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John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” This statement holds true today. In business, understanding the importance of continuing education and on the job upskilling can have vast improvements on your retention rates, employee satisfaction and innovation. Employees who receive professional development in the workplace are 15% more engaged than those that don’t.

Building a strategy that focuses on providing professional development to your employees can benefit your business in a variety of ways—including some you may have never considered.

1.    Develops and Strengthens Skills

Professional development gives your employees a competitive edge. It enables them to strengthen their current skills as well as develop new skills that can prepare them to take on more responsibility or for changes in their position.

Upskilling your employees is an investment in your business’s future—you’re preparing your staff for promotion as well as technological changes, which as we all know come on fast.

2.    Increase Employee Satisfaction

Ongoing training and professional development has a positive effect on your employees’ mental health and workplace satisfaction. When employees receive continual education, they’re able to perform their jobs more effectively and with confidence which leads to higher retention. Employees who feel capable and satisfied in their roles are less likely to experience excessive workplace stress and mental health issues.

Offering options such as in-class education, mentoring and job shadowing will improve staff’s versatility and make them capable of taking on more responsibility and broader roles.

3.    Helps with Succession Planning

Recently we discussed why you need a succession plan. In order to create a successful succession planning strategy, you have to first identify talent you can nurture to take on a future senior management position.

Professional development helps your succession plan because it enables your current management to begin this training process. Working with your HR department, management can develop training specific to senior positions—basically you can develop a strategic syllabus designed to build managerial skills and know-how in your high performing staff.

4.    Keeps Your Employees Ahead of the Curve

In a world where technology changes faster than the seasons turn, taking the time to maintain your employees’ skills and professional education helps keep your staff, and by extension your business, up-to-date.

Professional development helps your staff remain informed on industry standards, changing policies, strategies and keeps you aware of new innovations that can positively impact business.

5.    Builds a Positive Reputation for Your Business

There is a clear difference between a “job” and a career. And while a lot of this difference depends on how an employee feels, no professional joins a business with the hope of simply securing a job. Part of loving one’s job is the path—the development of knowledge and skills that lead someone to truly being a professional and sustaining that professional stature.

For a candidate who’s truly looking to develop and follow a career path, they’ll be considering what a business offers when it comes to training and development. In fact, we know that millennials and generation Z value companies that clearly state they place an emphasis on ongoing training. They think more highly of these types of businesses, actively work to join them, and are even willing to take less pay if they know the company will put money into their continuing career training.

Drive Curiosity, Support Collaboration

When you invest in your employees’ skills and education, you’re building a stronger workforce, dedicated to the ins-and-outs of your industry.

Continuing education drives curiosity and supports collaboration because it enables learners to discover new information, and in turn share and use that information in their work.

Using an HRIS to track employee performance can help you identify areas where an employee might benefit in more training and education, while also streamlining important HR processes.

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Margaret Reid

Margaret Reid

As the senior vice-president of Apri Insurance Services Inc., Margaret is a benefits consultant and manager of technical support. She has almost 40 years of experience in employee benefits as well as processing health and dental claims, benefits administration, and client service and groups sales. Margaret worked at Crown Life, a major insurance carrier, for 20 years, then worked at CG&B as the manager of their group department. She moved to B.Comm Financial Insurance Solutions in 2007, which merged with several other benefit consulting companies in 2011 to create Apri Insurance Services Inc. Margaret has unintentionally followed in her father’s footsteps. He was a group sales rep with Crown Life when she was a child and helped her get her first job in group insurance, which led to her current career path.