How to tell your boss you’re heading back to study

You’ve decided it’s time to take your career to the next level and build your skills with study, but there’s just one thing holding you back…how do you tell your boss?

It can be tough to broach the topic of study with your manager, but it’s important to let them know that it’s of interest to you. If you go about it the right way it could help your boss to see you as a more valuable employee too.

Learn more about how you can get your manager on board with study and understand your need for more flexible working hours, or better yet – help fund your study!

How to tell your boss you’re heading back to study

Research your company policy

Before you set up any meetings with your manager, find out as much as you can about your company’s view on study. Many progressive workplaces see the benefits – morally and financially – in supporting their employees as they study while working.

If you find there are HR policies or options in your professional development plans to do so, you’re one step closer to convincing your manager that it’s a positive initiative you’re undertaking. If your company shows no options in this regard, the next points may help you prepare.

Be flexible

So you don’t walk away with unfulfilled expectations, it’s important you understand from the outset that your manager primarily wants the best for the business. Be prepared that your ideal work/study proposal may not be fully accepted by your employer. Stay confident in your decision but take cues from your manager on this.

As well as presenting your ideal option, be open to looking into alternatives like online or short courses as these can allow for greater flexibility. Your manager might prefer the idea of an online course which could allow you to study in your lunch break or after hours and wouldn’t call for you to travel to attend classes.

Prepare yourself

By now, it’s likely that you’ve done your research and found a shortlist of courses you’re interested in. Make sure you bring some information about these courses along to the catch up with your manager.

You should also think about preparing a list of questions that cover anything you’re unsure about, such as:

  • Is the company in a position to cover my study fees? If so, in full or only partially?
  • If I return to study, is there an opportunity to alter my working hours or drop back to part-time?
  • Would the company be comfortable with me taking off days to attend on-campus exams or workshops (if necessary)?

Highlight the two-way benefits

Last but not least, express the goals you have for your study and let your boss know how this could be of benefit to the business too. It’s likely the only way your manager will agree to funding a portion of your study is if there is an overarching benefit to the company.

In your discussion, it will be essential to highlight your loyalty to the business and connect your reasons for study to your role and beyond. In essence, this discussion is a ‘pitch’ so talk to the new skills you will gain and how you’ll be able to apply your new-found knowledge.

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