Continuing Education: The Business Case

Continuing education is an investment that benefits both organizations and employees; to sell its importance, employees need to communicate the value of that investment in a win-win way. Too often though, employees try to justify continuing education by describing its benefits to them individually —rather than by describing the benefits to the organization. Let’s look at better ways to approach it.

Selling the Benefits

  • Immediate impact of new, concrete skills: How will the skills help an existing client or engage a new customer?
  • Future impact of investment: For longer-term or more expensive educational investments, how will the investment support organization goals or expansion options in the future? How could a new certification ultimately lead to higher billing rates or value-added services?
  • Value of networking: Continuing education events connect people within an industry or market segment — these connections may reveal new candidate employees, new customer prospects or new partners. They may also result in stronger relationships with regulators or intelligence that can help your home team.
  • Demonstration of loyalty: By explaining how a continuing education event can support long-term organizational goals, you are communicating your dedication to those goals, building confidence in your loyalty to the organization. Show you are invested and that the organization’s investment in you will pay off.

Continuing Education Topics

Here is a list of common topics for continuing education:

  • Project Management: Extends skills in business management or project delivery
  • Marketing: Helps technical professionals advance their skills in a customer-focused direction
  • Technical Skills: Continues to build a professional’s toolbox to learn new software or programming language
  • Industry-Specific Advances: For rapidly evolving fields, continuing education is needed to keep skills sharp and up-to-date
  • Language: For organizations working in international contexts, new or refreshed language skills can support the organization’s mission and stretch an employee into new areas

Continuing education is a business expense that must be justified objectively and thoughtfully — selling it as an investment with payoffs for both you and the organization pays dividends for all.