I am really committed to training and certification but my employer is not really supportive. Should I look for work elsewhere or try to sell them on certification?

A. Don't change jobs before you try to sell management on the value of certification. This can be an uphill battle, but if other aspects of the job are positive, then by all means, stay and try to change things.

Here are some quick ideas:

1. Certification is a not a cost, it is an investment, and a bargain at that! One of the highest business costs is employee replacement and retraining. Don't share this information right away with your boss, because it might imply that you are looking elsewhere for employment, but it is a fact. Any benefit that affects employee self-worth like training can make or break employee retention.

2. Start with baby steps. Maybe your boss won't pony up the bucks to send you to a training center for a week and pay for your certification test. Start out small instead. See whether your boss will pay for some self-study books that you and other employees can check out, as you would at a library. Ask whether you can use a meeting room at lunch time once a week and invite anyone else that is interested to join you for these "lunch and learn" sessions. Invite the boss to come sit in so he can see your enthusiasm about learning and see employees spending a lunch hour to learn new things.

3. Tie business events to training. Begin to examine everyday business events in the light of training. If you look deep enough, you will discover several business symptoms that point to a lack of a proper training and certification emphasis.

  • Joe left to go to XYZ company. (Ask your boss, "I wonder whether Joe left because of a better training program?")
  • We just landed a new client. ("Boss, maybe the time is right for us to send someone for some training on XYZ since we landed the Simpson contract.")
  • We just lost an important client. ("Boss, maybe we need to send someone to training on XYZ since we don't want to lose any more clients like that because of a lack of competency on XYZ.")
  • Server outage because of operator error. ("We've got things back online, boss, but I think we need to look at this event as a lack of training issue. Can we send Joe for some training on backup and recovery best practices?")
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