Industries and the way of working are changing at a rapid pace. The evolution of AI (artificial intelligence), trends, and competitors, with economic and business climates stress the importance of both employees and employers to keep pace. Companies seek the most dynamic and versatile of employees to join their organisations. Thus, professional development is a route to help avert workplace stagnation in an ever-changing employment market while building on business skills. The best investment you can make is in yourself.

“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time, and energy needed to develop yourself,” – Denis Waitley

Understanding what professional development is

Professional development is the process of acquiring new skills through educational and career training programmes after joining the workforce. These processes can include obtaining certifications, attending classes and industry-related conferences or seminars, or participating in workshops all with the goal of enriching and expanding your knowledge in your chosen industry.

Many jobs require office workers to continually undergo professional and educational training. In these cases, professional development is a prerequisite for them to keep working in that field, and maintain their license, certification, and/or designation.

Added to this, companies can offer in-house professional development opportunities in the form of mentorship programmes or training sessions. Organisations can use Learning Management System platforms to assist their employees to ensure they grow in their skillset.

The importance of professional development

The goal for many employees is to grow in their role and move up the ladder through career advancement like getting promoted or moving into new industries. When you intentionally take on the task of growing professionally, you not only hone your current skills but also learn new ones and put yourself in a better position to meet your personal and professional goals.

  • Sets you apart from other applicants in job applications
  • Indicates your growth and expertise in your chosen career field
  • Your initiative to ongoing training tells employers that you are independent, have an interest in learning, and are invested in growing yourself professionally
  • Allows you to hone hard and soft skills
  • Builds your network
  • Keeps you updated on key industry knowledge, practices, techniques, and trends
  • Unearths and develops leadership skills
  • Increases your hireability and possible earning potential
  • Ensures your skills and capabilities are on par with the standards of those in the same field

Professional development creates a platform for you as an employee to discover how you can advance your career and motivate you to go after leadership roles and opportunities you may not always have put your hand up for before.

The benefits of professional development for employers

Employers desire to have a strong workforce. This is created by having a strong and skilled team who can meet their tasks, perform, and help the company reach its objectives. Make use of free learning management systems that empower you to create and monitor learning paths for your employees. Employers who encourage and create a culture of learning and development reap the rewards of this.

  • Lower turnover rates
  • High productivity
  • Increased employee job satisfaction
  • Boosts employee confidence and morale
  • Employee engagement

Furthermore, if employers take on the role of investing in their teams’ professional development, they make themselves a more attractive organisation to recruit high-value talent

Steps to develop yourself professionally

Sometimes the most challenging aspect of learning new skills is time. Employees spend a significant portion of their week at work or doing work-related activities, leaving little time for anything else, let alone professional development.

  1.   Set objectives

It’s difficult to hit a target if you don’t have one. Set clear learning objectives for yourself. Write down what you want to achieve and why. Note down a plan of action that will help you organise your time and commitments better.

  1.   Manage distractions and challenges

Once you have a plan in place, you have a clearer picture of the potential obstacles, challenges, and distractions that you may encounter and divert you away from your goals. Write down how you plan to overcome these when they come.

  1.   Set boundaries

We tend to think setting boundaries is solely for other people. But boundary setting is for us and helps us draw the line of what we will and can say “yes” or “no” to. You need to learn to be assertive yet flexible in these and understand that at times, your plan may need to experience a slight shift. This should not deter you, but instead, keep you focused.

  1.   Make your time count

Work, family, friends, and many other things already take up much of our time. Carve out dedicated time to your professional development and make sure it’s at a time when you will be focused and energetic to absorb what you are learning. Use your time well.

  1.   Find a professional development learning platform

Alison offers over 4000 courses across sectors for you to choose from and begin your professional development journey.

These guidelines will not only help you meet your professional development goals, but you will also find that they are valuable skills you can transfer into your workspace.

Professional learning and development take time. It requires dedication, good time management, and support. Your life and career are in your hands. Even if employers force you to upskill or reskill yourself, it’s what you do with what you learn that ultimately matters. There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to serve those around you best,” Roy T. Bennett

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