Why invest in employee training if they can just leave the company later on? Because it will be much worse if they end up staying without any training. The answer is rather clear: the cost of personal skills development for employees is potentially much lower than the loss of productivity and efficiency at work that arises from stagnation.
We can be sure about this: human resources and brains are much more valuable than any material resources available. As a result, various training programs and courses on professional development are particularly popular nowadays.
The absence of any employee development plan will cause not only a lack of efficiency gains, which means loss of the company's competitiveness, but also frustration and apathy in employees who are tired of the same daily grind with no opportunities for growth As a consequence, the loyalty of these employees will also fall. The reverse is also true: if an employee sees that the company cares about his/her professional growth, he/she will begin to do the same.
If the company is not interested in the professional development of its employees, there are two typical scenarios:
- Employees are not engaged in vocational training. Their knowledge and skills quickly become obsolete. They gradually lose interest in their work since there are no changes, but only the same old routine. As a result, their overall productivity levels (and hence the company's profits) continue to fall.
- Employees find opportunities for professional growth and development for themselves, and then leave to work at another company where there are better prospects and areas to grow as a professional.
Both of these are negative scenarios for a company, so in this time of rapid development of all fields, constant training and employee development has become irreplaceable assets.
However, although staff training is a management issue, its success greatly depends on the employees themselves.
Nowadays everyone has more than sufficient opportunities to improve the skills required in their profession, but you have to work hard to see results. We will present you with some tips on how to establish a process for your own professional development.
Organizing your professional development
- Make it a habit. The first and most significant step is to make professional development an integral part of your life so that you periodically think about it, look for new opportunities, evaluate available options, etc. Make learning a part of your life.
- Get a diploma or certificate in your field. If you have a bachelor's or master's degree, that’s great. However, the certificate from a completed training course is also clearly of great benefit. The important thing is that you have a basic understanding of the work in your field and that your company management knows that you are a competent specialist. It takes 3-4 years to get a bachelor's degree, but professional courses are generally shorter – even just a couple of days. Having a diploma or certificate does not necessarily mean career success, but not having them almost always means a lack of good growth prospects.
Continually look for new opportunities to learn. Professional development is not limited to colleges and universities. You should seek to continue your professional education. Seminars, training, conferences, short courses – these forms of education provide new opportunities for learning and sharing experiences.
Consider, for example, a seminar. A seminar brings together professionals in a certain field where one or several topical issues in their field are discussed. All of them have a certain qualification, and valuable personal experience is exchanged. To get this experience and apply it in your practice is the most important task of those who attend seminars.
Another excellent solution for employee growth and development is short courses. Short courses often involve intensive specialist training with flexible schedules to accommodate busy professionals. The range of solutions for specialist training – short courses, programs, seminars, etc. – is quite large for different areas, so there should be no problems with the right choice.
- Carry out self-analysis. It is very important to analyze your own professional development from time to time and evaluate your results at intermediate stages. Of course, to evaluate yourself, you will first need to create an individual development plan. Describe in detail what you want to achieve and when, as well as the required steps to do so. This way you will be able to evaluate your progress, analyze your own faults and make adjustments, since even the most well-considered plan may go wrong from time to time.
- Read regularly. The higher the position occupied by the specialist, the less free time he/she has, including time for reading. However, we should not forget that new information about our field can be valuable. Even if it is not directly related to our specialty, by reading we expand our own horizons and can look at things from a different point of view. So make a rule for yourself – read regularly.
- Write regularly. Writing is a great tool for ordering your thoughts and sharpening the skill of clear articulation, which is extremely useful when working in a team. One option is to keep a professional diary or blog and regularly jot down your thoughts. It’s also a good idea to write and publish articles containing your ideas and professional experience from time to time.. By doing so, you will be able to promote yourself to the world, as well as get feedback from other specialists.
Participate in conferences and seminars as a speaker. Don’t be shy when communicating with other employees, your manager, partners, or strangers in an audience. You, as a professional, have valuable experience and skills that can and should be shared at conferences and seminars. Participation in such events will allow you to gain positive effects in several areas:
- You will learn to be confident when speaking to an audience;
- You will learn how to express your thoughts clearly;
- You will receive an evaluation of your skills from other professionals;
- You will make new acquaintances which perhaps will help you in the future.
- Network and expand your circle of influence. As we have just mentioned, one of the advantages of participating in seminars and conferences is that you’ll make new acquaintances and contacts. These contacts will allow you to significantly expand your scope of influence and gain new opportunities for professional growth. Do not limit yourself to contact with other professionals in your field. Constantly look for new opportunities for yourself, expand your horizons, take on new responsibilities and projects, and go beyond routine tasks – only in this way can you develop and grow as a professional. Don’t wait until new opportunities find you; go and meet them.
- Find a mentor for yourself. If you’re a beginner who is just embarking on your career, the help of a mentor will be very useful to you. Your mentor will help you set a standard for professional development and growth. Such a person will become an invaluable source of professional experience, which you will be able to adopt. Simply put, take the time and effort to make friends with such a person, and you will see how valuable it can be for you.
The main point here is that you must be aware of the importance and value of ongoing professional training and self-development. Be active. Be enterprising. Look for new opportunities for learning and development, analyze your successes and failures, expand your horizons, network, learn and share your experience. If you can implement at least some of the tips in this article, career and professional growth will not keep you waiting.