6 Ways to Helping Your Employees Develop a Professional Development Plan


Companies that support their employees' professional development and growth tend to have a more contented and productive workforce. They experience less turnover and more promotion from within due to cultivating their employees' appreciation and gratitude. Here are six ways to help employees create a professional development plan. 

Offer incentives. 

Full-time employees, especially those with families, may be reluctant to take time away from regular duties to work toward a professional development plan. A company that encourages professional development can motivate workers toward this goal by offering incentives or rewards, such as a pay increase, a bonus, or added vacation days, as goals are set and reached. 

Promote within.

When possible, it pays to promote to higher positions from within the company. Advise all employees that those with appropriate credentials will be considered for higher level positions as openings occur. Some companies prefer to hire external candidates, but giving current employees a shot if possible will encourage them to continue learning new skills and building a strong resume. 

Support continued education.

Working toward a graduate degree is often part of an employee's professional development plan. One example of this is enrolling in a UC online master’s in education program. Online education makes it easier for full-time employees to take classes, since they can do so at their convenience from home, if desired. Employers who support graduate education will reap the benefit in better educated employees who are likely to express loyalty in their work ethic and perhaps continuation with the company.

Plan a professional development workshop.

Some employees don't know how to begin a professional development plan. Bring in an expert for a half-day session to train employees how to establish a professional development plan with goals, objectives, and action steps. Topics that cover recommended steps, how-to processes, and available resources will be welcomed by employees seeking to build a strong career, and they will appreciate the company for sponsoring this type of program that can help them begin to climb the career ladder.

Support professional memberships and networking.

Some companies pay for subscriptions or memberships to professional organizations for employees who are working on a professional development plan. Employers benefit from this type of support when employees use added knowledge and networking opportunities to enrich their work on the job. They may also find mentors or a support system that can help them work toward specific goals. 

Sponsor conferences and training programs. 

Sending employees to relevant conferences in their specialty areas or in fields where they want to advance is a great way to enhance their skills. Training programs onsite or offsite area also helpful in equipping employees with added skills that can be used now or in the future. Sometimes external grants from related organizations are available to help offset costs. 

Broadminded companies that support the professional development plans of their employees not only help them reach career goals, but they also earn the added respect and loyalty of those that benefit. A well-developed workforce makes the organization stronger and more efficient. 

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