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How to convince your employer to invest in personal development

How to convince your employer to invest in personal development

When navigating different paths in your career journey, one of the main motivations behind decisions is what the role and company will teach you. For the ambitious and business-savvy, being able to improve upon oneself in professional and personal development is granted as the obvious, and one of the main ways in which someone can learn new skills or knowledge in a workplace environment is through training, attending conferences or taking part in events.

For HR managers and employers who do not have training protocols in place, they are under pressure to recognise the long-term benefits of investing employee learning & development.

According to the CIPD's Aligning Business and Learning report, training can deliver foundation advantages such as:

  • 14% improvement on productivity
  • 19% improvement in staff engagement scores
  • 12% reduction in time to competency

So while these figures confirm the benefits of training for talent retention and productivity, employees still find it challenging to convince their employers to invest in their development. Below are our suggestions on how your employer could be convinced:

Explain how your ambition can help the company’s growth

When thinking about your learning opportunities in the workplace, you may have actively researched or come across a webinar, conference or networking event that could potentially teach you something new. Consider in particular why this opportunity is important for your development, or why this new specific skill interests you. Research in detail how these learning opportunities can augment the performance of your work and benefit the business – numbers and stats are always helpful.

The employer may also enquire about the form in which this opportunity takes place. Naturally, conferences are more expensive than remote webinars, for example, but they come with much more advantages. Some of the professional advantages of attending a conference could be networking with like-minded professionals and promoting and building legitimacy to your respective business, as well as the information you could learn during this event.

Showcase to your employer the missed ROI

Hindsight is a powerful thing but ultimately useless. For an employer to be engaging and agile, they must acknowledge that when opportunities to improve their employees’ skill sets appear, sometimes the cost of passing up on them is greater than seizing. Present to your employer the skills, both soft and hard, that you will learn that could give the business an edge over competitors. Worse still is finding out, in this case, that a competitor attended a conference and potentially secured leads through networking at an event that your employer passed up on.

Clarify how training can fill gaps in the workforce’s skill set

Many industries currently have an aging workforce that has decades of skills and experience behind them. How can an employer ensure that those who replace retired employees will have the experience and problem-solving abilities of someone who has curated their knowledge over many years in a wide range of situations? Alternatively, how can an employer guarantee that a younger employee does not overshadow an older one simply because of skills they more recently learnt at university?

Intergenerational training programmes are a great way of not only making sure the majority of the workforce has an equal foundation of skills, but can additionally foster relationships between staff members.

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