How to Encourage Professional Development in Employees

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Health Assured team

24 July 2018

Employees are integral to the success of a business, if we don’t continue to develop our skills and learn throughout our career, we run the risk of becoming stagnant in company offerings.


That’s why it’s crucial that personal development is encouraged within the workplace. Whether you have an individual development budget for each member of staff, or run workshops to further your workforces development, a structured and formal program is key to properly furthering your employees, throughout the organisation.


Here are a few ways that you can encourage professional growth within the workplace and help support employee wellbeing.


Make the training personal

Every member of a team is unique. They will have different strengths, weaknesses and will vary in terms of their knowledge, experience and expertise.

That’s why all professional development programs should be personalised and catered to each individual. If you’re looking to support your junior members of staff, why not look into online courses that they can undertake to boost their core knowledge.

Online learning is available for all employees, as there are a number of courses that are easily accessible in various levels of difficulty and topics. Choosing the most appropriate course for an individual can help you to personalise employee learning.

For senior employees, it’s important for them to keep on top of new market developments or industry updates. Support their professional growth by sending them to conferences, which will allow them to not only grow their own skills, but also report back to the wider team and share new information with your entire organisation.

how to encourage


Offer promotions and new responsibilities 

In order to grow, employees must be challenged and given the opportunity to progress. If a member of staff remains in the same position for years, it can be difficult to expand their knowledge and develop them as a member within the team.

Offering internal promotions is a great way to not only cut down on external recruitment, but also to improve the skills of employees. By promoting an existing member of staff, the team will continue to benefit from their greater knowledge of the business and the employee will profit from a new challenge, plus the ability to further their existing abilities and skills.

If you’re looking to support a junior member of staff with professional development, but they aren’t quite ready for promotion, you could provide them with new responsibilities in their current role.

For instance, you could give them a project to personally work on or request their help with something you’re working on. This will give them insight into the type of responsibilities they could get from a promotion and will give them a supportive environment to develop their skills.

Set goals and targets

For employees to succeed in improving their professional skills, you must set targets for their development. It’s difficult to gauge success and assess your progress if you don’t have a clear goal to be working towards.

For example, if you’re looking to develop the skills of your marketing team, communicating that you expect them to attend a certain conference and create a presentation on their learnings is an achievable and measurable target that they can work towards.

A great way to combine goal setting and professional growth for senior staff members is to challenge them to mentor and set targets for the junior team members. Using more experienced staff to coach employees means that you’ll be keeping development internal, whilst helping team leaders to develop their mentoring skills.

Offer all kinds of support

When it comes to professional development, the focus should not be entirely on learning new knowledge and skills. If a work environment isn’t supportive or doesn’t have a culture which promotes employee wellbeing, staff will be unable to grow.

A healthy and happy working environment encourages productivity, learning and development, so offering both mental, emotional and professional support to employees will improve engagement, staff retention and all-round performance.

Offering an employee assistance programme will provide the team with online and telephone counselling, face-to-face support and a range of materials, all aimed at supporting employees through all kinds of issues, from mental health and wellbeing, to financial difficulties.

Professional development within the workplace is crucial for both an organisation and its employees. Hopefully this post has shown some of the small changes that can be implemented into a company to encourage professional growth, productivity and improve staff retention.

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