Almost every job vacancy mentions that TOPdesk offers you a training budget. What exactly is this budget and what does it cover? Seasoned HR adviser Anna Afoichini takes us through the wonderful world of TOPdesk training budgets and the TOPdesk Academy.
Why is it important for potential colleagues to know about TOPdesk’s training budgets and the TOPdesk Academy?
“Because they speak to the TOPdesk culture! We ask potential colleagues to show initiative, to demonstrate that they’re entrepreneurial and inquisitive by nature. New colleagues are allowed to set their own course and grow, looking for where they want to improve or what they want to specialize in. In short, our culture stands for motion and progress, moving in whatever direction best suits the individual involved. Learning and training are part of this process. Freedom to move is created when you don’t have to constantly ask whether something is allowed or not, when you don’t have to fill out long forms to get approval for a course. Not to mention the waiting time until an agreement is reached…Colleagues are quite capable of deciding for themselves how to use their budget wisely. Training budgets say something about how we work together at TOPdesk. And I think that’s a deciding factor for potential colleagues!”
Why does TOPdesk offer training budgets?
“Basically, for the same reason it interests you when searching for a new job: it’s part of the TOPdesk culture. We have an open culture with lots of freedom. We also believe it’s very important that people have the opportunity to learn and can learn continuously. Training budgets allow everyone to decide for themselves what their path will be and what they need along the way. Books? A course? By making budgets available, we encourage colleagues to take the opportunity to grow by gaining new knowledge and skills!”
Does everyone get a budget just like that?
“Almost everyone, yes! On-call employees do not, in principle, have a training budget. But, are you an intern at TOPdesk? If so, we’d also like to see if you can go to conferences or attend webinars that are relevant to your internship or to TOPdesk. Especially if we agree that you’ll be staying with us after your internship! Everyone in permanent employment has an annual amount of $600 CAD per person to spend on training.
If you start in January and see a cool course or conference come along in March, you can spend the money at that time. We assume that you’ll see out the year and waiting until December to use your entire budget would therefore be a waste. If your employment starts later than January, your training budget will be prorated.
Do you want to take a course that costs $1500? Then we’ll look at whether it’s relevant enough to justify exceeding the budget. We’ve set the budget limit mainly as a guideline. In addition, many training courses might fall under a departmental budget – make sure to find out! For example, I’ll be attending a webinar soon on the legal aspects of working from home. For me personally that’s super interesting but it’s actually knowledge that we need from an HR perspective too. So that webinar has ended up going off the department’s budget and not my personal TOPdesk training budget. You can also use the TOPdesk Academy, if your training course is more expensive!”
What exactly is the TOPdesk Academy?
“The TOPdesk Academy is an additional budget that offers another opportunity to follow education programs and training courses. Courses that involve a slightly higher amount of money. Master’s degree programs or courses given by official training institutes are simply a lot more expensive. Unlike training budgets – which individuals are free to spend as they wish – the TOPdesk Academy involves a few more agreements. For example: That you remain employed at TOPdesk for another year. This ensures that your course or program is put to direct use in your work at TOPdesk. We also feel it’s important that you explain why it’s necessary for you to follow that particular course or program. Is it to add depth to your current job, for example, or will the course help you to land your dream job?
The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt courses that consultants like to take to immerse themselves further in their field are good examples. So too are the Sandler sales training programs, or following a master’s degree program in sociology or management. The TOPdesk Academy is also sometimes used for external career coaching.”
Training budgets say something about how we work together at TOPdesk. And I think that’s a deciding factor for potential colleagues!
What are the coolest things you can do with a training budget or the TOPdesk Academy?
“I always think it’s cool when colleagues want to take their self-development further. But I particularly admire people who do a master’s degree on top of their current job. I think it’s super cool that you have the motivation and drive to get started, even though you’ve already got a good job with lots of opportunities. This is exactly what TOPdesk Academy aims to encourage.
The training budget, on the other hand, allows you not just to focus on your professional development, but on your personal development too. For example, a mindfulness course or a getting-things-done course. You can use the budget to do things that will really help you in your private life as well. If you make it a routine, you can learn new skills every year. It doesn’t always have to be big. People move forward by learning and growing – that’s exactly what we want to encourage!”
Are there any disadvantages to offering a training budget?
“Unfortunately, yes. I remember well when I was just starting out at TOPdesk, which was in November a few years back. I’m not entirely sure whether they were trying to trick me, but there were two colleagues standing at the coffee machine, chatting about the training budget. “I have to buy books before it’s too late,” one of them said jokingly. The first thing I thought was: hang on, that’s not the intention! A budget gives the impression that it has to be used or that it’s an acquired right. But it’s intended to incentivize colleagues to purchase something that hopefully will enrich their world. And that’s not necessarily filling up your bookcase. So above all else do something useful with it!”
How do you spend your training budget?
“I once took a weekend course to discover what motivates me. This was primarily for myself, but afterwards it turned out to be useful for work as well. So, after consultation, the costs could eventually be deducted from my training budget. I also often buy books that are useful for HR purposes. Training courses on “How to Trust in Your Own Strengths” and “How to Make Choices” are also popular. Oh, and I took a French language course! Mais oui.”