With the change in the workforce over the past year, the need for professional development continues to grow. The US Department of Labor reported that during the months of April, May, and June 2021, a total of 11.5 million workers quit their jobs. The rates continued to increase during the following months reports. And it is not over. The Great Resignation, as this trend has been come to know, as has changed the need for corporations to reprioritize professional development of their staff.

According to ClearCompany, 74 percent of employees say that a lack of professional development is preventing them from reaching their full potential. With only 29 percent of organizations with clear learning and development plans, many employees are set up to feel undervalued and underdeveloped. This will inevitably result in a disengaged workforce and high turnover rates.

Professional development needs to be built into the development culture and budgets of companies allowing those in the company to continue to grow and thrive. Employees want professional development to be a core part their employment path. It is important to note that training does different from training. Training fills in a gap, but professional development looks to the future and growth of the company and employee. Through development, a company can affect employee retention and job satisfaction.

The skills that employees are seeking are many of the same ones that companies are seeking to develop. These are some of the most important traits for the future of corporate professionals.

Make a plan for employee professional development

Talk about development is good, but action is even better. It is important to keep in mind that there is no one size fits all development plan. Each employee is different and has different needs. A plan for each employee is necessary. It is also important to review that plan to make sure that the employee is receiving what they might need.

As an organization, it is also important to review the organization’s goal. Are there skills that your organization as a whole could use to help you further meet those goals?

Offer professional networking opportunities

Another professional development opportunity that employers can offer employees is professional networking opportunities. Allowing employees to interact with others in their field, allows them to gain professional exposure and meet potential new clients.

These networking opportunities could also apply across departments. There is much that employees can learn from one another given the opportunity. However, many times certain departments do not cross or interact. If an employee understands their colleagues work, it can foster a more engaged workforce.

Identify and encourage the development of soft skills

One of the skills that will aid employees stay ahead of the competition is to improve efficiency and productivity. Learning from others and staying up to date with industry trends are also crucial. These skills will help you find new ways to do things and improve your business.

As technological advancements continue to make the world more connected, employees need to have good interpersonal and soft skills. Having strong communication skills will give the company leg up on the competition. In addition to communication skills, the importance of collaboration and project management will also be highly valued. This is especially true for teams that use remote working.

Creativity is a necessary skill for today’s workforce. Creative thinking will lead to more innovative ideas and innovations that will impact the company’s bottom line. They then should be able to turn their imagination into action.

Providing online training opportunities

Many companies can also take advantage of online certificate programs. They are convenient and provide real career benefits. Investing in continued professional development also helps to fight skills shortages and increase your employee engagement. Moreover, investing in your employees’ professional development will ensure you have a smoother and more efficient workplace. If you want to keep up with the ever-changing world, investing in them will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Give enough time for employees to do training

It is not just enough to come up with a plan but also imperative to make sure to give employees enough time to complete. Allow employees the time to complete activities to allows for development.

Regardless of your company size, you should invest in your employees’ professional development. Investing in training will not only benefit current employees but also help you recruit the best people for your company. It will help you stay competitive in the next few years and avoid falling behind your competitors. So, invest in your employees’ professional development. You’ll never know when you might need them in the future.