Professional Development: How to Do and Better to Retain Your Team

Why do many companies focus on professional development? It’s not by chance, as it increases the capacity of workers and has a positive impact on an organization, improving performance, commitment, employee satisfaction, and overall organizational performance. According to a study by Deloitte, companies that invest in the professional development of their employees have 37% higher revenue per employee compared to those that don’t.

Keep reading because in this article, we will explain how to create a solid professional development plan to maintain and enhance your team.


What is Professional Development?

The current work environment is fast-paced and competitive, and companies cannot afford to fall behind. Employees are the cornerstone of an organization’s success. Recognizing this, professional development becomes crucial. This is precisely what professional development aims to achieve.

Professional development seeks the progression of an individual, helping them acquire skills and abilities that contribute to their growth. It allows employees to advance and develop their careers in the direction they find most interesting, fulfilling their professional expectations.


The Relationship Between Professional Development and Personal Development

The relationship between professional development and personal development is closely intertwined. If we are internally well, if we feel good and fulfilled in our personal sphere, our professional and work life will likely be positively impacted.

However, the opposite situation can also occur, meaning that the professional development we experience can lead to personal growth as well.


Stages of Professional Development

As we mentioned before, professional development is crucial for an organization. To carry it out, there are four central stages, which we detail below:

  • Analysis: It is important to reflect and understand the situation in which the company finds itself, its characteristics, and values in order to determine the appropriate objectives.
  • Incorporation: In this phase, it is important to communicate the benefits of development to employees so that they can decide if they want to be part of it and work towards achieving the set objectives.
  • Activation: To foster professional development, it is recommended that the company offer courses and create continuous support opportunities for employees to be in constant learning. The employees make the decision to take the courses or participate in training opportunities. However, courses are not the only option; other related activities such as workshops, group dynamics, workshops, seminars, presentations, and more can also be conducted.
  • Monitoring: The human resources department should monitor all employees who wish to participate in professional development, for example, through performance evaluations.


Importance and Benefits of Achieving Professional Development

As mentioned before, professional development is important for an organization, especially because it brings benefits both to the company and its employees. In fact, according to a study by Gallup, employees who receive professional development opportunities are 27% more likely to feel engaged in their work and 59% more likely to be satisfied with their work life. Some of these benefits or advantages include:

  • Improves job performance by recognizing that efforts are being rewarded.
  • Increases productivity due to having happy and satisfied employees, leading to increased motivation.
  • Provides concrete opportunities for career growth.
  • Improves employees’ mastery of trends, as trained employees stay up-to-date and want to be part of them.
  • Helps retain talent, preventing the company from losing valuable employees.
  • Contributes to the growth of the organization.
  • Increases employee satisfaction due to the opportunities for growth provided.


Drawbacks of Professional Development

While the benefits are significant, there can also be certain disadvantages associated with professional development, such as:

  1. Inequality: There may be an imbalance between employees who have had more opportunities for professional development compared to others.
  2. Decreased teamwork: Individual work may be prioritized over teamwork for personal growth, potentially leading to reduced collaboration among employees.
  3. Unmet expectations: There is a possibility that the company may not meet the employee’s expectations regarding their professional development, which can impact employee retention.

What is a Professional Development Plan?

But how do you put the objectives you want to achieve regarding professional development into practice? This is done through a professional development plan, which serves as a tool or guide to facilitate growth for both employees and the company.

The plan outlines the actions to be taken, the resources to be utilized, and everything needed for professional development.


Key Phases of Professional Development in the Company

The phases of the development plan align with what has been outlined so far and are complemented by the specific steps of the plan, which will be discussed in the following section. These phases involve assessing the current situation, devising strategies, and identifying useful tools to execute the plan effectively.


How to Create a Professional Development Plan?

To create a professional development plan, several aspects need to be considered, such as analyzing the current situation and establishing clear objectives. The stages or phases of the plan resemble those of professional development in general, but with some specificities:

  1. Conduct an initial assessment: The focus is on identifying the skills of interest for employees and how they relate to the organization’s business objectives. This also helps understand the potential future opportunities that may arise.
  2. Identify individual strengths and weaknesses: A more detailed assessment is conducted to better understand each employee’s technological, soft, and social skills, as well as their areas for improvement. This provides clarity on the next steps to take.
  3. Align business and professional development objectives: It is important to review the objectives in relation to what has been done for employees so far, ensuring alignment between both. It should be remembered that a professional development plan impacts not only individual aspects but also teamwork.
  4. Create a people development strategy: Generate and design a strategy that includes activities such as educational programs, networking, and other relevant initiatives.
  5. Provide growth opportunities: Professional development plans benefit both employees and the organization, creating a win-win situation. This strengthens the relationship between the parties and is reflected in improved results and opportunities.
  6. Monitor the plan: It is crucial to continuously review the professional development plan to track the training and evaluation process. This allows for identifying and addressing any issues and identifying what is working well to improve the process in the future.

Examples of Professional Development Plans

Each company develops its own professional development plan, but it can be helpful to consider some interesting examples, such as:

  • Deloitte: Deloitte has a well-structured framework for professional development. This provides employees with clear guidelines on the competencies and experiences necessary to progress in their chosen career path.
  • IBM: IBM focuses on promoting rewarding learning experiences through mentoring, engaging courses, enrichment tasks, and certifications. They encourage all employees to achieve a training goal of 40 hours per year through the “Think40” initiative. As a bonus, employees receive virtual badges upon completing specific courses.
  • Salesforce: Salesforce offers a learning platform called Trailhead, which provides a variety of online courses and certifications. This enables employees to enhance their skills, earn badges and certifications, and potentially qualify for promotions or specialized roles within the company.

If you are looking to prioritize professional development in your organization, you can seek assistance from Kilpatrick. Our HR professionals can help you create a professional development plan tailored to your needs.