Developing and growing your skills is without a doubt an integral part of becoming a better remote worker or manager. The qualities you need will develop over time the longer you work in a remote environment, but you can really kick start your growth by actively learning new methods and techniques.
Everyone wants to improve, but finding the time and resources to do so can be difficult. With our busy modern schedules, you simply might not have enough time to dedicate. You may not even be able to personally afford to attend that great seminar you’ve been thinking about, or the online course you’ve got your mind set on.
One way of getting over this hurdle is to get buy in from your employer to help you with your development. An employer can set aside time for you to learn, and reimburse you for the costs of any training materials you may need. Not every employer is on the same page however! You may have to do some negotiating and explain to your boss what benefits you’ll be able to bring after completing your education.
If you follow our advice and set out your arguments in a structured way, you’ll have a much better chance of securing the help you need. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from having more skilled workers, you just have to get the message across!
What kind of arguments work for your employer?
Convincing your boss to use some of their budget for your education is probably going to require some preparation and work. The best way to achieve this is to do your research and put together your argument thoroughly before you meet with your manager. This way they are presented from the get go clear and well thought out arguments for them to reimburse you.
Gather all the information you possibly can, along with reviews and testimonials from previous attendees if possible. If your boss can see that other companies have had real and fantastic results, then it’s going to make the process a lot easier. Put yourself in their shoes and think about the possible concerns they have: Will you be able to perform at work while doing your training? Will you go on the course and then leave soon after? Try to find out as well if your company has already paid for somebody else’s education and what they had to do to secure it..
The easiest argument to use is that it will ultimately improve your productivity and bring benefits to the company. There are some great studies out there that explain this, so if this is the kind of thing your boss would be into it wouldn’t hurt to send them some (here and here). Another great argument is the fact that you yourself can then pass on your skills to other team mates. You can attend the course, and then help teach and educate people on your team.
Think about who you should talk to and how
Depending on the structure of your company, it might not even be your direct manager or boss who is the best person to talk to. Training and education may be an employee perk that you are entitled to or there is already a budget for. Your HR manager may have some responsibility here so get in touch with them to clarify company policy. Either way, you should be prepared to make a strong argument for your case at the right time. Schedule a meeting with your boss so there is enough time to talk, and a follow-up meeting to give them time to think it over. Another great tip is to prepare an email with all the relevant information in it and your reasons. Send this along with your request for a meeting, so that everyone is already prepared and your boss has had time to think about your reasons. You then have a second chance to change his mind if he wasn’t convinced by the email!
A tuition reimbursement contract
Some companies may agree to your training so long as you sign a tuition reimbursement contract. The idea here is that the company pays, but if you leave your job within a certain time period you will have to reimburse them for all or a portion of the fees. Depending on the contract you sign, your company will pay the external firm directly or will give you the money after you’ve paid. Usually the amount you would have to pay goes down over time as well. Your employer may not be aware of this arrangement, so it can be good to explain this during your pitch as an option they may not have thought about. This way they are guaranteed to reap the benefits of your training, or get their money back and incur no losses. Your firm may already have examples of such contracts already drawn up, you get your own produced or even find versions online. It’s important to remember to always seek legal advice from a professional before you sign any contract though.
Getting the correct remote training
If you make the process as simple as possible for your boss to follow and lay out the benefits clearly, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting reimbursed for your chosen training. Show your enthusiasm and explain exactly how the education will benefit your new job. Your employer shouldn’t see it as a sunk cost, but an investment that will pay off greatly in the long run.
If you’re looking for new ways to improve your remote work skills and potential as a manager of remote teams, then have a look at our Certified in Distributed Management program. It’s totally online so can easily fit in with your schedule, and is made up of seminars and lessons from the best remote experts in the industry. You’ll be managing remote teams like a pro in no time!