When it comes to career advancement as a Business Analyst, certifications are definitely the front-runner. Getting a certification has undoubtedly a lot of benefits. The primary one is to increase knowledge. As trends are constantly changing, keeping up to date and improving skills is important. Certifications also help a professional in becoming more marketable. Having a certification shows that a minimum standard of knowledge is met, which is essential for career advancement. It also goes out to prove the person’s commitment to learning and getting formally certified by an independent body.
After carefully scrutinizing all the different certifications available for Business Analysts in the market and finally selecting the one which brings both recognition and value, comes the most difficult part of paying for the certification. Many employees look to their employers for help in earning their certifications. But this is easier said than done. Convincing the employer to invest in a certification by allowing you to attend the training and also pay for the course is not a rather straightforward matter.
Top 5 reasons organizations do not fund employee training and certification
According to several studies, the top 5 reasons, why organizations do not undertake employee training and certification are-
The employee has simply not approached the organization with a concrete training proposal.
Employers do not have an appreciation for the business value of the training; measurable benefits of the training are not highlighted and understood.
Employers fear a disruption in critical business activities, especially if the training is for a longer duration.
Employers are afraid employees will leave after they’ve invested in their professional development and they become more valuable professionally.
Budget Constraints – an organization might not have enough budget allotted for training & certification
According to an article in Harvard Business Review, an analysis of over 1200 young achievers (30-something managers) revealed that employers generally satisfied their need for increased responsibility and promotion opportunities. But “they’re not getting much in the way of formal development, such as training, mentoring and coaching”.
Having noted the reasons why organizations do not want to fund employee certifications, let us look at the top reasons why they should be doing it
Assisting employees’ in their Business Analysis certification journey leads to happier employees and Rewards and recognition are great ways to motivate them. The employee can be part of a mentoring program in the organization wherein he/she is assigned to a few team members to mentor and guide. This helps in the overall competency development of the organizations as well as gives a higher recognition to the mentor. This will create loyal employees, better competency and can get rid of attrition as well.
It boosts productivity. A knowledgeable business analyst doesn’t only improve his/her work, they help in increasing the overall productivity of the project by bringing in and sharing expert knowledge. This improves the knowledge base of the entire organization.
Gives clients/stakeholders greater confidence in the capabilities of the organization
Keeping all this in mind, when you approach your manager/HR for approval of requisite funding, it is best to be prepared with something in tune to a sales pitch, as the main objective is to get the organization to agree to invest time and money on the certification you have chosen. It is very important to understand how to convince them.
It is very important that when you put in an application, you highlight how the certification is going to benefit the organization and move it towards its goals. The more that you can show the ROI of the certification to your company, the better chances you have of getting it approved.
Some pointers to “sell” your pitch to your employer can be-
Highlight how the certification can help you be better at your job as a business analyst.
Certifications impart better knowledge of the subject and teach better ways of doing a job. Let your employer know that this certification will allow you to tackle new challenges, solve higher business problems, come up with better and more effective solutions to business problems, allow the organization to bag better projects. Describe how the certification program will impact your job, department, and company. Certification can help business analysts stand out in the field. Stress upon the fact that the process of achieving and maintaining certification helps ensure that you will be continually improving and refining your activities.
Impress upon the fact that having a certified business analyst in a project boosts its productivity
Signify the business value of the certification by showing measurable benefits to the organization like an increase in project performance as you will be having specialized knowledge thanks to your certification course and improved skill set.
This will lead to higher trust by the customer and easier to convince the client on the basis of improved skill set.
Another way to help your cause is to do your research
It is important that you have all the necessary information with yourself while making the pitch. Knowledge about the various aspects of your certification will help you in convincing your employer better understand the need of the same. Some of the points which you should be prepared with can be-
The total cost of the certification
Duration of the certification
The global reputation of the certification provider
Will the course require you to take time off for your preparation, explore if you can complete the course in online mode to minimize the disruption to business/absence from work
Cost-benefit of the certification to the company
Convince your employer that taking up the certification is not going to affect your job.
Studying outside work hours should be the aim, as it has minimal impact on your job. This gives your employer peace of mind in knowing that project deadlines will not be affected due to your course. Try to convince your employer that you will not be leaving the organization once you get certified and are willing to sign some kind of bond to show your intent towards it. (It’s good for your reputation too as it shows your loyalty towards your employer and can help you in the future when you’re looking for a job anyway.)
You can impart the knowledge you have learnt to other team members
Giving back to others is the greatest form of serving a community. A certified business analyst can impart their knowledge/mentor team members on the newer skills. This will help the entire team, department, and company do better and work more efficiently.
Highlight how having a certified BA in the project can build the confidence of the clients/stakeholders
Having a certified business analyst demonstrates to customers, competitors, suppliers, staff, and investors that the organization uses industry-standard business analysis practices. It also demonstrates to the stakeholders that the business is run effectively and as per latest industry norms and practices.
Chances are, if you can make a compelling case, your boss/management will fully support your certification and offer assistance. No organization can afford to ignore their staff’s professional development in today’s economy. With the rapid pace of change, employees must continually update their skills and knowledge if their employer is to survive and succeed.