Ask A Boss: “My employer has no ongoing training in place.”
How do I make sure I’m continuing my own professional development?
Kari Owers, founder of O.agency and the North East’s first Women Supporting Women ambassador
Continuous learning is the most important thing anyone can do for their own self-development and, ultimately, their career success. By demonstrating that you’re learning and executing new skills in your day job, you’ll be in a great position to ask for a promotion.
The first place I would start is by getting a mentor; someone who has a few more years of experience than you, that you admire and get along with. They can help you decide what direction you’d like your career to travel and give you invaluable tips on how and where they learned the skills they needed to get to their position.
Also, look out for those people in the company you work for whose job you would like one day. Approach them for some informal training or mentoring, or even a monthly ‘lunch and learn’, where you can ask them questions. You’ll be surprised how many people are happy to share what they know.
Depending on the job that you do, there are a huge amount of resources online that you can digest in your spare time – from blogs to webinars, slideshare decks to white papers.
And, of course, don’t forget to read. The most successful people I know are avid book readers and learners – even at board level, they never stop wanting to improve.
At my business, we encourage continuous learning and make sure the more experienced people in the team are generous with their time to train others. This is as well as investing in courses that will support everyone’s development and, ultimately, help us do a better job for our clients. However, we also give points for every book, blog, webinar, or podcast our team digest that is related to their job roles, and a prize is given out every six months to the person who has done the most self-learning. Ultimately, you need to invest in yourself and this starts with setting aside some time.
Most industries have a body that offers CPD and you can ask your employer if they would fund your subs so you can access their courses and resources. The benefits to the business should be clear and well communicated when you ask.
You should speak to your employer about their training policy and ask why it’s not supported, but not in a confrontational way – do your homework. Demonstrate to them that you have identified some courses that you could do, why they would improve the business in terms of opportunity and growth. If they are concerned you will take the skills elsewhere and lose their investment, you can even agree to pay back any training costs if you leave the business within a certain timeframe, this is quite common.
If you’re hungry for knowledge but your employer doesn’t value self-development, ultimately you may find yourself hunting for a company with a culture that does. It’s worth pointing out that it may cost them more to replace you than the training budget you require!