Professional development opportunities help both employees and employers contribute to a better workplace experience. Employees who receive professional development can apply new information to their jobs and improve their performance. They may also be able to learn skills or abilities that help them receive promotions or transfers to other job opportunities in the workplace. Employers benefit from increased job satisfaction and increased knowledge in their employees. Here are examples of professional development you can offer to employees:
- Conference registration and travel. Conferences may seem very expensive. Industry and association conferences can have fees as high as $1,500 - $2,000 just to register, and that’s before travel and hotel costs. But conferences are also a great opportunity for people to learn new skills and network with potential contacts. To get the most out of a conference, have the employee identify what new ideas they learned or new relationships they made. Track how an employee uses these skills.
- Education reimbursement or tuition assistance. You may offer professional development for employees to pursue certificates, graduate degrees, or additional learning from a college or university. You can restrict tuition assistance to repayment for classes directly associated to the line of work.
- Intensive training or bootcamps. In some fields, like software development or database administration, it’s common to have week-long (or longer) sessions dedicated to learning new skills.
- Certifications and credentials. Many fields offer a certification or credential. This certificate or credential can certify that an employee has attained a certain level of knowledge and experience in their field.
- Online subscriptions. There are many companies that offer monthly or annual subscription services to recorded trainings and webinars.
- In-house training. Many larger employees can afford to set up training departments within their company to conduct internal trainings. This is especially helpful if you have front line positions with a lot of turnover.
- Outside training. Whether you hire a consultant or subscribe to an outside training service, there are many companies dedicated to training employees.
- Reimbursement for books or other supplies. Many employees may find that books or how-to guides are the best way for them to learn. You can reimburse employees who spend money on these guides.
- Dedicated work time for learning. Even if you don’t reimburse for any fees or expenses, you can always allow employees to use dedicated work time to learn or practice new skills. Employees should hear from senior leadership that professional development is a work expense. Time off should be billed to work, not vacation, and employees shouldn’t be expected to learn.