10 Steps to Get the Professional Development Training You and Your Team Need
We all want it. We all need it. But, it can still be hard to ask your boss for professional development opportunities.
According to the 2022 report on workplace learning and development trends by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), professional learning and development serve two vital functions to the organization:
- Maintain and gain new knowledge and skills to respond to business needs
- Recruit and retain talented employees
Over half (55%) of those interviewed for the survey believe that they need additional training to perform the duties of their role. So how do employees get the training they need and deserve?
The following will help you ask for professional development. By the time you work through these steps, you’ll have the talking points needed to meet with your leader and come prepared to answer questions that might surface.
Here are 10 steps to get you on your path to continuous improvement and learning.
1. Do your research
The first step is to understand if there is an existing budget for professional development. Chances are there is. According to the SHRM report, 67% of organizations expected to increase their Learning and Development (L&D) budget in 2022, even during the Great Resignation.
As part of your research, you should provide a short list of providers (no more than 3) and come to the meeting with solid answers to the following questions:
- What challenges will this course help solve?
- What are the benefits of taking this course or getting certified?
- What value will it bring to the company?
- What are the other options to achieving these skills?
- Why is this provider the best option? Any reputable training provider should have testimonials and other data that can vouch for the efficacy of their class and facilitation skills.
- Why now? We get this question a lot. Since we provide training and coaching to help enterprises gain organizational agility and its desired outcomes, here are approaches that have been effective with leaders.
- Connect the professional development opportunity to a bigger strategic initiative. For example, “During last month’s Town Hall, leaders mentioned that we would be undergoing a Digital Transformation this quarter. This class will help prepare our teams for this initiative.”
- Relate the opportunity to a plateaued initiative. For example, “We’ve been doing SAFe® for a while and we saw great progress in the beginning. Now data is showing results are leveling and I think it’s because we need help at the portfolio level. This LPM class…”
- Pricing. This can be a good selling point, especially if there is a limited L&D budget. Understand if there are expiring discount codes or if the price will increase after a specific time or number of tickets sold.
2. Schedule the meeting
Before you create that calendar invite, make sure you know who to invite. For some organizations, it can be your direct leader. Other organizations may ask that you meet with the L&D manager for your group or team. Your calendar invite needs to set the tone and inform meeting attendees why they’re there. Here’s an example meeting agenda:
Title: Professional Development Request – (Training Type)
- Current challenges for you and/or your team and organization
- Benefits of this training and how it will help me and our organizations
- Options and timing
- Possible next steps
Think of the request from their perspective. What additional questions might they have that you haven’t already prepared for during step 1? What are their possible objections? It can also be helpful to practice with a trusted peer or mentor.
4. Hold the meeting
You’ve done the prep work. Take a deep breath and be confident. During the meeting, don’t forget to listen and take notes to remember key points and action items. At the end of the meeting, make sure to ask for logistical next steps such as payment and post-class requirements.
5. Pat yourself on the back
You took a big step towards accomplishing your goals! If you didn’t get the answer you were hoping for, don’t give up. Ask about their objections and concerns and make a plan to address them. If not now, ask when would be a better time to revisit this conversation.
If you did get approval, register for the class and celebrate! Treat yourself to a latte or beverage of your choice. You deserve it!
6. Prepare for the class
You did a lot of work to get to this point; it’s time to prepare for your absence accordingly. Make sure your calendar reflects your training schedule and colleagues are aware that you will be slower to respond during this time. Do the pre-class assignments (if there are any). If this class is delivered virtually, ask about tech requirements. Is your workspace conducive to learning? Will you be able to have your camera on?
7. Take the class and stay engaged.
You’ll get out of the class what you put in. By staying focused and giving the class your undivided attention, you are making sure to get the most return out of your time and financial investments.
8. Provide feedback to the training provider.
After each class, Agile Velocity asks attendants to rate our class and give us feedback. This helps us to improve our classes and continue providing a great experience for students. If you are taking a class that does not ask for feedback, be sure to let the facilitator know how you thought it went. Your experience can help improve the class for future attendees.
9. Earn the certification!
You should already know if the class offers certification, but make sure you understand certification eligibility requirements like a test or class participation. If there is a test for you to take, be sure to complete it during the allotted time. You put in the time to take the course, don’t forget to get that badge to add to your resume!
10. Share knowledge
There is no better way to give back to your company than by increasing the collective knowledge and skills of your teams. Do a brief share-out during the next team sync or note your key takeaways in a team Slack channel.
If you have any questions about how to get professional development for yourself or your team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We offer public workshops and private training options for different roles and stages of your organizational agility journey. You can find answers to the above question on our training and workshop pages. Below is our Agile training catalog. Follow links to specific course pages to understand who should take each class, the value the course brings, learning outcomes, and certification information.