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“Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs.

Investing in your team is the greatest and most important investment you can make. After all, they will either make or break your business. They are the ones who represent you and your organisation (Crawford, 2016). Unfortunately, despite its importance, employee professional development is often neglected (Lipman, 2013).

Why is professional development neglected?

Victor Lipman of Forbes magazine suggests a few reasons why it is neglected. He states that there is more focus on the short term as opposed to the long term. Meaning, the results of employee development may not be perceived immediately or even perceived at all and so, this is seen as a long-term gain. So, it would make more business sense to invest in areas where a more immediate gain is seen. He also states that it is claimed there is no time for it. The key word in the previous sentence is “claimed”. So, it all comes down to time and money!? Both of these stated reasons are false perceptions. This post will prove why it is necessary and from the main reasons and beneficiaries are time and money themselves.

Why you should invest in employee professional development

Bhasin (2018) highlights 5 reasons on why you should:

1. You will be able to attract and retain good employees

When people are looking for a job, one of the main benefits they look out for is professional development opportunities. The talented employees will be the ones looking out for such opportunities. So, if you provide this, you attract them.

It also aids you in retaining the good employees. Enabling them to grow professionally and showing that you really care about their development and growth, will enable them to believe you are the one they want to work for. As Lipman (2013) states, if you show genuine interest in their development, they will care and want to be loyal to you. He adds that talented people will naturally want to progress and they will appreciate that you support them in this journey of theirs.

2. Identify strengths and weaknesses of the team

Through development programs you will be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individuals on your team. You will also gain the ability to promote from within, which in and of itself saves you time and money.

3. Keep employees engaged at work

LBMC (2018) state that a long serving employee tends to get comfortable and complacent. Whereas if employee professional development was in place, they remain engaged at work as they themselves excel and become better at what they do. Similarly, Crawford (2016) claims that it helps them “stay interested and interesting”. He also adds that this increases morale, which has a knock-on effect on performance.

employee development

4. Save time and money and increase profitability

You are able to save time and money because you do not have to waste it on firing and hiring and all senior people involved in business will know how time consuming and expensive that process is. You have a team who is competent and continuously increasing in their competence and they on top that they want to stay with you. Win win. And it is known that to retain employees is cheaper than to hire new ones (Webb, 2019).

You increase your profitability because of your highly competent team who are continuously getting better and more skilled at what they do. As a result, their productivity increases (LBMC, 2018) and this makes you money.

5. Prepare for the future

Having a continuous professional development plan in place helps you prepare for the ever-changing future. As we develop, the professions we are all in develop, and the only way to keep up is to ensure that we are taking part in continuous professional development. LBMC (2018) have strongly asserted that professional development should be equally important for employees and employers. They added that some strategy must be in place, whether it is run internally or external trainers are brought in to offer different methodologies, skills and perspectives.

Some fascinating statistics provided by Webb (2019)

“The Association for Talent Development (ATD) assert that organisations who offer comprehensive training programs achieve 218% higher income than companies who fail to implement an effective employee development-focused training plan.”

“A national survey of over 400 employees spanning three generations (Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation X) 70% of respondents expressed that the training opportunities available to them play a huge influence in their decision on whether to stay in their current role.”

Is it even a problem?

Many will claim they do not need to put their employees or themselves through professional development or that there are more important things to worry about. Quite frankly, if you look at the below reviews and comments left by consumers, this is the main area you should be worried about!

“Retraining in customer service required”

“Very unorganised and unprofessional”

“Extremely frustrated with the terrible service”

“I have to change my review from 5 to 2 stars just because of their customer service. Worst customer service ever. No proper apologies and they just don’t care. I have no problem with the cleaning but there should be a good management team”

“Good girls but very bad costumer service…very rude, I will never deal with them again”

“Unreliable company starting from the management, incapable and not respectful be careful”

“The service is so bad, I thought I was on a TV reality show. It was hilarious.”

“Been there twice and sincerely was not impressed with the service”

“Employees need motivation”

“Staff seem a little too laid back”

“Staff have to be more enthusiastic”

“Very impolite staff…they need to know it’s a service they are doing for all customers…this was the worst”

“Service is really horrible… Really disappointed.”

“Employees are very disrespectful”,

“Guy on the phone doesn’t speak English at all”

“It’s tired, disorganized and needs an overhaul”

“They need training on how to behave with Customers”

“If you want to be a leader in supermarkets, you have to have the customer service to go with it- something <large supermarket> is seriously lacking right now.” and “Very bad customer service at <large supermarket>”

“I am very disappointed with you customer service”

And I could literally go on forever. These are problems that exist right here in Dubai, yet we get managers claiming that there is no need for employee professional development. To conclude, I will end on this powerful statement by Lipman (2013) – “taking an honest interest in someone builds loyalty. Loyal employees are more engaged. Engaged employees are more productive.”

Reference list:

Bhasin, H. (2018). 5 Reasons Employee Development Is Important To Your Company. [Online]. Available from: https://www.marketing91.com/employee-development-is-important/ [Accessed 22 September 2019].

Carwford, M. (2016). Why professional development matters to the success of a company. [Online]. Available from: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2016/09/professional-development-matters-success-company.html [Accessed 23 September 2019].

LBMC. (2018). The Importance of Professional Development. [Online]. Available from: https://www.lbmc.com/blog/the-importance-of-professional-development/ [Accessed 23 September 2019].

Lipman, V. (2013). Why Employee Development Is Important, Neglected And Can Cost You Talent. [Online]. Forbes. Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2013/01/29/why-development-planning-is-important-neglected-and-can-cost-you-young-talent/#6dabff3a6f63 [Accessed 22 September 2019].

Webb, L. (2019). The importance of professional development in 2019. [Online]. Training Journal. Available from: https://www.trainingjournal.com/articles/features/importance-professional-development-2019 [Accessed 23 September 2019].