How to Encourage Professional Development for Employees

By - chris
03.03.2023 10:24 AM

Professional development keeps companies relevant and sharp so that their employees can grow their skill sets.

If you lead a growth-focused organization, you understand the importance of attracting top-tier talent who want to continue advancing their career. 

Creating development opportunities for employees can boost company morale, increase engagement, and keep turnover low. Fostering employee growth is vital for companies to succeed in the age of quiet quitting and hybrid or remote work.

We outline the benefits of professional development for employees below, and how to implement growth systems in your organization.

How Employee Development Benefits All Parties

When employees increase their subject knowledge, learn new skills, update existing skills, and earn new certifications, their job satisfaction increases. But employees aren’t the only ones who benefit from development opportunities. 

Organizations that invest in employee development experience the following benefits:

  • Increased employee engagement (up to 80%!)

  • More motivated employees

  • Employees who feel empowered to complete their work

  • Employees who feel better equipped to do their job

Access to continued employee development allows both workers and businesses to thrive.

Identifying Areas of Employee Improvement

Choosing the right opportunities and creating a plan for implementation is key to a successful employee improvement program. It’s important to uncover the skill areas that could use improvement or updating and identify opportunities that will be interesting for your employees.

Here are three ways to successfully choose areas of employee improvement:

Assess Your Team’s Career Goals and Aspirations

Offering learning opportunities doesn’t carry benefits unless those opportunities match what your team actually wants to learn. It’s important to survey managers and employees and get in step with what they are interested in, what they would like to see in development programs, and how they would best consume this content. 

Personalize Development Plans for Your Employees

Personalized development plans are the key to maintaining employee satisfaction. Different teams and experience levels will require different skill advancement opportunities. Personalized development plans show team members that your organization cares about their growth.

Match Business Goals with Employee Advancement Opportunities

The last step before implementing your new employee development program is to make sure the advancement opportunities link up with the growth goals of your business. Consider what needs to change within your current team that will push you closer to growth benchmarks. 

When created successfully, professional development programs should align individual team members’ aspirations and interests with business goals. 

Professional Development Resources

So you’ve decided to provide professional development resources to your workforce, now what? If your team is very busy, large in size, or spread out geographically, it may be difficult to find a time that works for everyone for in-person training sessions. 

Here are two options for putting your professional development plan into practice:

Conferences and Seminars

Conferences provide a great opportunity for in-person team building, skill advancement, and creating company camaraderie. But depending on the size of your team and the location of the conference, in-person seminars can be expensive and require a lot of time to plan.

In order for conferences or seminars to be perceived as an employee benefit, the company would need to pay for its employees to attend. This may include costs for travel, lodging, and dining if they are out of town.

Access to Online Courses

Online learning opportunities are an attractive alternative to in-person training sessions. Online courses can be completed at times that are convenient for each individual team member regardless of their geographic location. This option cuts costs for travel as employees can complete online courses from the comfort of their own homes if they would like to.

Our online professional development program catalog includes low-cost course options on the following subjects:

Benefits of Online Learning Programs for Companies

If you choose one of World Education’s professional development courses for your team, you’ll gain immediate access to continued education and enrichment opportunities. Additionally, our courses come with an advisor who is there to support and motivate your employees as they progress through their training.

This means lower overhead costs for your company, added benefits for learners, and more time to focus on your business goals.

Culture of Learning and Self-Improvement

To experience the full scope of benefits that professional development programs bring to your company, you must adopt it as a continuous opportunity. Creating a culture of learning, self-improvement, and career development will keep your employees engaged and motivated. By fostering this culture, you can expect less employee turnover and more positive work environments.

Feedback and Support

An important aspect of a learning culture is responsiveness to employee needs and desires. Organizations that value employee feedback regarding how the organization can improve and increase their productivity will see more success with professional development programs. 

Offering learning opportunities will create conversations for feedback and support between you and your employees and foster continuous growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of encouraging professional development for employees?

By encouraging professional development for employees, you will increase employee engagement and retention, and keep your workforce up to date with new skills.

How can I assess my employees' professional development needs?

Start by surveying managers and team members to find out what their areas of improvement are and how they would feel more confident in their roles. This will reveal professional and personal courses that will generate new and improved skills for your employees.

What resources can I provide to support professional development?

You can host in-person conferences or choose an online learning platform that offers accessible courses for your employees’ professional development.

How can I encourage employees to take on new challenges and responsibilities?

When employees have opportunities to learn new things and update certifications, they will feel more confident in their roles and more empowered to take on new challenges and responsibilities.