How to ask your boss for a training and development budget
Ambitious people like to constantly develop and upskill throughout their careers. And in the media industry, where technology and trends are always changing, this holds especially true. If you’re missing a key skill that’ll help you in your current role, or will aid you moving to the next level, it’s time to take control of your progression by making the case for additional training and support.
This means requests for either time off day-to-day responsibilities or additional budget, or both. Here are some pointers on how to make a compelling case for your professional development.
Do some internal research
Many established companies have PDPs (Personal Development Programmes) already in place. Look at your contract and see if there’s an existing process that you can follow. If so, talk to colleagues who have availed of the programme for pointers, as there are often gaps, limits and loopholes that you won’t know until you’ve followed the process.
Sometimes education support programmes have stipulations that say you must stay in the role for a certain amount of time after completing the course. Don’t be the first to mention this, but if it comes up, express how committed and enthusiastic you are and ask for specific details so you know what’s what.
Often such stipulations are custom and practice, rather than legally binding. However, this depends on your contract and where in the world you are. If this is a concern for you, seek legal advice to confirm before progressing.
Know what you want
When many people think of training and development, their mind automatically goes to further education. Obtaining new third-level qualifications is certainly tempting, especially as it can be expensive so having your workplace foot the bill is quite nice. But remember that third-level education can be a considerable commitment and your time is valuable too.
Could you gain more hands-on training elsewhere? Would the right camera or software better help you up your game? Or would networking really benefit your career? Do consider the benefits of more informal types of education and development too, such as:
- Memberships of organizations and clubs
- Conferences, talks and workshops
- New or upgraded equipment
- Software licenses e.g. Adobe Suite.
Again, before you refine your ask, talk to people who have used the software, attended the conference, are a member of the club or finished the course. It’s the only way to get the real low-down. And if you’re booking a conference or workshop overseas, consider adding holiday days after to save on personal flight costs too.
Frame your ask
Put yourself in your employer’s shoes. If you’re a media buyer looking for financial support to study horticulture, that’s probably not going to fly. Your request needs to be relevant to your job or the company, either now or in the future.
Of course, your boss will want you to train in something that benefits the company. Write out the benefits of this professional development to your team and the company, and use collaborative, invested language by using terms like “we” and “our business”. If you can show how this professional development will lead to tangible commercial gains for the company, all the better.
Don’t go into a meeting with your manager with a non-negotiable script. This is a conversation, not a list of demands. If your boss is concerned about managing your workload while you’re upskilling, you may need to consider shorter but more intensive learning opportunities. Not everything has to be a degree or a diploma. You can learn a lot in an intensive few days or weeks, especially if it’s a small group or one-on-one.
If the budget in your company seems tight, don’t forget to include no-cost or low-cost development in your ask too. This could mean time off for self-led learning, volunteering, shadowing or mentorship programmes.
Know when to walk away
If investment in employee development isn’t forthcoming at your place of work and it’s a big priority for you, then it could be time to look elsewhere. There are plenty of media roles and companies where learning and development is encouraged and supported, such as:
- Creative Advertising & Communication Director role with Deloitte, which “tailor(s) a personalized learning experience, offering you the opportunity to grow at your own pace and achieve maximum impact”.
- Senior Paid Search Strategist with Google, which lists a $2,000 per year personal development budget as a benefit.
- Emerging Paid Media Specialist at MVF, offering £1000 per year to spend on professional development.
Ready to make a move now? Take a look through the Mediatel Job Board and see what’s out there. You can even use competitor offerings as a benchmark for your current role. Good luck!