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5 Steps to Convince Your Company to Reimburse your Development

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 2:58 PM | Kevin Smith (Administrator)

Whether you’re dreaming about attending I.C.E.or ready to up your Rapid Development game here in Madison in May, we’ve got you covered. @Andrea Meade is letting you in on her secrets to getting paid for your development. We’ve taken her advice, too, and provided you with the ROI for ATD-MACmembership based on Andrea’s strategy. 

5 Steps to Convince Your Company to Reimburse your Development
By Andrea Meade

I am often asked, “How did you convince your employer to help reimburse your expenses related to your professional certifications and development?” For instance, my CPLP was paid for in full by a previous employer. Conference attendance as well as professional memberships (including ATD) also have costs associated with them that my employers usually pay for. 

1)    Research your company’s policies regarding professional development and employee expense reimbursement. Many companies already have policies in place allowing for full reimbursement, while others will compensate a percentage of the cost, or may have policies contingent on performance or frequency of sessions. If you’re unsure what the policy is, reach out to your HR department or manager.  

2)    Once you have a clear understanding of the policiesresearch what it is you want to do and the costs associated for it. I recommend breaking it down into a spreadsheet to help outline your expenses and do the math for you. 

How to Calculate Cost:

  • Use www.gsa.gov when calculating cost for meals, lodging and incidentals.  
  • There are perks to staying in hotels arranged by conferences, such as additional networking opportunities, free shuttles, and typically a negotiated rate that is better than the GSA per diem rate.
  • Check plane fares often – the pricing does change periodically.  Remember to include parking if you’re leaving your car at the airport or consider a ride sharing service.
  • Don’t factor in just the cost of a class or certification.  Remember to include things like learning materials, extra online classes, etc.
3)    Now that you have your breakdown of the financial implications, you need to sell the opportunity and experience to your company or manager by conveying the benefits they will reap from your attendance. Depending on the subject of the training, you might find additional support on the website for the conference or the hosting organization. Make them understand the ROI for your entire team. 
In your pitch, answer the questions:
  • What are the benefits of physically attending an event versus a virtual seminar?
  • Why is this the best event/conference for you to attend compared to a similar event/conference?
  • What will you bring back to your company as a benefit? Be ready with statements. 

4)    Document everything in writing. This is often times already a policy in place with your employer, but if not, it’s a great best practice. Specifically, written approvals should always be maintained should you need to submit expense reports, change managers, etc.

5)    Once you receive approval, be sure to save the receipts if you pay for anything out of pocket.Remember to follow your company’s policies regarding expense reimbursement and record retention. If you have to use a company credit card. Be sure to also save those receipts.

It’s important to remember, you can’t complain about not going to an event, or not having a membership if you never ask for the opportunity. Also hearing a, “No,” to one thing doesn’t mean it will always be a, “No,” to everything. Keep trying and show your value and what you need to continue to bring additional value to your workplace. 

Don’t be surprised to have a bit of back and forth when trying to obtain approval for higher cost items. The company and your manager want to ensure that money from their budget is going to something that benefits the whole and provides rewards everyone can use. Expect some resistance, but know that with persistence and the right justification, you may find yourself going to a conference, having your membership dues paid, or having more resources at your disposal!


Andrea has been working in the talent development field for over 10 years and obtained her Certified Professional in Learning and Performance from ATD in 2014. She started training because she simply had a knack for it. Since then, she has continued to grow as a trainer and develop her skills and experience in facilitation, instructional design and coaching.

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