3 steps to secure your employers’ support for continuing your learning

The benefits of continuous learning may be obvious to you, but they may not be as obvious to your boss. How can you make sure your education will also benefit them?

Your objective

Show your manager how achieving the development outcomes you want to work towards will increase your effectiveness in your role and enhance the performance of your workplace too. Is it better client outcomes, enhanced productivity, the ability to take on more challenging work or increasing your effectiveness in developing others in the team? How does your development contribute to better results for the business?

Step 1: Do your research

  • Be clear and certain about your personal goal. What do you want to achieve?
  • Choose the education provider and the learning program you want to enrol in that will enable you to meet your goal
  • Gain clarity on how achieving this personal goal also brings benefits for your employer’s business
  • Decide what support you need from your employer to enable you to meet your goal. Is it flexibility around working hours? Is it study leave? Is it financial support to help with the investment you are making in your development?

Once you have all the facts, then:

Step 2: Speak to the right people

Ask your education provider to unpack the specific knowledge, practical skills and abilities you’ll gain and how they think they will benefit your employer, as you work towards your goal. They will have the information to help you to build your case for support.

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Depending on the support you are looking for, find out what the relevant policies might be. Speak to the Human Resources team to uncover what support is possible. Is there a study leave policy? What options for flexible hours are there? Is there a budget that might support with costs? Are you eligible for any of this support? What are the approval processes?

Be sure you understand what will matter to your boss to secure their approval.

Once you know what is possible and what you are asking for, then:

Step 3: Pitch for the support you are asking for

Schedule a meeting with your boss to have a conversation. Make sure that you are confident about what you want to get out of the meeting.
  • Explain the goal you are trying to achieve by investing in yourself – and make sure you explain how this will benefit the business as well
  • Share the plan you have come up with and what that will mean in practical terms. Changing your hours? Time-off to study? A contribution towards the investment you are making in yourself (and the business)?
  • Be prepared to answer your boss’s questions. Anticipate what they might they want to know? For example, how will you balance your work and learning commitments?
  • Be prepared to wait for a decision. Who else might your boss need to consult with for approval of your request? Factor this into the time you need for this whole process.
  • Be ready to consider alternatives – does your boss have a different suggestion that still enables you to meet your goal? Has your boss explained why what you want initially might not be possible right now?
  • Be ready to be disappointed. Decide on your plan if you don’t get what you want.
Investing in your own development is important for growth in your career. Hopefully, your employer can support you too.

Good luck!


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