How to get your employer to pay for the PHR/SPHR/GPHR exam

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So, you want your employer to cough up some dough to help you get certified? All you have to do is walk into your boss’ office, jump on the desk, and say, “Show me the money!”

And you’ll quickly be escorted from the building.

You see, this process takes a little finesse. It’s not about you, it’s about them. You have to ask questions like:

  • How does my employer benefit from me being certified?
  • Have I done my due diligence in researching study tools?
  • Is there money in the budget for this? If not, how can I negotiate?
  • How can I demonstrate value after I’m certified (prove it was worth it!)?

Show me the value

First you have to be able to communicate the value of the certification. What can you do (or do better) if they pay for it? What benefits does the company receive? Make it seem like a business proposal instead of all about you. The closer you can tie the certification to the department/organization’s goals, the better. Use stats from HRCI on the importance of certification.

Get your research on

You will need to seek out and filter the options to decide what is the best certification prep tool available. Options include offerings from SHRM, HRCP, HRReview, and more. Make a chart comparing cost, features, and downsides of each.

My company has empty pockets. Now what?

If you’re like me and you work in a nonprofit organization or a very small company, it’s likely that you won’t get much (if any) support on this. Or maybe you are in a larger company, but your training/development budget has been destroyed since the economic├é┬átumble. There are a few suggestions that can make the difference between a “yes” and a “no.”

  • Go halfsies if need be.
  • Join or create a group to share the resources (and the cost burden).
  • Have your entire HR department attempt certification. Groups can help motivate you to do better, too!
  • If the shiny new package is a bit much, hit eBay for recent versions at a fraction of the cost.
  • You might also check with friends or local SHRM chapter members to see if you can find a local set.

After the fact-make stuff happen

One big issue for me is that once the exam is done, there is wasted capital sitting there on the shelf that probably won’t ever be touched again. Do something with your knowledge and the tools you (or the company) invested in.

  • Build internal training
  • Teach others
  • Sell it like the other eBay-ers

If you can’t show how the company is benefiting, then there’s a slim chance they’ll ever be willing to share some $$$ with you next time you ask. Follow through and show them that the investment was worth it. Next time your performance is reviewed, make sure to put an emphasis not only on your shiny new designation, but on what you’ve accomplished with it. If you get certified but don’t do anything differently, it was a waste of time and effort!

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