Investing In Professional Development: Why It's Important

Tracy Diaz

February 16, 2020

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Investing in professional development is the best investment you can make as an employee. It equips you with new skills and consequently makes your curriculum vitae more impressive. It is the bridge you need to cross over from your current job to your dream job. As expensive and demanding as it could be, professional development is almost mandatory for any ambitious professional.

From an employer's perspective, professional development programs are important because they help improve employee productivity and increase employee retention rates. If you are wondering whether or not professional development should be a priority, either as an employer or employee, this post is for you. Here are 4 reasons why it is worthy to invest in professional development opportunities.

1. To achieve greater organizational effectiveness
As a responsible employer, your priority should be to encourage employees to learn new skills and be competitive. You need to create a workplace environment that allows everyone to grow academically, professionally, and socially. The last thing you need is a bunch of non-ambitious, unmotivated, or academically-stagnated employees.

Organizations that invest in effective professional development programs tend to have a better organizational effectiveness than those that don't. Employees who read widely, train continually, and attend many professional conferences, as you'd expect, perform better than those who don't. Imagine a case where all departmental managers in your organization attend a leadership workshop overseas and interact with the world's top-performing managers. When they return, they will use that knowledge and experience to revamp their respective departments.

2. It puts you over the edge in a hiring competition
Employers who invest in smart, effective professional development programs stand a better chance of attracting top-level employees as compared to those that don't. Studies show that over 60% of job seekers world over consider it essential that an employer be genuinely invested in employees' career growth. If your reputation is tarnished in this regard, you will be losing the very-important chance of appealing to the best brains in your industry.

Besides, even if you aren't hiring new employees any time soon, your current employees will have a more positive view about your company when you offer them professional development opportunities. Please understand that even if there is a sizeable chunk of workers that prefer big salaries and other personal benefits over professional growth, talented and highly-ambitious job candidates consider traineeship programs as a high priority.

3. It makes an individual more employable
If you are a job seeker or an employee seeking to rise through the ranks, furthering your education is a worthy investment. It broadens your skills and makes you highly sought-after. If, for example, you wish to bag your dream job within the next decade, your shortest route there is to invest in your professional growth. And even if you aren't primarily keen on getting a better job or getting a promotion, at least gain a few extra skills as a soft landing in the event that your current skills aren't needed in the job market anymore. Professional redundancy has led to many people losing their jobs, a case in point being traditional office secretaries being replaced by virtual secretaries who have better skill sets and lower remuneration demands. Secretaries who haven't grown their professional capacity run the risk of losing employment before 2030.

4. It helps companies to nurture the right leaders for their vision
It is okay to hire managers and high-ranking officials from competitors, but it is way better to nurture your own employees and promote them to decision-making positions. Someone who has worked for your company for a decade or more knows everything there is to know in regards to the day-to-day running of the company. The loyalty of such an employee is with the company. The employee knows the needs of the organizations, its employees, and even the clients. Investing in assertiveness training or leadership workshops for your junior employees will make your succession processes easier and fruitful in case one of the executives leaves the company.

When everything is said and done, the bottom line is that no one can afford to ignore the impact of professional development in the corporate world. Employees need these programs to grow professionally and take charge of their professional journey. On the part of employers, even as much as professional development strategies can be expensive, there are lots of benefits that an organization gains from having professionally-developed employees. If you don't have the bandwidth to create a smart professional growth program, then, at the very least, facilitate employees to get learning materials in the office, e.g. magazines and Wi-Fi connected browsing devices.

Editor’s note:
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Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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