How to fund your personal development
Your personal development budget
When organizations consider it’s important that its employees have sufficient opportunities for development and growth in the course of their career, they can implement a personal development budget. In this case, the company reserves a certain budget for each employee that he or she can spend on things that will further develop him or her. This can be for example doing a study program, joining conferences, buying literature or attending a workshop.
Do you have a personal development budget?
A budget for personal development can be part of your personal secondary labor conditions or can be required according to your collective labor agreement. But you can also ask for it yourself, without something mentioned in an agreement. A lot of companies mention that their employees are their biggest asset and therefore they want to invest in them. So, if you find a good training, workshop or conference, ask your supervisor to get it funded.
In The Netherlands the average budget specified for personal development is 949 euros per year per employee. But not all organizations do have such a budget. And next to that, when there is a budget it isn’t always known. Dutch research showed that almost 25 percent of the employees don’t know if they do have a budget for personal development. So, if you don’t know start asking for it.
If your employer doesn’t work with a budget or you have your own company, there is no reason to not start working on a fund for personal development. In many countries, it is the people themselves, saving money for personal development. They put, for example, each month a specific amount in a special fund that they only use for things that will further develop them.
How to get the best out of your personal development budget?
The most important person in the decision making about spending your budget for personal development is you. It is not your manager or supervisor who tells you how to spend the budget. It is you telling them where you want to spend the budget on and why.
But, how do you make such a decision? In this case, it is important to do a needs assessment, where do you stand now and what do you want to achieve? Do you want to broaden your skills or want to become an expert in your area? Do you prefer a short workshop or a long-term program? What do you want to achieve with your personal development budget?
The answers will guide you towards the best way of spending the budget for you. This differs from person to person and that’s why it is called a personal development budget. When you have a personal development plan it is great. The plan can help you to answer the questions above and guides you through your personal development.
Budget is not everything
Having a budget helps you in a world of lifelong learning. However, only having a budget doesn’t make you develop yourself. In fact, in the Netherlands 40% of the personal development budget isn’t used. Often the costs are the most important reason to not do a course, but also time and coaching play a huge role.
Development needs to be a priority for both the employee and the employer. The organization can support this by providing specific training-days for employees. However, the most important person is you. You need to give priority to your personal development. The HR-department or your supervisor can help you by showing different ways of development and helps you to decide what fits you. But in the end, it’s your development.