The concept of working in the same job for a lifetime has become a distant memory now, with the demands of modern workplaces that require employees to traverse a path of continuous learning.
As per a report by Ernst & Young, 1 in 10 jobs would disappear by the year 2022. It is strongly believed that nearly 75% of the IT/BPM jobs would require new skill sets in the domain of IoT, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, and Analytics.
In such times of technology evolution, it is the employers’ responsibility to help their employees upskill and remain relevant in the business. When employers step up and sponsor their employees’ upskilling, it creates a mutually beneficial arrangement where the employee and the organization can grow together.
Here is a step by step guide for you to convince your employer to sponsor your professional education:
Do your research
First things first. Gather information on your company’s policy towards sponsoring or reimbursing funds for employee education.
Confirm with the HR department regarding the opportunities available to you and the limit and scope of reimbursement for your role.
Refer the employee handbook and other HR material to gather all the information regarding the available policies.
Also, check the available and most suitable courses best aligned with your goal. Learn about the flexible course options and how can you effectively manage your time and the professional front while pursuing a course.
Once you figure out the right course for you, evaluate the course providers in terms of ‘curriculum’, ‘course structure’, ‘course duration’, ‘mode of delivery’, ‘course fee’, etc.
Figure out the estimated cost to be incurred and see how you can approach the management for getting it sponsored.
Outline a plan of action that ensures your complete commitment to the work while you are pursuing the course, and present it to the management while trying to convince them.
Present a business case
Formulate a business proposition for your employer stating how your education and training aligns with the organization’s interest. Build a use case explaining how a skilled employee would emerge highly effective and revolutionize the traditional methods to a more modern approach.
Highlight how you and the employer both can benefit from your education and explain the ROI:
– Growth in your self-worth and confidence will reflect in your efficiency, and more efficient staff is always beneficial for the business productivity
– Funding the education will create a sense of loyalty towards the organization and reduce the employee attrition rate
– Skill development of internal staff for complex roles is more economical than hiring new employees
– If at a managerial level, the employee can forward the learning to their specific teams through in-house training sessions, saving training costs for masses
Address the employer’s concerns
Acknowledge the employer’s concern regarding how you would manage your work while pursuing a course simultaneously. Look out for the courses with sessions on weekends or online courses where you can complete your course after working hours.
Set realistic goals and expectations
Don’t put all your hopes into the employer approving your request for funding education. There might be cases of bad timing or cost constraints where the employer will reject your application. In such cases, judge the situation and see if it’s possible to put in the request again on a later date.
If there is something that you can do to change the employer’s mind about the decision, don’t shy away from implementing it.
Set realistic goals for yourself when planning to pursue a course and communicate it to the employer. After the course completion, judge how well could you meet your set goals and how were you able to benefit the organization through your learning.
Provide a cost breakdown and ROI for the employer
Try and showcase the proposal in numbers. Provide an exact breakdown of the cost to be incurred while funding a course for you. Justify the cost by showing benefits to the employer and the expected return on investment. The cost breakup will reflect the deliverables you would receive as a part of taking up a course and help the employer make an informed decision with clarity on the end result.
Be prepared to sign a contract
Once you have the approval for funding from the employer, be prepared to sign up a contract explaining the terms and conditions of the arrangement.
Read through the agreement carefully and figure out:
– How and when the tuition fee will be refunded?
– What academic standards (GPA or grade) should be met to ensure reimbursement of tuition fee?
– What proportion of the cost will be reimbursed if not full?
– How long does the employee need to be with the company if education is financed by the employer?
– What happens in case the employee is unable to complete the course under emergencies or other unforeseen and adverse scenarios?
Prepare a plan B
Don’t be disheartened if your request is rejected. Always have a plan B ready. Figure out other ways of pursuing your education such as requesting partial funding by the employer and the rest could be self-sponsored.
Look out for scholarships and other sources of funding for your education. You may also ask your employer for non-monetary support such as days off which could help to attain educational goals.
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