Why should companies invest in their employees future?

“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson.

Many of us consider undertaking professional qualifications or further education to enhance our skills and employability, but are deterred by costs of tuition and finding the available finances to fund our studies.

But, what if more companies thought like Richard Branson and recognised the benefits investing in staff development can bring to their business?

Employers who offer funding for professional development generally see greater staff retention and satisfaction and more innovation in the workplace. Investing in your employees is also one of the most effective ways to show you value and see potential in them, and by creating an environment where learning is encouraged, businesses are more likely to be forward thinking and remain competitive.

But with all this said, many employers still struggle to prioritise staff training, especially if budgets are tight. So if you want to pursue a qualification but don’t have the means to fund it yourself, how can you show your employer the benefits they’ll gain by sponsoring you?

Progress your career without taking time away from it
A concern often voiced by employers is ‘how will you manage to complete this course whilst continuing to work your normal hours and giving 100% to your job?’ Learning online offers many students the perfect solution to this.

Online courses are designed to be flexible and allow you to study at a time convenient to you. Lectures are usually offered both live (screened on the Universities learning platform) and on-demand, meaning if you can’t attend a lecture at the scheduled time you can watch it back when you can, maybe even on the train to work.

The University of Sussex’s online courses work in this way. Delivered 100% online, our aim is to provide access to Masters courses to everyone, whatever their situation and wherever they are in the world. We also allow students to step on and off the course; so if you’re going through a really busy period at work and need to put in a few extra hours, you can pause your studies and rejoin the course when your job allows.

Pursuing an academic or professional qualification whilst continuing your career shows a high level of self-motivation. Managing your professional, home and social commitments alongside something like a Masters course also requires a high level of project and time management and shows your dedication to succeed. These are all skills that employers look for and help you to stand out amongst your colleagues and competition.

Practical teaching focused on the real-world
One of the greatest benefits employers see from investing in staff training is the new ideas, skills and enthusiasm employees bring to the workplace. At Sussex our online courses focus on real world examples, with students encouraged to relate what they learn in the classroom to their organisation and job role; implementing new ideas and solutions in the workplace as they learn.

Our academic teams are active within their specialist sectors, many provide consultancy support to global organisations and run project and research teams around the world – meaning you learn directly from those influencing and informing industry practices. We also encourage peer-to-peer learning; students work together on solutions and new ideas, and with the diverse student body our courses attract, you may find a process one of your classmates uses in New Zealand is exactly what you need to be more effective in the UK.

By choosing a course which is focused on practical teaching and real-world examples you can start driving change and influencing decisions in your organisation whilst you study, a great benefit to your employer.

Developing skills for modern business practices
One of the worlds greatest technical developments of the last 30 years is the internet and the opportunities it provides for organisations to take their businesses global. It is now possible to run teams in New York, Mumbai and Hong Kong from a desk in Canary Wharf. To brief a project one team started in London seven hours earlier to the equivalent team in Miami to complete ‘overnight’.

Although the internet is now (arguably) something we just can’t live without, it hasn’t always been that way, and many employers and employees fear that if they don’t find a way to keep up with technology they will get left behind.

Students who study online find one of the additional benefits of this study mode is the confidence they develop working within virtual environments and teams. Traditionally your seminar group would meet in the library of cafe to work on a project, when your seminar group is spread all over the world your groups have no option but to meet virtually.

As an online student you’ll also learn to navigate the challenges of working in different time zones and locations, bringing projects and presentations together when you’re thousands of miles apart. You’ll grow to understand how different cultures work and work with each other to develop solutions for global organisations.

Our top tips for approaching your employer
There are many more reasons and benefits as to why employers should sponsor their employees to pursue professional development.

If you’re seeking sponsorship from your employer to take a course or qualification you need to be prepared to show them the value they will gain from their investment.

Our top five tips to do this are;

  1. Choose a course which relates to your role and organisation and will help you add value to the business whilst you are studying. e.g. The practical project modules on (most of) the University of Sussex’s online Masters degrees can be related directly to your workplace.
  2. Go to your employer with a plan, which shows how you’ll fit studying around your job. e.g. If you study online with the University of Sussex you can study at a time, pace and place that suits you, and if you need to pause your studies at any point, you can step on and off the course as you need.
  3. Make sure they’re aware of the additional skills you’ll gain by taking this course.e.g. Time and project management, self-motivation and multi tasking are all additional skills you’ll pick up studying whilst you work. And if you choose to study at a University like Sussex, don’t forget to mention the benefits of learning in a diverse classroom and how you’ll develop your technical skills.
  4. Offer to share what you’re learning with your colleagues. e.g. Suggest you could write a monthly blog or newsletter for your colleagues, sharing what you’re learning and how your studies are benefiting your role.
  5. Ensure your manager knows what the course and their investment means to you and your reason for requesting training is to develop in your role, not to help you get a job somewhere else!

If you’d like to find out more about the online courses offered by the University of Sussex, join one of our regular webinars or get in touch with our study online Admissions Team who can tell you more about studying a Masters online with Sussex.

Find out more about our online courses.

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