How Professional Development Training Can Make Your Business Stronger
Professional development training programs offered to existing employees can help boost engagement, aid in retention, and encourage a culture where the adoption of new skills and ways of problem-solving is highly valued. From a productivity standpoint, continuing education can also help your staff remain curious, motivated, and interested to remain valuable contributors in your organization.
Though you may already have training modules in place for newly hired employees, those you offer to current employees should be tailored to support their unique goals, and offered in a medium that's appropriate for their daily schedule at your company.
Here are some tips to help you incorporate development training into your retention strategy.
Consider what subject matter is in demand. The unique makeup of your workforce should shape the content in your professional development training. In some roles, employees may be required to complete continuing education to remain credentialed and licensed. Your courses may not replace mandatory continuing education entirely, but it should at least complement the information deemed pertinent by each unique profession. Professional development training can also address objectives like:
- Refreshing employees’ memory and awareness of skills they possess but don't use often.
- Providing employees with opportunities to learn new technology, or evolve skill sets they use frequently to keep pace with changing industry trends.
- Enhancing "soft skills" for all employees.
- Preparing workers interested in moving into leaderships roles with the necessarily skills to do so when the time comes.
Consider the many different types of employees you have on staff, and how professional development training could be beneficial for each specific employee segment.
Ask employees what they want to learn. In addition to the training ideas you brainstorm, invite employees to share what they are most interested to learn. There may be instances where employees suggest ideas pertaining to specific projects, events, or initiatives in the industry (or a specific profession) that your human resources team is not aware of, that could be beneficial for employees. Training should make employees stronger in their existing roles, motivated, and curious about how to evolve professionally. The more you can deliver the training topics your employees want, the more your business can benefit.
Choose a medium for training that supports employees. Online, on-demand professional training modules can provide employees with the flexibility they need to complete coursework at their convenience. But if not all members of your staff have assigned access to a personal computer, invest in a few shared computers employees can use free of charge when they want to take a training course. Likewise, some professional development subject matter may be better retained when offered in a personalized classroom or "lunch and learn"-style setting. In those cases, be mindful of:
- Where employees are located;
- Whether employees need to be compensated for this time;
- Whether specific roles allow the ability to attend a course during the workday; and
- How to handle registration, development of course material, and gauging the effectiveness of the program to determine if it's worth repeating.
Learn best practices from the pros. Consider hiring a human resources professional who can help you determine how to select, structure, and deliver professional development training content that's specific to your company's workforce and its needs. An HR professional can act as a highly skilled extension of your existing team to help you create a highly personalized, cohesive, and relevant professional development training program that can give employees valuable information, and deliver a return on investment for your company.