Investing in the professional development of your employees is a win-win. Your team wants to know that you care about them as an individual. One of the ways you can show them is to support them in their career goals. Due to the influence of technology in the workplace, no matter what your industry, up to date training is necessary.
A Wasp report showed that 82% of the companies being surveyed had plans to develop their employees more in the next 12 months.
Having a good professional development plan also helps companies to increase employee retention. According to a SHRM survey, only one-third of employees (32%) are very satisfied with their organization’s commitment to professional development. This gap between the importance of professional development and satisfaction with it can lead to negative outcomes such as turnover: 21% cite a lack of career advancement opportunities as a reason to leave an organization.
One reason why companies don’t invest more in professional development for their employees may be because they’re not sure what the best tactics are to enhance their current programs. We’ve put together a list of ideas that you can use to help get the most out of your professional development program.
Ways To Get the Most Out of your Professional Development Program
Create a mentor program- Pair the less experienced people on your team with those who are more experienced. Sometimes an employee does not always want to go to their manager when they have a question about something. You can empower all of the members of your team to be a career resource for those that are newer to the organization. Set up bi-weekly meetings between the mentor and mentee to go over how they are doing and how they can best support each other in their career goals.
Management involvement- It’s pertinent that every team member feels supported by their peers as well as senior leadership. Let your team know you back them in their career goals by setting up regular meetings to over their goals and how they can best reach them.
Reward your employees for professional development- Human reaction to praise for the right behavior is the repetition of that behavior. Set up a social recognition platform that helps to establish praise as a regular part of your organizations’ culture. If you want to encourage your team to pursue their professional development goals, set up a rewards system to recognize them while they are working towards those accomplishments.
Ongoing education & advancement- In order to be able to stay at a job and grow, employees must make sure they are not only doing the job at hand; but also staying abreast to current industry trends and growing the knowledge that it takes to do the job well. There are several ways leaders can do this. Employers can send their employees to conferences, they can pay for subscriptions to online classes and they can even hold monthly luncheons with topical guest speakers.
Involvement in professional organizations- It’s important for employees to be connected within the organization but it’s just as important for them to connect with other outside industry professionals. One way to encourage this is to partner with outside professional organizations. Be sure to promote their events in your employee communication or maybe even offer a membership discount. Being involved in outside networking helps to expand their knowledge base and support network. These are also great groups to seek out for helping to win the war on talent and improving your recruitment efforts.
Keep things fresh with cross training- Obtaining new skills is necessary for career advancement. Employers should provide their teams with opportunities for them to sharpen their current skillset as well as, allow for their employees to cross train in other departments. This will allow them to be able to take on new and exciting responsibilities and ensure they stay well rounded in the industry.
Be an example- As a leader, your team will more likely do what you ask them to do if you also do it yourself. Join professional organizations, speak at conferences and sharpen your knowledge and leadership skills and you can expect your team to do the same.
Continued professional development is an investment, but one your employees will thank you for. We would love to help you talk through a strategy to reward and appreciate your employees when it comes to reaching their professional development goals. If you’d like help in this area contact us or leave a comment below.