The importance of continuing education and professional growth for employees

Are you investing in your employees’ training and development? All employees can benefit from a development program however, this task is quickly forgotten or put at the bottom of the ‘to do list’ amid the pressures of daily business activities. Neglecting this task, however, will ultimately put your business at risk. The truth is: your employees are your biggest asset, and like diamonds in the rough, you have a responsibility to enrich their value and make them shine. A company’s performance is completely dependent on the individual performance of each employee. To increase the effectiveness of your company, training and development is a critical component.

Your priority is to create within your workplace a culture of learning which encourages professional growth and to make a commitment to empower your employees to reach their highest potential. Connecting their desire for continuous learning with the organizational and performance management goals of your business shows them that you are serious about their development and prepared to help them succeed. In turn, your employees will become more self-determined and motivated. The successful American businessman, Harvey S. Firestone, shares his expert advice, “It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.”

Unfortunately, many companies place the greatest emphasis on the recruiting and interviewing process and after hiring, investment in people stops. Training for employees does require an upfront investment from the employer, however it is an investment that provides high yields and ongoing dividends. According 2015 Training Industry Report, the total 2015 U.S. training expenditures increased by 14.2% to $70.6 Billion. On average, employees received 53.8 hours of training per year, 13 hours more than last year, this is good news and shows businesses are now more willing to invest in training and development programs, perhaps because they know there is no greater investment than in their employees.
By providing continual training, employees are given opportunities to steadily upgrade their competencies and be motivated to not let their skills become stagnant. As a result, your business gains the competitive edge and avoids being left behind because the staff is not aware of current trends or prepared for necessary technology updates and changes.
Zig Ziglar said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Managers want and need highly skilled employees on their team, although it is easy to neglect to provide the necessary training to get them there. Beyond monetary concerns, a primary reason why people quit their jobs is they weren’t learning anything new. Employers can improve employee retention, loyalty and career advancement within by investing in their employees’ continuing education and training.

An effective, quality training program will boost morale and job satisfaction. Taking the time with each employee for discussions, planning and goal setting for the most appropriate and suitable training to improve skills and knowledge, shows your positive support for their career development and progression. When a person feels valued, they take pride in their work and are eager to grow professionally.

And, like any other business investment, you need to do your homework to select the best training programs and providers that will satisfy your training and development needs. Take time to observe and interview your staff to find out what skills they want or need to develop. Select only training that is transferable and relevant to your employee’s current job, to keep them engaged in the overall process. You will also want to consider scheduling and the optimal delivery method for the training. There are many choices and it can even be a mix of delivery formats, from online, to classroom, one-to-one training, or group discussions.

Most importantly, be sure you walk the talk and set a good example. Ensure you have a training and development plan for yourself as the leader. Show your team your commitment to professional development. This is a key ingredient for building trust with your employees and showing them that you practice what you preach.

We would be pleased to support you when you take steps to aid in polishing the skills of your employees and watching their multifaceted brilliance shine and sparkle like diamonds.

If you have an interest in continuing professional development education for you or your team, please contact Laurel Brown lbrown@dce.ufl.edu or (352) 294-0856.

Laurel Brown is the Assistant Director for UF Executive Education where she directs the Executive Education unit and oversees the development and delivery of customized and onsite training programs.

 

By Laurel Brown

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