The Importance of professional development
The Importance of Professional Development In 2022 & Beyond
These days, it’s difficult to be a true professional in the workplace without using industry jargon. Present day workplace terms like “synergy” or management telling you that they’ll “circle back” with them later to discuss “best practices.” Reviewing the “omni-channel” campaigns “ROI…” While these are ever evolving terms; there is one workplace term that is more relevent and important than ever…
All kidding and verbiage aside, if you own a business as referenced above…it’s time to start paying some serious attention to the latest trend and “buzz” word in the workplace and that’s PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. No, not the TV show arrested development, professional development, aka training and improving your employees skill set for the future. It makes sense – between changes brought about by the pandemic and the continuing advancement of technology, the landscape of the working world looks way different than it did just three years ago. Additionally, due to the labor shortage and an overall shift in priorities among American workers, employers are finding it more challenging to attract and retain talent.
When you combine all of these factors, it’s clear that professional development is more important now than ever. Not only does it benefit employees by providing them with opportunities to learn new things and advance in their careers, it also helps employers run their businesses more efficiently and demonstrates their commitment to seeing their team members succeed.
“From an employer standpoint, there really are no downsides to incorporating professional development into your standard operating procedures,” said Patrick Moraites, a partner and vice president of business development for Tampa-based Axis Group. “The companies that understand that are the ones that will be able to retain their employees and ultimately come out ahead in the long run.”
The numbers back him up. According to a Workforce Learning Report from LinkedIn, more than 90 percent of employees said they would stick with their company longer if that company was invested in their career development. Plus, when you consider the high costs associated with employee turnover and the time-consuming process of replacing them, professional development becomes more than just something that’s “nice to have.” It becomes an essential part of doing business.
Unlike training, which tends to be focused on teaching specific tasks that are needed to perform a job, professional development is more about developing skills that will contribute to an individual’s long-term success and career advancement.
Here are a few ways you can promote professional development in your organization:
- Mentoring programs: Pairing up experienced employees with colleagues who are just starting down their career paths can be a great way to encourage professional development. Not only can mentors share strategies that have worked for them during their careers, they can also help their mentees establish short and long-term goals and ensure they’re working toward achieving them. This mutually beneficial relationship can keep both parties engaged with their organization and committed to their professional growth and, ideally, the mentee will someday pay it forward by serving as a mentor themselves.
- Conferences: Conferences are excellent places to learn skills and strategies that have worked for other organizations and gain inspiration and motivation. They can also be a “one stop-shop” for continuing education credit, something that is required for many industries. With many conferences now offering virtual attendance options, it’s easier than ever to learn something new.
- Cross-training and shadowing opportunities: When employees are assigned to one specific role, it can be difficult to understand and fully appreciate what goes on in other areas of the company. By offering them opportunities to spend time with colleagues from other departments, employees can get a sense of the bigger picture and will feel more engaged with the organization as a whole. Perhaps it will even pique their interest in a new functional area!
- Coaching sessions: Whether it’s with a supervisor or an outside party, coaching sessions can be incredibly valuable when it comes to professional development. Coaches can provide individualized guidance on creating a career path and outlining the benchmarks the employees need to hit to achieve their goals in a timely manner. They can also provide strategies to help employees cope when things get challenging, which is important both inside and outside the office.
- Special project assignments: New projects can provide the ideal opportunity for employees to put their skills into practice. While there may be some bumps along the way, giving your team members the chance to see what they’re really capable of can pay off in building their confidence and helping them grow. And it can make a huge difference when promotion time comes!
You might be reading this and thinking, “Hey, these are great ideas but I just don’t think my company has the time or money to devote to professional development.” The good news is that there is help out there, and it comes in the form of a PEO.
A PEO, or Professional Employer Organization, is a single-source provider of integrated business services that allows owners to outsource, among other things, their employee-related tasks. When you hire a PEO, you gain access to dedicated human resources experts who are well versed in professional development and can help your team members take their careers to the next level.
“If employers really want to keep their employees engaged, professional development is key,” Moraites said. “For this reason alone, a PEO is worth its weight in gold.”
Wondering if a PEO can help your organization with professional development? The team at Axis Group is here to answer all your questions. Contact us today by clicking here.