Professional Development – Process of improving and increasing capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organization, or through watching others perform the job. Professional development helps build and maintain morale of staff members, and is thought to attract higher quality staff to an organization.
Professional development, career advancement, and personal growth are all popular terms that are used when discussing employee benefits. It’s understandable why top-performing employees are seeking this perk, but have you ever realized how beneficial it is for the business overall? Here are reasons why a professional development plan should be made a priority at your organization, and helpful tips to get the ball rolling.
You will attract and retain top talent.
As a friendly reminder, your organization is nothing without your staff. If you want to attract and retain the best employees, you have to give them what they want. What they want is to feel appreciated by a company they can grow with, which is why professional development should be something your company believes in and provides.
To start, take a personal interest in your employees’ career goals. Meet with each employee to learn about their professional objectives and expectations. Be clear and honest what steps need to be taken in order to advance, and assist in formulating a plan to help them succeed. Taking the time to have this conversation will lower employee turnover, as employees will feel valued. Knowing that there is opportunity for growth within the company, or opportunity for personal growth, will make your staff more motivated than ever to work their hardest.
Once you have a professional development plan in place, utilize it to decrease the amount of time it takes to fill an open position as well. Instead of not choosing to hire a talented candidate solely because they are missing a required certification, offer them the position and help them obtain the one missing skill that will help them succeed. A professional development plan will allow you to hire bright, determined candidates and mold them with the skills your organization needs.
Your company will be more credible.
Another big part of professional development is investing in further training or education for your staff. If an employee shows interest in wanting to learn a new skill or obtain a certification in order to advance in your organization, offer to help financially. Allowing your employees to expand their knowledge will not only boost their confidence, but will make them more knowledgeable in their role. This reflects well not only on them, but the entire company. If more training and education isn’t appropriate, bring in guest speakers or offer to send employees to an industry conference.
A less expensive approach is encouraging employees from different departments to schedule sit-ins with each other. Learning what others do in different departments will help employees have a better understanding of the organization as a whole, giving them a better chance to advance down the road. This routine will inspire both parties involved, teach unfamiliar skills, and surface fresh ideas.
When deciding if investing in professional development is worth it or not, think about how much more credible your company will be if all of your employees’ certifications and/or skills are up to date. New clients are more likely to work with you over the competition if your team is well-educated with the latest and greatest industry knowledge. Well-informed and well-rounded employees will produce at much higher levels, which will make your company more successful than ever.
If your company hasn’t already implemented professional development into your plan/budget, take some time to reconsider. Instead of thinking of it as just a benefit for your employees, remember how it can positively impact the entire business.