Man holding approved training plan

Want Your Company to Pay for Training? Here’s How to Make Your Case

Once upon a time, a person could enter the workforce with education and job skills that would stay relevant far into the future, maybe even resulting in a lifetime of work with just a single company.

Times have changed. On average, people starting a career today will hold 11 different jobs within their lifetime, and these jobs may or may not be in the same field. The rapid changes in technology and innovation make today’s skills quickly obsolete. Those who aren’t keeping up are falling behind.  

It is an unsettling situation, not just for individual employees, but also for employers interested in maintaining a competitive edge.

Fortunately, there is a solution.

Relevant and timely training provides the means for staff to expand their skills and knowledge and address deficits in operations and performance.

As obvious as it seems that learning new skills can help employees do their jobs more effectively, employers often need to be convinced to invest in this approach.

If you’ve identified a prime training opportunity and you’d like your employer to pay for it, here are a few recommendations on how to make your case that training is a worthy investment for your company:

1. Describe the Need. What is changing in your profession or industry? What effects of this change have you observed or experienced in your work? How would training address this? 

2. Offer a Training Solution. Gather complete information about the training you are interested in, including the cost, curriculum, learning outcomes, schedule and duration, any travel expenses that might apply, and registration deadlines. Many training organizations (including UA Continuing & Professional Education) offer a variety of discounts, so be sure to highlight discounts that may be available.

3. Provide a Comparative Analysis. Take the time to do a little research and provide comparative information about other training alternatives. Why is this particular training the best option? Describe the alternatives you considered and the factors that informed your conclusion.

4. Spell Out the Return on Investment (ROI). If you participate in the training, what value does it have to the company? Spend time teasing this out and be specific. Possible benefits to the company may include:

  • Training can be applied immediately, resulting in improvements such as increased efficiency, productivity and capacity.
  • Offer to share new knowledge and skills with your team or co-workers, which would extend the benefit of the training to others in the organization.
  • Emphasize that gaining new skills often opens up new possibilities and ways of thinking, which has the potential to lead to new services, processes or products.
  • Training often provides an opportunity to learn from other key players in the industry, which can keep the company up-to-date on the latest technology and/or industry trends.

5. Make Your Case. Once you have your information and formulated your ROI list, it’s time to get in front of your boss. Time is precious, and schedules are frequently jam-packed, so try a two-pronged approach rather than relying solely on email. Send your proposal via email, but also request a face-to-face meeting where you can discuss it in more depth.   

A note for employers who may be reading this: Your employee is probably too nice to say it, but the cold hard truth is that companies will pay, one way or the other. They can invest now in employee training that keeps skills and knowledge current and competitive. Or they can pay later through incurring costs associated with fixing deficits and problems or through losing employees who are frustrated at the lack of career development opportunities.

Bottom line: training is cheaper.

Rebecca Cook is the Director, UA Continuing & Professional Education.