Selling Training To Your Boss

Staff training

As an employee, training can provide you with a number of benefits, both personally and professionally. It can develop your skills and help you work your way up the career ladder. However, many employees find that they are faced with a blockage when it comes to getting approval from the boss.

Employers can unfortunately get stuck at the thought of the initial upfront cost, or the time that you will be away from your desk, rather than looking past that at the long-term benefits to the business.

We’ve put together a useful guide with reasons why training will benefit you and the business, as well as ways to approach the subject with your boss.

How training can help the business

There are a number of reasons why training is beneficial, not just to you, but also to the company you work for. Here are just some of the reasons you could suggest to your boss:

  • Develop skills to keep up-to-date with industry and technology changes, which can also help your business stay ahead of the competition.
  • Improve productivity and performance, so you have more time to get other tasks completed.
  • Improve staff retention, which prevents a loss of skills and knowledge in the business, as well as the disruption caused when someone leaves.
  • Training can help staff meet expectations from managers.
  • Increase staff morale by feeling like the business is investing in its staff.
  • Save company money in the long-term.
  • Provide direction and confidence to employees so less manager/supervisor time is needed, freeing them up for other tasks.
  • Increase eligibility for internal promotions as after training, you may have the ability to take on new projects, or the confidence to show leadership skills. This can save the business money on recruitment costs, as well as the time it takes for a new employee to understand the business.
  • Attract new talent as training shows that the business respects its staff and invests in their development. This will also save time and money on recruitment efforts.

How to approach training with your boss?

Approaching your boss about training can be nerve-wracking, but it’s what is needed for you to move to the next step. Although you can read a list of all the advantages, from staff retention and improved morale, you need to plan your approach carefully. You don’t want to get on the bad side of your boss, or go about the subject in the wrong way, otherwise you may lose your chance.

Here are some of our suggestions on how to broach the subject:

  • Provide all the details – Don’t just suggest training and leave it at that. Be prepared and put in all the hard work first so your manager doesn’t have to. Research course options, packages and consider training plans (how much it will cost, how long you will be away from the business, etc.). Draft an email to go with the details and leave this with your manager to consider. Even if they say no, the effort you’ve put in won’t go unnoticed.
  • Safety in numbers – Talk with other members of staff and put together a strong business case for why training should be considered. A manager is more likely to take notice if multiple people would like training over just one. Make sure you consider your approach carefully, as a stampede of staff in your boss’s office may not leave you with the result you want.
  • Focus on the business benefits – Don’t approach your boss and explain just why the training will benefit you, but focus on why training will benefit the business. Cite examples and specifics such as improving productivity and staying ahead of the competition, as well as any cost savings, which will improve the company’s bottom line. You could also focus on specific needs that the company is trying to fulfil. For example, if your business is trying to increase its awareness online, you can suggest attending a digital marketing course to help in this area.
  • Consider various options – Although you may have a preference to how your training is carried out, go to your boss with various ideas. This is less likely to receive a negative response and shows that you’re not just picking the most expensive option. For example, suggest training in different price bands, such as high, medium and low. One way to keep the price lower is to suggest that your manager carries out some training, perhaps as a lunchtime session. This will allow them to share their knowledge and experience.
  • Make up the time – Make it clear that you understand that training will take time, but come up with a way that you can make the training not interfere with your commitments. Consider training options that are more flexible, such as online training, which can fit around your work, rather than having to make your work fit around the training. Alternatively, suggest that you are willing to work overtime for the period you are out of the office.

What else to consider

Make sure you prepare answers to any questions your boss may ask. Common questions might include “why should I pay for you to be trained?” or “how will your work get done during training?” Having a clear, concise answer to these questions will help you get your point across.

If your boss says no, don’t end it there. Find out why they turned it down and make sure you clarify the relevance and importance, where possible.

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Training might just not be something that is feasible right now, so ask your boss if it is something that they would re-evaluate in the future. Don’t pester management, but put a stronger case together in three months time and try again. It will show them that it is something you really care about, and that you are passionate about continuously learning new things to improve the business.