Businesses understand the importance of professional development, and many are paying for staff training. In a recent Robert Half survey of over 2,000 CFOs, approximately three-quarters said their companies cover at least some of the costs for employees to earn and maintain professional certifications.
Kathleen Downs, Recruiting Manager, Robert Half Finance and Accounting, spoke to AMA about the main findings of the survey, and explained how today’s employers—and employees—should approach the concept of companies paying for staff training.
First, CFOs were asked, “How, if at all, does your company support its employees in their efforts to receive professional certifications?” Their responses:
Laurie Russo, AMA: What makes an employer decide whether or not to pay for professional development training for employees?
Kathleen Downs: This can be a great benefit to offer and boost recruiting and retention efforts. Helping employees earn and maintain certifications does require a big investment, both in time and money. For some employers, it’s simply a matter of not having the budget. Firms in this situation should look for other ways to support their team’s career growth, such as implementing a training or mentorship program.
Before making a decision on whether to offer financial support for certifications, organizations should review options from other companies and see if paying for staff training would give them a competitive advantage. Conversely, would not providing it put them at a disadvantage?
CFOs were also asked, “How, if at all, does your company support its employees in their efforts to maintain professional certifications?” Their responses:
LR: What benefits does the employer derive from paying for employees’ continuing education?
KD: Companies that support their employees’ professional development show they are committed to helping staff members in their career advancement. Offering this perk can give firms an edge in recruiting and retaining skilled professionals.
While individuals rarely accept a job or stay with an employer solely based on its education benefits, these perks can tip the scales in a company’s favor, especially in a competitive hiring environment.
Managers value the cutting-edge expertise professionals who earn and maintain relevant certifications possess. They also can share their insights with their colleagues, helping their company build a stronger workforce.
LR: How should employees approach their manager to make a case for company-paid training?
KD: Asking for career development training is similar to asking for a raise. Many professionals prefer not to ask directly, but wait for the boss to mention it. If you are serious about your career path, you have to take the first step. Follow these helpful steps that may increase your chances of getting support from your employer:
- Let your boss know how it will benefit the company. Whether it’s a conference or training course, outline exactly how the new wealth of information will be relevant to your role.
- Be ready to compromise if there is an alternative plan. Your boss may have a different idea for professional development training – listen closely and make sure it meets both of your needs.
- Share what you learned with your team. Email a summary to all of those who will benefit from it.
Data tables: Robert Half survey of 2,200 CFOs.
Learn how to get the most out of your talent by taking advantage of AMA's management seminars and other resources.