Get Your Boss to Pay for Your Professional Development

It’s September! My favorite month, full of back-to-school Virgo vibes. It’s the perfect time of year to invest in your own professional development. And it’s even better when you can get your company to cover the costs!

In fact, I’ve seen countless women come to Bossed Up Bootcamp on their boss’s dime!

4 Ways to Ask for Money for Professional Development

For whatever professional development, training, or self-improvement you’re looking to gain this season, follow these 4 strategies to secure the funding you need to further yourself and your work.

1. Ask Early

Even organizations with the best of intentions can get stuck in the mud when it comes to approving professional development funding requests. Don’t risk losing out just because you’re lagging behind. Ask your employer early on – preferably a few months before the upcoming training or course begins.

Asking in person or over the phone is great, but always make sure to follow up with a written record of your request, too. That way if your request has been hanging in the balance for months on end, you can show a paper trail to help hurry a response.

2. Do the Math

Be explicit about how much you’re really asking for. A vague request for coverage means you’re putting the onus on your boss to figure out how much it’ll run the company. Make it easy for them to give you a “yes” or a “no” by spelling out exactly what costs you’ll incur.

I recommend laying out a line-by-line list of expenses, include any travel, lodging, and training fees you anticipate, and totaling those line items for your boss. If the number you come to is a big one, don’t be sheepish about it!

You might think that being coy will soften the ask, but all it really does it delay getting a real thumbs-up or thumbs-down from management.

3. Write a Personal Proposal

This is a business proposition – so act like it! A custom, personalized proposal should spell out exactly what you’re asking for and why it’s in your company’s best interest to give it to you.

In as concise a proposal as possible, spell out what the training or professional development opportunity is, how much it will cost, and why it will enable you to do your job even better. That last part is key. A proposal is a piece of persuasive communication, after all. Make your case by focusing on what’s in it for you – not just personally, but as a collective team or company.

And don’t forget to compare the cost of what you’re asking for to alternatives in the marketplace. If what you’re asking for is a bargain compared to other programs available on the topic, your boss might be even more inclined to give you the green light!

We put together our own customizable proposal for asking your boss to sponsor your trip to Bossed Up Bootcamp here if you’d like to see an example.

4. Connect It to the Bottom Line

Investing in your professional development is just that – an investment! Connect the expense you’re asking them to cover to ways you’ll be able to save the company money down the line. How will their investment in you pay off? Increased productivity, efficiency, or engagement on your team? More sales? Better customer service? More efficient strategies?

Make it clear that you’re not asking for a handout – you’re asking for their investment in you. Be clear about how that investment will pay off – both for you, your boss, and your company’s bottom line.

Have you asked your boss to pay for your professional development?

What worked for you? What backfired? I’d love to hear what you found most effective in the comments below – especially if you put these strategies to work for you!

And if you’re looking to increase your leadership skills and invest in your long-term, sustainable success, register to join me at an upcoming Bossed Up Bootcamp near you! You might even be able to get your boss to pay for it… 😉


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