your Co-workers
If you want to further convince your boss that funding your training is the right decision, you should highlight the impact your digital skills could have on your co-workers. Emphasize that upon completion of your training, you will be able to add even more value by sharing your learning and equipping your team members with the skills and insights you've acquired. Your training will support a collaborative learning culture and benefit multiple members of the organization. Not only does employee cross-training facilitate team-building and better communication, it enhances overall productivity and efficiency. It also means that when you're out of the office, your co-workers can take over certain tasks.
You can summarize the advantages of your training by answering the following:
- In what ways will your training enable you to upskill your team members?
- Will your digital skills positively influence the training of new employees? If so, how?
- How could your training improve employee retention across the entire organization?
8. Schedule the Conversation
The final step to achieving your digital training goal is to set up a meeting.
💡Pro tip: Compose a structured (but not too long) email asking your manager if you can schedule some time on their calendar to discuss your professional development.
In your email, consider including:
- Some of the thorough research you have conducted to find the most relevant course.
- Examples of the skills this course will enable you to build and how you will plan to use them.
- Why you believe this training will benefit you in your current role.
Don’t forget to include some of our statistics on the power of digital transformation and the dangers of the digital skills shortage!
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