Why Professional Development for Employees Should Be a Top Priority

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A competent, empowered, and highly motivated workforce is crucial for your business. It can help secure your place in today’s competitive market. At the same time, a workforce with a growth mindset is also key to ensuring your business’ success. Sure, hiring the right people for the job is essential. But retaining talent and helping them be their best selves professionally are just as important, especially if you want to build a strong foundation for your company’s future.

The Benefits of Encouraging Professional Development for Employees

Encouraging your employees to be more proactive in their professional development means you see and believe in their potential. You’re also empowering them to secure their futures, both in their personal lives and in their roles in your organization’s future. Moreover, encouraging employees’ professional development is in your company’s best interest. Here are some benefits to placing importance on your employees’ professional growth:

Boost Employee Morale and Retention Rates

If you want to achieve high job satisfaction rates and reduce employee turnover, then you need to include workforce development in your people management strategy. Supporting employees in their professional growth and providing concrete opportunities to do so are key factors in improving employee performance and creating a positive company culture.

Save Time and Money on Recruiting and Onboarding New Hires

It may not be apparent at first, but reduced employee turnover rates mean saving valuable time and financial resources on recruiting and onboarding new employees. It also means that your human resources team can focus on other employee engagement strategies, including fine-tuning employee retention programs and developing corporate training programs.

Have a Clear Business Succession Plan

By putting emphasis on professional development, you and your employees are playing active roles in creating a better future together. Your employees will feel not just seen but empowered to improve, so they can take on more senior roles in your organization. At the same time, your company can identify individuals who have the potential to fill high-level roles in the future. Once such employees have been identified, it’s easier to craft training and development plans to make sure they’re well equipped to assume these roles when needed.

How to Encourage Professional Development: The Three C’s

Hopefully, the above benefits have given you the extra drive you need in making professional development a priority. Now, it’s time to ensure you have the basics in place to set your employees (and your company!) up for success. Here are some tips to help encourage your employees to invest in their professional development:

Clear Goals and Objectives

Employees will have a better chance at improving and growing if they have clear goals to work towards. Setting KPIs, personal goals, and business goals should be done regularly starting at the onboarding phase. This way, the whole organization is aligned on the level of performance that is expected from each employee. Make sure, though, that these KPIs and goals don’t remain stagnant. To remain competitive, your company targets should remain relevant and in tune with the ever-changing global market and industry standards.

Consistent and Timely Feedback is Key

Once you’ve laid out clear objectives and goals, it’s time to follow through with consistent feedback. Quarterly performance appraisals should be non-negotiables. Every company that wants its workforce and, essentially, its business to improve should have them. Feedback during performance appraisals can prove useful in recognizing high-performing employees and helping underperforming ones improve. Aside from using appraisals as the basis for promotions and bonuses, managers can also use them as avenues to discuss challenges and opportunities with their team members.

Quarterly performance appraisals are important, but regular feedback sessions should not be neglected. Leaders in your organization should be trained and encouraged to provide valuable feedback clearly and often. Feedback is a valuable and essentially free tool to improve performance, so it’s best not to wait until the quarterly performance review sessions to give it.

Create Relevant Development Opportunities

Showing that your organization values professional development is more than just lip service. You should follow through by offering training and development opportunities to your employees. Formal development opportunities include internal or employer-sponsored training. These types of training can cover a wide variety of topics. The important thing is to find out which ones should be included in a specific employee’s development program. For example, if an employee is on the digital marketing track, then their program should include training opportunities that cover topics that are relevant to that function. The program can include certification courses like Advanced SEO Strategies or Google Analytics. Those who are identified as future leaders should have leadership skills training included in their program. Such training will equip them with the right knowledge and tools needed to do well in a leadership role.

Management should also make an effort to provide informal development opportunities for its employees. Leaders should be empowered to identify learning and development opportunities that their team can benefit from. Such opportunities can include one-on-one mentoring or even team huddles where every individual has a platform to share their best practices and learnings.

Encouraging employees to be committed to their professional development provides a wide variety of benefits for both the workforce and the company. It can be a crucial factor in making sure that your company’s future is in great and capable hands. So if you want to set you and your employees up for success, you need to invest time, resources, and energy in your employees’ professional development.

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