How to convince your company to foot the bill for your education

May 28, 2014

How to maximize your learning to stand out in the crowd to hiring managers

Expense is one of the main barriers to further education, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Many employers offer programs that allow people to study at a reduced cost – but even if your company doesn’t, there are ways to pitch the idea of a graduate degree that will have your company begging you to go back to school.

Conduct a formal analysis As an HR business partner, you can probably rattle off the developmental needs of your organization at the drop of a hat. But can you talk about what the HR department needs? If your company is like most, probably not, said Bill Pelstor, Deloitte’s managing principal of talent development. “What’s always amazing is the amount of investments (in HR) is historically about a third of what we see in the line of business,” he said. “Here they are taking care of everybody else and they don’t’ stop to take care of their own developmental needs.” According to Deloitte’s research, most organizations only spend an average $500 annually per HR person on professional development, while throughout the rest of the company that number tends to be closer to $1500.

Offer practical examples of the value education can return When having a discussion about your company funding your education, talk about legitimate ways it will help on the job. Offer to become part of a special task force or lead a new area once you’re equipped by your education. Point out areas like compliance and technology where you likely haven’t been trained for new developments, said Pelstor. “If you’re trying to be a partner to the business and you’re using a playbook from 2000, you’re using the wrong playbook,” he said.

Put your education plans into the wider context of the business strategy “You would not believe the number of times individuals have these conversations and are completely divorced from what’s happening inside the business,” said Pelstor. HR professionals who manage to have their companies pay for the entirety of their graduate degree costs are those who link their education needs to the strategy and goals of the business. “What is the CEO talking about? Where is the organization heading? What are the priorities that are driving the organization?” he said. “Put the request into (that) context.”
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How to maximize your learning to stand out in the crowd to hiring managers

Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel University is a global research university ranked among the top 100 in the nation. Drexel is recognized for its focus on experiential learning, commitment to cutting-edge academic technology, and growing enterprise of use-inspired research.  Drexel University began offering online courses in 1996, a pioneer among institutions of higher education.  Today, Drexel Online provides over 100 degrees and certificates in a multitude of fields to aspiring students everywhere. Online programs include an MS in Human Resource Development, Master of Legal Studies – Human Resource Compliance Specialization, and more.  Learn more.