There’s a lot of value in making sure your employees have access to professional development. First, a lot of job seekers look for that benefit when they’re interviewing and applying to jobs. Second, continued learning means a long career and many employees will feel more loyal to the company that sponsors their professional development. And finally, if you train your employees in the skills they need to advance their careers, your company will benefit from those skills immediately, resulting in a more competitive stance in your industry’s market. Here’s more on the importance of encouraging professional development in your employees.
Offer an important perk
No matter the industry you’re in, professional development is increasingly important to job seekers. Technology changes rapidly, and in order to keep up with their jobs’ demands, employees have to be up to date in the latest trends and practices. Most job seekers are thinking ahead to the next steps in their careers when they apply to any job, so they want one that will best prepare them for the future. In other words, if your company doesn’t offer the tools and resources to equip them for their current job or any other advanced rolls down the road, they’re going to find one that does.
When you support your employees’ professional development, they’re going to support you in return. Most understand what an investment professional development is and they realize that to make such an investment means you respect their abilities, see their potential, and trust their work ethic. They’ll show that loyalty right back to you, using their new skills to strengthen your company and staying in your employ longer as gratitude for your investment in their futures. The best employees stay with companies that help them get better.
Customize what you offer
Be specific and selective about the types of professional development you offer. Look for courses, seminars, conferences and webinars that really will stretch and grow your employees and help your company. If people can’t see the benefit, either for themselves or for the team as a whole, they’ll lose interest and motivation. Use metrics and routine quick, easy assessments to see what your team needs help with and what areas they might require some training in.
Make it accessible
Then, make sure the training is easy to access and still allows employees to balance their demands at home and at work. Some of your employees might be perfectly comfortable using their personal time on weekends and evenings for training, but others—perhaps those with families or young children—won’t be, so make sure you build time into their daily or weekly schedules so they can pursue it. But if the training process is overly complicated, unclear or cumbersome, chances are no one will take it on.
Grow your team of experts
When your employees are fully trained, they become the experts. You can use them to train new employees and the rest of your team. Make it a part of your culture to admit when you need help with something and encourage personal growth and the pursuit of knowledge. Share your own professional development tales and pursuits and take time in meetings to talk about other employees learning adventures to normalize the whole process.
Expand your competitive edge
Each of your employees will learn differently and probably need different learning opportunities, but when you encourage that professional development, learning and growth, you lay the groundwork for your team to be better prepared than your competition.
For more tips on fostering a workplace environment that encourages growth and learning, check out our blog!
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