Time to Dust Off Your Company’s Professional Development Plan

by Bill Swift on November 18, 2019

in Employee Engagement,Training

Die Jahreszahl 2020 auf einem Karoblock, vergrößert dargestellt unter einer Lupe

You’ve probably heard the one about the airline pilot who announced to his passengers the good news and bad news about their trip. Bad news – “We are lost.” Good news – “We are making very good time.”

Does it ever feel as if we are offering training to our employees with this same sort of perspective: “Let’s move ahead although it is not crystal clear where it is we are going?” At least we are making good time…

As workplace trainers, or those responsible for employee development, we should have a better road map. We should answer crucial questions like: “Is our company training and development really aligned with our business goals?” or “Are we honoring the needs of our adult learners?” It may be time to dust off your Professional Development Plan. A brief review and a few updates may just make all the difference for employee focus, engagement and retention.

The best company training and development plans have these characteristics:

Developing Employees Improves Retention. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, a whopping 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

  • We have assessed the needs of our employees.
  • We have aligned our training offerings with the current business goals.
  • We understand the activities that our employees engage in that support these goals.
  • We train with an understanding of the learning characteristics of our team members.
  • We blend reading, listening, observing and doing into our company training.
  • We can summarize for our executives what our plan looks like, what it will cost, and how it will support the success of the organization.

Also important to successful company training is knowing whether to develop our own training or have a third party deliver the training (the Make/Buy decision). Sometimes a company’s internal experts do a great job of carrying the message. Other times the internal experts lack the skill or willingness to train in an engaging way. The company plan can include a combination of internal and external trainers along with online options. You may also include some Train the Trainer component to develop your internal trainers and improve knowledge transfer and outcomes.

Great employee development plans have a clear and defined calendar, one that is well-communicated throughout the organization. Every employee should know what is expected of them and how to achieve their training goals. Employees should also understand how their compliance with training requirements is documented. As important, but often neglected, is a system to evaluate training effectiveness. This all takes a bit of detail work, work that is worth all the effort in terms of engagement and development.

Your training needs may include skill building around systems or procedures, equipment or compliance with regulations. Organizational budgets also often include some commitment to professional development. Careful attention to all of these is guaranteed to boost retention and engagement, our return on the training investment.

With a bit of planning, some conversations with other progressive workplaces, and the support of our organization’s leaders, we can feel good about the direction of our employee development plan. Ideally, we can step back and appreciate what we have done well and what things we might improve next year.

Please join us for a discussion and overview of Designing an Engaging Professional Development Plan. January 30 in Salem, April 29 in Portland or July 16 in Eugene.

One registration free for members! Just enter discount code PDPROMO at checkout.

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