Professional development is an important aspect of continuing your career growth and striving to reach your goals.
This blog post will explain what professional development is, its benefits to both employers and their employees, and how to seek different opportunities out to reach your full potential.
What is Professional Development?
Professional development is gaining new skills through continuing education and career training after entering the workforce. It can include taking classes or workshops, attending professional or industry conferences, or earning a certificate to expand your knowledge in your chosen field.
Some companies offer in-house opportunities for professional development, such as training sessions or mentoring programs, but many professional development programs are done independently.
Why is Professional Development Important?
Professional development is important because it has the potential to open opportunities for career advancement, such as promotions. It can assist you in honing existing skills and in learning new ones.
It can also help you stand out in a pool of applicants; showing that you have completed professional development programs or additional industry certifications on your resume can go a long way in showing your expertise in your field.
Employees who show initiative in independent learning can signal to employers that you are open to new experiences and are enthusiastic about continuing to grow.
Benefits of Professional Development for Employers
Professional development can be instrumental in growing a stronger team.
Employers who encourage their employees to seek out professional development opportunities are in turn encouraging higher productivity and job satisfaction.
Higher Retention Rates
According to a Business News Daily article, businesses should offer professional development opportunities to their employees to improve potential turnover.
Professional development can help to bolster employees’ confidence in their work. Greater confidence can, in turn, translate into higher overall job satisfaction, employee performance, productivity, and overall morale.
Investing in professional development training programs also shows employees that their company is invested in their success and interested in cultivating their advancement.
Attract Better Talent
It can be challenging to find — and retain — talented employees. Offering professional development opportunities can help employers fill open positions by attracting and retaining skilled employees.
According to talent management platform Clear Company, 74 percent of employees say that a lack of professional development opportunities are preventing them from reaching their full potential. Additionally, 94 percent of employees would stay longer at a company if it invested in staff development.
Employers offering these benefits are more likely to attract potential employees who are interested in striving for excellence and pursuing advancement.
Investing in professional development for employees can grow an existing team’s skills and entice new talent to join with the incentive of a clear learning and development plan.
Help Employees Stay Up to Date With Industry Trends to Keep Skills Sharp
Industry trends move rapidly, and it’s important for companies to keep pace with the times. Ongoing professional development can prevent potential stagnation by maintaining — and improving — employee skills.
Employees engaged in professional development are also more likely to stay engaged in their work and to be enthusiastic about pursuing their goals.
Benefits of Professional Development for Employees
From gaining confidence in your abilities to building potential for advancement, professional development offers employees many benefits for not only your career, but your personal goals as well.
Learn new skills
Through professional development, you may hone both hard and soft skills in your work. Hard skills pertain to job-specific knowledge you can obtain through formal training or education. Soft skills are personal competencies, such as effective communication or the skills that contribute to emotional intelligence.
Developing both types of skills is important to reaching your professional goals — and even some of your personal ones.
Boost Confidence and Credibility
Adding additional skills or certification from a professional development program to your resume is one way to boost your confidence in your skills and show your credibility to employers.
Professional development opportunities can expose both new and experienced professionals to new ideas and expertise. Seeking out these opportunities shows ambition and the space to practice those new competencies.
Develop Leadership Skills
A confident employee is also likely an enthusiastic employee. If you take the step to grow and develop your skills, the incentive to seek out additional opportunities can continue to expand along with it.
If you are an employee who wants to advance your career but isn’t sure how to do so, professional development can encourage you to put your hand up for leadership opportunities you may not have sought out otherwise.
This blog post offers helpful tips on how to choose a leadership development program.
Build Your Network
Professional development can provide many opportunities for networking. Workshops, conferences, classes, and webinars are all spaces in which professionals can meet new people within their industry and make new connections.
These connections can lead to new opportunities, mentorship, and support which may provide the next stepping stone in your career.
Advance in your career
A well-qualified employee attracts employer attention. Employees who are invested in professional development display commitment to their work and an interest in continuing to improve.
Professional development can also boost your earning potential by increasing your value through obtaining credentials, certifications, and designations.
Where to Take Professional Development Courses
There are a broad range of professional development opportunities.
Harvard Division of Continuing Education’s Professional & Executive Development offers dozens of courses spanning multiple industries. Your employer may even help you pay for these opportunities if you effectively show their worth.
There are both in-person and online options available, so choose what works best for your goals and lifestyle.
Seek out programs, workshops, seminars, mentorship programs, and more within your industry. Investing in yourself is just the first step.