How to encourage professional development

How to encourage professional development

Despite the immense disruption and change brought about by technology and a shifting global political landscape, talent remains one of the biggest challenges to organizations around the world. In PwC’s latest Global CEO Survey, 34% of CEOs said availability of key skills is a threat to their organizations, with only over-regulation and policy uncertainty ranked higher.

This has placed pressure on companies to reinvent how they attract, retain and engage with employees. Retention is emerging as a key priority: Deloitte’s Josh Bersin believes the total cost of losing an employee can be as much as twice their annual salary.

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees would stay at a company for longer if it invested in skills development that would benefit their careers. For top talent, the allure of ever-greater pay only goes so far: 91% of employees in a Gallup poll said their employer’s lack of investment in their futures was the main reason for them looking for work elsewhere.

The big ask for managers

This creates a challenge for managers: how can they create opportunities for team members to develop new skills and abilities that make them better at their jobs, improve their future employability and boost job satisfaction?

One proven way is to build a formal professional development plan in collaboration with the employee. Start by giving them a chance to prepare some thoughts about what they want from their careers. Where do they want to be in 2-5 years’ time? How should their ideal job description change over the next 12-24 months? What types of tasks do they want to spend their time on, and what skills would they need for those tasks? Do they have awareness of their strengths and weaknesses?

Turning goals into actions

Once there is a baseline understanding of what the employee wishes to achieve, sit down with them to turn those goals into actions. What are the employee’s current responsibilities? What aspects of the job do they enjoy the most? And the least?

It’s also important for managers to keep a close eye on what the business needs. You should be aware of any skills gaps – whether soft or technical skills – within the business. Linking an employee’s career plan to business objectives increases the chances of both the career plan and the business succeeding.

A culture of continuous learning

Once you have a clear career path for your employees, it is time to ensure the organization can support their growth throughout their journey. Creating a culture of continuous learning is a proven way of engaging your workforce while also future-proofing the business.

Looking for ways to provide your teams with relevant and interesting learning and skills development opportunities? Organizations should consider exposing employees to new technical or soft skills through workshops hosted by internal experts or external specialists. Industry conferences provide great opportunities for employees to be exposed to new thinking related to a specific industry.

Mentorship is also a hugely valuable and rewarding process for both the learner and the mentor. Many senior staff will seek opportunities to transfer their skills and learnings to promising younger workers, who in turn benefit from direct skills transfer.

Online learning modules hosted on a learning management system further provides on-going exposure to skills development opportunities. Employees can opt in to learning relevant soft and technical skills hosted on the organization’s own learning management system, which is easily accessible.

About vi’s Learning Management System

vi’s Learning Management System (LMS) is designed to support organizations in their efforts to instill a culture of lifelong learning among their teams. By easing the process of developing, delivering and tracking the success of lifelong learning programs, vi’s LMS helps organizations build engagement with their talent pool while equipping them with the skills they’ll need to build successful careers – and support the growth of the organization. For more information, please click on the link below.

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