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How To Show Your Employer The Value Of Continuous Learning

You know you need it, you found the perfect one, and now your heart is dead-set on it. But you need some support, so you can make your dream a reality. If you haven’t guessed, we’re talking about continuous learning and how to make the case to your employer to get them to cover some (or all) of the costs. 

You know education is not only good for your career and your training will also benefit your employer, but it can sometimes be difficult to get your manager on board. So how do you get your employer to see the value of your certificate? While we can’t guarantee this will make your boss open up their wallet, if you use the tips below you will be able to present a strong case for why they should support your continuous learning. 

Do your research beforehand

If you are looking to get your employer to approve your professional development request, you need to ensure you have all the information upfront so they can easily review your ask. Anticipate questions your manager may request and include those answers in your case. Creating a brief competitive analysis of a few programs offered by different institutions can also help show them that you’ve done your homework and that you’re presenting a well thought-out plan. 

Your research should include a cost breakdown, especially if you need to take multiple courses. Show your manager what it would cost if they paid for one course or if it was the entire certificate. At The Chang School, when you register for a certificate, you don’t have to pay for all your courses at once — you only pay for the ones you’re taking — so if your employer is hesitant to cover the entire certificate, you can consider asking them to reimburse you for a couple courses to start and then reassess later on. Also, many of our courses are asynchronous, meaning you can take them on your time which means you don’t have to eat into company hours (a bonus for your employer!). 

Draft a development plan

If you don’t already have one as part of your performance review, you should create a development plan that aligns with your desired continuing education. This will serve as a road map, between you and your manager, for how you will grow professionally, develop your skills to achieve more in the workplace, and meet your work goals. In said plan, you can make the case for why the skills you’ll acquire from your education will help your organization’s overall business goals. If you can show your employer “what’s in it for them” you’ll have a better chance of getting a stamp of approval. 

For example, if you were to register for our Certificate in Project Management, you could indicate in your development plan how your project management skills will help your company work more efficiently and ultimately save them time and money. Don’t hesitate to cite findings that support your case. Dr. John Estrella, Academic Coordinator, Certificate in Project Management says, “organizations need to emerge as gymnastic enterprises in this post-pandemic world — project management will help them achieve that transformation quickly and efficiently.” Furthermore, the Project Management Institute found that organizations that are gymnastic enterprises — those that have learned to flex and pivot — have much higher levels of organizational agility and were more likely to use standardized risk management practices, both of which were traits of a project’s success among organizations surveyed. 

You can also improve your case by showing the outcomes gained from your continuous learning. If you were considering taking our Certificate in Project Management, you would be able to list these outcomes as what you will be able to do after completing it:

  • Plan and schedule the project in a group setting using the critical path method
  • Identify, plan, and manage project risk and quality using analytical tools and methods
  • Implement financial controls to accounting, budgeting, and cost management systems
  • Organize self-managing teams to build products in agile and mobile project environments

Within your outcomes, make sure you have a timeline of when those will be achieved or any action steps to get there so you can show your employer your accountability in reaching your professional goals.

Use your work as coursework

When you’re given homework in your courses, often you can use a real-life example as the focus. If that’s the case, you should use a problem or project that you’re dealing with in your job. In the last course in the Certificate in Project Management, CKPM 216 – Project Management Internship, students have two options for their final report: using a field placement or completing a research/development project. If a student chooses the former, they can use their current employment and project-manage a work project, submitting it as their final report. As mentioned earlier, do your research in advance and don’t be shy to reach out to the school to see if that is a possibility. Then when you are presenting your case to your employer, you will be able to show even more value to the spend on your professional education — you will have a completed work project to show at the end of it. 

Share with the team

If you can share your learnings with the team then you can show your employer the value of their spend will be extended even more. That could help you get the “yes” you are looking for. Suggest hosting a lunch and learn after you have completed the certificate and present your learnings to your team. Make sure to download all the resources, modules, and readings, so that you can use them even after you finish your course or certificate. Include that in your case when talking to your manager about this professional development opportunity, so they know that more people at work can utilize your new skills and knowledge. 

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As you work on developing a case to your employer to support your continuing education, try to use the above steps and make sure your ask is clear, thought-out, and shows the value proposition to your employer. Although a good manager knows that ongoing training is good for your professional development and career, if you can show how the business can benefit from it as well, it can help convince them to cover some, if not all, of the costs.