15 APRIL, 2019


Do you want a pay rise, a promotion or to just be better at your job? Professional development can help you achieve just that. Whether it’s a course or a program, it’ll equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in your job as well as in the modern workplace.

But how do you convince your boss to let you take up professional development? To help you, we’ll discuss what professional development is and six smart ways to sell it to your boss.

What is professional development?

Professional development refers to learning and performance solutions that provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to be successful at work. Here are some examples:

  • Completing a graduate certificate – This allows you to develop industry-specific skills beyond what you may have learned in college, eg a graduate certificate in business or human resources might be what you need to get promoted.
  • Taking an online course – It’s flexible so you can study while you work. Some universities and professional associations offer online courses to help you learn new skills and expand your knowledge.
  • Speaking at a seminar or conference – This can help you improve your public speaking skills, like communicating clearly and compellingly to your boss, colleagues, and other professionals.
  • Expanding your role – This means taking on a project that’s beyond your scope of work. To learn and grow into your expanded role and complete the project, you should read books, search the Internet and reach out to your contacts.
  • Working with a mentor – A wise mentor from your organisation or outside of it can teach you everything you need to know to help you grow and succeed in your job.

How to approach your boss for professional development

While it’s easy to see the benefits of professional development, asking your workplace to support your efforts to grow can be daunting for many employees and in-house trainers. Here’s some effective methods to start the conversation:

1. Prepare for the conversation

First, you must prepare what you want to say about your professional development plans. Also make a list of what’s negotiable, eg timing, budget, and activity. Be sure to read up on HR policies to find out how educational reimbursement works in your company and if you can avoid using vacation days. You should also anticipate any questions or concerns your boss may have about your plans. Being well-prepared will show your commitment toward your professional development goals.

2. Schedule a meeting with your boss to discuss your plans

When you find the time to talk to your boss, tell them you want to schedule a meeting with them so you can discuss your professional development plans. By giving your boss a heads-up about your plans, it’ll give them time to think about how they can help you.

3. Link the course or program to your job description

If your job description requires you to ‘manage projects to agreed standards and budgets’, it’ll make perfect sense to your boss why you want to complete a course or qualification in project management. If it isn’t in your job description, you can use a task you’re working on or have completed as an example and explain how extra training could improve your results.

4. Provide details about the course or program

Tell your boss about the prices, dates, providers, and potential accreditations for each course or program that you’re considering doing. This’ll show your boss that you’re serious about your professional development.

5. Explain how you and the organisation will benefit

Professional development offers a range of benefits for you and the organisation you work in. Mention these to your boss:

  • Increasing engagement and productivity – If you have the skills and knowledge for your job, you could be more engaged and productive, resulting in better processes, operations, product quality, and customer satisfaction.
  • Reducing the need for supervision – If you’re more productive and effective in your role, you won’t always need supervision, so your boss can reallocate management resources to areas where they’re needed.
  • Improving customer service and satisfaction – If you’re well-trained, you’ll know more about the products and services offered by your company and be able to resolve customer issues more quickly and effectively.
  • Reducing absenteeism and promoting retention – If you’re more engaged and satisfied with your job, you’re less likely to take days off or leave the company, resulting in lower recruitment and employee costs for your boss.
  • Supporting organisational innovation and dynamism – Professional development can encourage you to have new ideas and develop new processes and approaches. If you’re a manager, you’ll be able to manage your human resources successfully.
  • Maximising resources and inputs – If you’re well-trained and highly skilled, you can use the technology tools and infrastructure more effectively. This can result in less costly errors and improved product and service quality.
  • Achieving changing strategic goals in response to market conditions – If you’re trained, you’ll have the skill set that’ll help your organisation to compete, scale up, and stay profitable in the long term.

6. Explain how other members of your team will benefit

Tell your boss that you’ll train other members of your team if the course or program you’re taking is relevant to their role. For example, you could make a presentation on the things you’ve learnt or share your course notes. Also explain how your new skills and knowledge will contribute to your team’s results.

Invest in professional development with DeakinCo.

In today’s competitive job market, it’s important that you have the skills and knowledge required for a specific job if you want to stand out from the rest and get ahead in your career. This is why professional development is valuable. And if you follow the steps discussed here, you should be able to get your boss to support your development.

DeakinCo. offers learning and development solutions that enhance the performance of individuals and the organisations they work in. From micro-credentialing and bespoke learning to tailored vocational and higher education solutions, our services can enhance your skills and help you and your organisation prepare for the future of work. To find out more about our workforce solutions,contact us for a discussion today.