Importance of Professional Development

With the fast pace of today’s workforce, employers may need to provide additional training for their staff members to keep their skills fresh. Depending on the industry, such as medicine or technology fields, cutting-edge skills may change every few years. Beyond staying competitive, continued professional development may make employees more satisfied at work, and thus more likely to stay with the same organization.

Many companies are increasing their focus on professional development initiatives as millennials continue to enter the workforce. Generation Y is poised to become the largest age group in the workforce as more baby boomers retire. Millennials are highly educated, and many of them want to eventually hold a leadership position. Although some employers are quick to write young adults off as entitled, many millennials are ambitious and want to acquire the skills that will allow them to move through the corporate ranks. At this early stage in their careers, millennials may be more likely to switch jobs a few times before settling into a position they really enjoy. Providing continued education at work is often an effective retention strategy to ensure the best new hires stick around for the long haul. In particular, this is a way to cultivate future leaders.

How to implement a successful employee development program
While many employers recognize the importance of professional development initiatives, it may be more difficult to put this concept into action. Offering more opportunities for professional development shows your employees you care, and this may make them more loyal and engaged.

Because the summer is a slower season for many industries, it is a great time to pay attention to training and continued education. Employers must focus on the programs that will most benefit their employees because this is the training that is most likely to have a lasting impact.

Implementing professional development into the standard routine may make these programs more effective. It is easy for teams to get bogged down with their day-to-day tasks, which makes it harder to see the big picture. Scheduling specific times to discuss goals and hone skill sets may improve the impact of a professional development program. These initiatives are beneficial for employers as well because they help workers understand their role in meeting an organization’s goals. Without this type of development, departments may become siloed and disconnected from the overall objectives of the company.


Engaged employees produce the best results
Professional development and employee engagement go hand in hand. Engaged employees are more productive ,and more productive employees add to the company’s bottom line. According to research from Gallup, engaged employees put in 57 percent more effort and are 87 percent less likely to move on to a new job. In addition, companies with higher than normal levels of employee engagement bring in 147 percent higher earnings. Employee engagement positively influences a number of factors, such as the bottom line and client satisfaction.

Despite these findings, the most recent annual poll from Gallup revealed only about one-third of employees are actively engaged, and engagement rates are lowest among young adults. As more millennials enter the workforce, this statistic could become more problematic. Disengaged employees are more likely to seek a different position at another company.

However, there may be a way to combat low levels of engagement. Because millennials are so interested in professional development and career advancement opportunities, providing formal programs that allow young adults to build their skill sets will lead to better results.



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