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Lead Your Team Managing

Paying for Employee Education: Here's How to Decide

Paying for Employee Education: Here's How to Decide
When employees ask you to pay for outside trianing, make sure it will benefit the compnay. / Credit: Training image via Shutterstock

Have your employees asked you to pay for outside training so they can do their jobs better?

Before you say yes, make sure the training will end up benefiting the company, as some employees may be asking you to fund skill building that will help them land jobs elsewhere, said Peter DeVries, chief operating officer of business software provider Destiny Solutions.

DeVries said that when employees request outside training, you should ask them to write a small proposal answering the following questions:

  • How will this training affect your current projects or role?
  • Is this training part of a larger learning goal (e.g., a certification or degree)?
  • Can you describe how you researched this course or education provider to demonstrate that the content is useful and cost-effective?
  • Are you willing to present to your peers a summary of the key learning outcomes from this training?

"This is simply a pragmatic approach ensuring that the employee is not just looking to take any training, but training that provides value to them and, hopefully, the company," DeVries said.

DeVries said that based on his experience, there are always two practical outcomes of training that immediately benefit the company, regardless of the specific request. The first is that training allows work experience to be paired with best practices or formal methodology.

For instance, good training permits employees to match what they are doing with what they should be doing, based on a body of knowledge, DeVries said. The second outcome is that the employee can come back to the firm and present one of three outcomes: "watch what I learned how to do," "I've validated how we are doing things" or "we need to change what we are doing."

"Any of these responses can be incredibly valuable to an organization," he said.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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