How to encourage professional development

How to Encourage Professional Development at Your Company

Posted September 16, 2016 by Kristin Hoppe in Managing Your Team
A quality professional development program will make your best employees even more valuable to your company. Here’s how to do it on a budget.

Providing career development and growth for your employees is a valuable investment. Ninety-three percent of employees who feel valued are more motivated to do their best work, according to a study by the APA. Even better, a large portion of growth opportunities you can offer are either free or low cost.

This post is excerpted from 109 Ways to Appreciate Employees on a Budget. You can download the full copy here.

11 Professional Development Ideas

Have a Sprint Week

A good place to start is Jake Knapp’s book, Sprint. The Justworks marketing team held a sprint week where we overhauled a major part of the website. Not only was the experience a lot of fun, but it pushed everyone to grow their skillset and collaborate on a major project in a condensed period of time.

Seek Out an Industry Happy Hour

It’s the perfect opportunity to rub elbows with people who could share additional knowledge in your field. Best of all, they’re often either low-cost or even free.

Move Departments for a Day

Let employees sit in another department and see how it works. This is a great way to share information, boost internal communications, and create a stronger support network throughout the organization. Your employees may also pick up tricks from each other that they can integrate into their everyday work.

Attend a Conference or Trade Show

By going as a team, you’ll be great brand ambassadors for your company. It’s also a great way to network and learn about new educational opportunities and trends within your industry.

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Offer On-Site Interview Training

Consider a service like Recruiting Toolbox to help your team hire the right people. Learning interview skills are indispensable. As Justworks CEO Isaac Oates has put it, “Interviewing is an important and specific skill.” The better your employees are at it, the better tools you’ll have to recruit people who contribute to the company and last for a long time.

Create a Robust Onboarding Process

There are plenty of ways to support new hires plant roots in your company. Here are a few ideas:

  • Lunch with the CEO
  • Scheduled coffee with a coworker
  • New employee training sessions

A thorough onboarding process allows employees to lay the foundation for connections within the company and more professional development opportunities in the future.

Implement an Internal Mentorship Program

Not only is this free, but it’s also a valuable gift you can offer both mentors and mentees. Employees can also use this opportunity to practice their people management skills in a positive and structured environment.

Create Transparent Review Processes

Stick to your timeline and communicate the process openly. By doing so, you’ll gain employee trust and put them on the track to grow within the company.

Consider having a week-long sprint project for professional development. Above, Justworks' marketing team during a Sprint Week.

Go to a Meetup, Lecture, or Fireside Chat

This is a team outing that’s smaller than a conference, so there won’t be pressure to give up the whole day. If the subject includes leadership in business, it may also give your employees some inspiration or insights into how they can develop their skills and talents further.

Provide Professional Development Classes

There are several ways to go about this, whether you offer a stipend or just paid time off to take the classes. Websites like CourseHorse are a great start, or you could consider having your own employees teach them as well.

Build Out an Internal Training Program

Do you have promising leaders in your company? Justworks offers an ongoing Leadership Development Program for new managers and employees with leadership potential. Your company can cover training on topics such as:

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.