Professional development. It’s the “secret sauce” that keeps employees at the forefront of industry trends, facilitates the sharing of best practices, and builds a strong network for mentorship and peer support– not to mention boosting employee engagement and job satisfaction. Yet in recent years, we’ve seen companies cutting their investment in employee development. What’s more, many companies are no longer granting employees paid time off to attend industry conferences or other learning opportunities outside of the workplace. That’s a serious mistake.
The correlation between investment in employees and company productivity is well documented. Cutting funding for employee development may be a quick way to save money, but this budgetary quick fix can actually hurt your bottom line in the long run. Here are five tangible benefits from investing in career development for employees:
- Best practices and information gathering
Attending conferences and lunch and learns is how employees stay abreast of industry trends, learn best practices, and build a robust peer network.
- Networking with mentors
Many industry associations offer informal or formal mentorship opportunities. Mentors are so important to one’s career. They pass along insights gained from their years of experience, which your employee can use to tackle challenges at work. I find that it’s preferable that the mentor come from outside of one’s company so that he or she can offer impartial, unbiased advice.
- Networking with peers
When your employees have a large and diverse network, your company benefits. If you find that your company is missing a skill set, these employees can quickly call on their peer group and find someone to help out. If you’re looking for help connecting with a new business partner, these employees are more likely to have a point of contact within the organization.
- Idea generation and feedback
In small to midsize companies, certain departments may only have one or two employees. Those employees are at a disadvantage to their peers at large companies, who can bounce ideas off of many team members. Trade associations and similar groups give smaller teams instant access to a large group of peers who can give feedback and inspire new ideas.
- Higher employee satisfaction and engagement
Study after study confirms that learning and development is highly correlated with job satisfaction. Continuous development and training helps employees feel more confident in their roles, stimulates their intellect, and gives them a glimpse of the bigger picture that sharpens their productivity.
If your company doesn’t currently offer professional development opportunities to employees, I encourage you to reconsider. Covering the cost for employees to attend local industry conferences and events could be a good first step.
If you have any questions about which types of professional development to offer, or how to evaluate the upside for your business, please leave them below and we will connect you with a recruiter.
Authored By: Shelley Muhs