Whether you are a new or seasoned professional, it is important to take steps to continuously learn and grow. Having a welcoming attitude toward growth and change helps people avoid getting stuck in routines that keep them from reaching their full potential.
Professional development can help a person sharpen their skills and knowledge, while also aiding them in their career journey. Given the rapid progression of many industries, professional development can help people stay up-to-date as their careers evolve.
Below, we discuss professional development in more detail, including its importance and benefits.
The Meaning of Professional Development
Professional development is the process of gaining new knowledge and skills through continued education and workplace training. Professional development can take a variety of forms, including classes, workshops, conferences and certificate programs. Some companies offer professional development opportunities like mentorship programs or training sessions. However, there are also many independent programs available. Platforms like LinkedIn Learning offer a library of online certificate programs for a fee, while other learning platforms like Coursera provide access to free courses.
Individuals who want to reach their full career potential need to make professional development a habit by integrating educational opportunities into their day-to-day jobs. Those who immerse themselves in a diverse range of topics and current events are better equipped to help companies adapt to societal or industry change. Development opportunities help employees take the reins of their own professional growth and challenge themselves to improve in their field by building on their current capabilities.
What Is the Importance of Professional Development?
Professional development is important because it can help a person become a better leader, employee, direct report and overall human. It encourages employees to build resilience against opposition and take risks outside their comfort zone.
Taking steps to become a better professional may also help expand compensation or career advancement opportunities. Boosting your knowledge and skills through professional development can also help you become a more desirable job candidate.
Likewise, employers who invest in professional development resources for their employees may find it yields greater results in workplace productivity and job satisfaction among their staff. Allocating time and money toward the development of staff members shows employees that their leaders value their career progression and future goals.
The Benefits of Professional Development
Besides what was aforementioned, professional development greatly benefits employers and employees. When a company invests in the development of its employees, it helps to boost the image of the brand. Research from Zippia shows that more than half of individuals surveyed consider professional development and advancement opportunities to be more important than compensation. Additionally, organizations that offer professional development training may be able to attract and retain more talent. The report from Zippia also shows that companies that offer development opportunities have 34% higher rates of retention. Those organizations signal that they are focused on the best interest of their employees and want them to grow and improve.
Professional development can also be highly beneficial for employees. Individuals who leverage professional development workshops or classes can broaden their industry experience, gain mentorship opportunities and learn new skills. Taking the time to complete these opportunities shows a person’s manager they will take the initiative to become a better worker. As a result, they may be more likely to be considered for future promotions.
Professional development training can also help a person expand their professional network, which can help with collaboration and future career opportunities.
How Robert F. Smith Boosts Development Opportunities
Because of his own personal experience, philanthropist and entrepreneur Robert F. Smith understands the importance of onramps to opportunity. As a result, Smith has worked to provide others with the academic and career opportunities they need to thrive. As the Chairman of Student Freedom Initiative, Smith has helped to advance many young professionals through academic and educational opportunities. The Initiative is a nonprofit organization that provides students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) with academic, financial and professional resources.
The Initiative was established following Smith’s $34 million donation to Morehouse College to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 graduating class and that of their guardians. Discover more about Smith’s professional development initiatives and other topics by following him on LinkedIn.