Professional development, when properly utilized, helps organizations attract and retain top talent, increase employee engagement and satisfaction, and boost innovation within the team. When a manager supports and encourages professional development, employees are more likely to translate their knowledge into team success.
What can you do to ensure your employees are growing in the ways that support your team’s goals?
1. Make professional development part of your regular conversations
Managers should include professional development as part of their regular goal setting conversations to ensure any gaps in hard (the “what” they do) or soft skills (“how” they do it) are identified and managed before they become an issue. Asking the employee to look for ways to close the gap (through workshops, readings, job shadowing, cross functional teams, etc..) encourages employee ownership of the learning. Additionally assessing a team’s needs and having the team identify ways to fill the gap encourages employees supporting each other toward success.
2. Create opportunities for your employees to share and learn from others
People enjoy learning from others. Finding ways to allow those with expertise share their knowledge or skill with others fosters collaborative environments and strong connections. This can be as simple as bringing the team together to hear what a team member learned in a workshop or conference session or to discuss a book they just read.
3. Share your own experiences about your professional growth
Help your team understand how you got to your current role and where you hope to be in the future. Your team will learn that you value growth and development and, if you are candid, will be more likely to discuss their own concerns and take advantage of opportunities to get better.
Regular conversations about personal goals and professional development shows your employees that you care, that you support them, and that you encourage their personal success.
Professional Development resources available at SMU:
HR Professional Development Workshops: open to all employees, free of charge
HR Manager Lunch and Learn Series: pop up sessions on topics that matter in the moment
SMU Manager Orientation Program: open to all newly hired, current, and aspiring managers; also free of charge
Total Orientation Process for New Employees: supporting new employees during their probationary period of employment
Tuition Benefits Program: available for regular benefits-eligible employees, their spouse, and dependents
IT Training: open to all employees, free of charge
Lynda.com: online learning offered via SMU OIT and available for all employees
SMU Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE): offering an SMU employee discount. Call or email for specifics.
SMU Cox Executive Education Professional Development: Friends and Family Discount of 50% off all Programs for Individuals, including the Summer Business Institute.