Did you suffer serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) this year during the SHRM annual conference? Mark your calendars: the annual SHRM conference for 2019 will be held in Las Vegas from June 23 – 26! Sure, its possible to keep up with some of the takeaways virtually, but there is certainly something to be said for being able to attend in person.
While prices are always cheaper the earlier your sign up, I totally get that if you would like your employer to sponsor your trip, you will need to get this on their radar sooner than later in order to work through any budget and planning processes that you need to get cleared before you can sign up. SHRM has their 5 reasons of why to attend SHRM 19 already up on their website – but these may not be enough to get your manager on board. NOTE: I’m talking about the next annual SHRM conference, but really, these tips work for any conference or training you want to ask your manager to support.
Understand Your Company’s Training and Travel Budget
And the timing of when decisions are made. Depending on your fiscal calendar, you may need to have conversations NOW about an event that is almost a year away. Ask your manager about training and development budget. Most managers WANT to develop their employees – and HR people are some of the worse offenders of ringing this bell for their clients and employees but not doing it for themselves. Come prepared with the reasons why, the timing, and most importantly the costs – you’ll want to include the costs for the conference, airfare, and hotel to give a good estimate. I always suggest breaking the estimate out by those three categories. Remember, the earlier you book your conference, the cheaper it is (and ensure that you’re a SHRM member – members of the hosting organization generally pay less than non-members). Check to see if there are others in your office/company who want to go too – there is often a group discount for a certain number of people to attend – and that might get some additional savings as well. Once you have the details, be sure to ask your manager what the next steps are to get this approved and what else you might need to include to increase the likelihood that it’ll be approved. For some of you, your work is done, but for others, your manager is going to ask for a business case… read on 🙂
Translate Your Training and Attendance into ROI for the Business
I’d say that the #1 mistake that people make when they are asking to go to training is that they create a business case of all the reasons THEY want to go to the training – they need certification credits or haven’t been to training in a while. While its helpful to know why you want to attend, you should turn that into what the business gets for sending you. Not sure where to start? Look at some of the top issues that your business is trying to solve and correlate that to the training sessions you can attend and learn from. Then tie it to cost avoidance or soft costs that you’ll save if you get up to speed and/or ways you’ll help move company strategy forward. Look at your HR project and program road map, the areas you plan to invest in, and the vendors and providers who will be there and can help you start doing some pre-assessments and research. It takes a bit of work, but come up with a strategy, find a way to show how that benefits and/or solves a problem for the business, and then create a plan to accomplish those things at the conference.
Make a Deal
Be ready to make a deal in order to attend a SHRM conference. Don’t be afraid to be get creative when working with your manager to find ways to compromise so you can go to the conference. Here are a few ideas:
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You agree to go to the national conference every other year
Maybe you agree to pay part of your conference expenses if the company puts in a certain amount
Perhaps you agree to do a write-up or article summing up what you learned and next steps at the conclusion of the conference
Try brainstorming with your manager and/or others in HR who may have suggestions for you. And don’t just think about your employer – check with your local SHRM chapter as they may have a program or scholarship to help with continuing education or conference costs. And remember that you can check out the SHRM Foundation as well – they offer scholarships for continuing education (and many other programs too)! If your manager still says no or is on the fence, keep in mind that many SHRM chapters have a regional or state conference which may be a more affordable option.
What are some of your tips to convince your manager to send you to training or conferences?