5 Reasons to Invest in Professional DevelopmentNov 01, 2022
Professional development is kind of like taking your vitamins. You probably know it’s a good idea, but you don’t always do it. When you realize the benefits of investing in yourself and your team, however, it might feel a little less optional. There are legitimate business reasons to make professional development a priority.
Since I started McMillion Consulting in 2016, I’ve always been committed to professional development as part of my company culture. At first, this mostly meant attending as many local events for business owners as I could, joining my Chamber of Commerce, and networking with other Greenville, SC entrepreneurs. But as my business has grown, so has my involvement in new business and personal training opportunities.
From becoming a member of Strategic Coach, to joining groups like Honor Your Ambition and hiring a business coach, I’m constantly tweaking and changing my professional development lineup based on what my business and I need. I can’t recommend this approach more highly. When I think back to where I began and compare it to where I am now, I attribute so much of my growth and direction to the training I’ve invested in over the years.
Not everyone has the luxury of working for themselves and architecting their own learning goals. Even so, many people, including those who aren’t yet people managers, do have the influence within their teams and companies to affect change. If you’re someone who’s in a position to create pathways for learning for your employees, don’t sleep on it! If you’re not serious about providing and investing in professional development opportunities, consider all the benefits. Focused learning and training can help you:
1. Achieve your objectives.
I had the privilege of hearing Emmanual Acho speak at the 2022 Northwestern Mutual Annual Meeting. He said something in his keynote address that really stuck with me: “A goal is the end to which energy is aimed. Focus on the objective, not the finish line.” I love this! So often as leaders, we have a tendency to be prescriptive in our goals, but focusing instead on an objective frees you up to be creative in your approach. Whether you have a target for this quarter or this year, investing in professional development is a great way to take strides in the right direction.
2. Keep your best employees.
Retention is a major priority for all businesses these days. Sometimes, leaders don’t realize they have a problem keeping employees until it’s too late. Especially in a challenging talent market, professional development deserves your attention. Remember, your best employees are also the ones who are motivated and driven. When these folks get bored or see better growth potential elsewhere, they’ll move on from your organization. If you want to keep them around, creating a path for internal growth is essential. Doing so demonstrates that you care about their long-term career success, not just the role they’re in today.
3. Develop and improve your team.
Of course, training initiatives benefit more than just the learner. Prioritizing professional development can result in a better, more capable team. Depending on the learning your team gains and applies, it’s not unrealistic to expect to see more efficiency and effectiveness from your people. What’s not to love about that? Even though it might seem like a big financial commitment, consider that investing in your current staff often costs less than bringing that learning into your organization through strategic hiring.
4. Attract motivated talent.
Just as a great professional development program can keep your best employees engaged, it can also differentiate your company as an attractive place to work. A clear emphasis on growth and learning will stand out to strong, motivated candidates. This underscores the importance of not only prioritizing this type of development, but also communicating it clearly both internally and externally. As long as the opportunities for growth are real, your employees can become some of the most vocal advocates of your company to prospective talent.
5. Improve sales.
Training initiatives can have the happy benefit of boosting your bottom line. Of course, not all professional development is equal. Some opportunities might serve more of a retention function while others will lend themselves to other measurable business results. That doesn’t mean one is better than another! Again starting with your objective will help you determine what development looks like in your organization. If improving sales is a top priority, as it is for many businesses, look for learning opportunities focused on hard skills, sales-specific techniques, and relevant platforms.
Remember, just because you invest in learning doesn’t mean the benefits come automatically. Once the learning happens, there’s work to do! If you’re in a management role, consider how you can incentivize your team to put their new knowledge into practice. That can be as simple as asking your team to set and report their own goals to you or as structured as requiring a formal presentation from team members who take advantage of these development opportunities. Being clear on the deliverables you expect can help you and those you manage avoid disappointment.
Like I mentioned, I’ve always been a big advocate of professional development, both in my own business and with my clients. I believe people at every level of an organization should have access to excellent training and learning opportunities. That’s one of the reasons I created The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course. My one-on-one service offerings tend to attract a premium tier of clients, usually executives and business owners, but the principles and tools I teach can be helpful to more than just top leaders.
This completely digital, self-paced tool will help your team members revamp their use of LinkedIn and improve their profiles the right way. If recruiting, retention, and sales are among your top goals, remember that all of the people on your team are impacting those opportunities, simply by what they look like online. Unless you make LinkedIn a priority, it’s unlikely your team is using it the right way or investing the time it takes to make their profiles work for you and for them.
Set an example and put this learning into practice right away! What can you do this week, this month, or this quarter to invest in professional development? The Complete LinkedIn Profile Course might just be the next step you need to take to make learning and growth a priority in your organization.
Reach out to [email protected] to discuss group rates.