professional growth plan
Training & Learning

9 Easy Ways to Facilitate Professional Growth Plans in Your Company

With so many advancements in technology, it's no wonder that professional development is one of the top priorities for companies. 

Employees need to keep up to date with the latest trends in order to be productive and successful. 

However, it can be challenging to know where to start when choosing the right professional development strategy. That's why we've put together a list of 9 solutions that can help you get started.

1. Jump-start your own professional learning

Creating a plan for your professional development is essential to ensure that you're always learning new things. By setting goals and making a schedule, you can ensure that you're dedicating enough time to learning new topics. 

Additionally, planning will help you budget your time and money accordingly. Lifelong learning is a critical practice, but it's also important to be intentional about the lessons you're learning.

Here are a few tips for setting aside time each week for professional development:

  • Make a schedule and stick to it.
  • Dedicate time each day or week to learning new things. 
  • Join a book club or discussion group related to your profession.
  • Attend conferences and networking events in your field.
  • Take advantage of free resources available online.

In addition, setting small goals (like learning something for 30 days straight) will make it easier to stay motivated and achieve your larger goal of completing an entire course or learning something new.

When you finish, you can reflect on what you learned and whether you would like to continue studying that topic. You may also want to consider discussing what you learned with your coach or colleagues to get their perspectives. 

Professional development should be a cross-functional collaborative effort, and it's always helpful to get feedback from others.

Related: Microlearning Examples and Techniques to Improve Employee Learning Outcomes

2. Create actionable reports

Short and actionable reports can help leaders and employees genuinely understand how they're performing at work. These reports should include metrics directly tied to the company's overall success, such as increased revenue or increased brand awareness.

At its core, creating actionable reports means clearly understanding what you want team members to achieve over a specific period. 

Once you've set these goals, you'll want to make sure that everyone has access to them and is aware of their progress towards those goals daily. 

This way, team members will feel like they have the knowledge and support necessary to do their best work each day. Consider using an employee monitoring software that allows for reporting on employee performance and the performance of professional growth programs.

You could also deploy professional development KPIs that are goal-oriented, business-focused, and measurable. Doing so will help you track the number of promoted, hired professionals, and new customers. It's essential to ensure that KPIs are goal-oriented to show how professional growth directly impacts business goals.

If you're interested in some software tools that can help with professional development metrics and reporting, check these out:

Look for sales and marketing tools to help collect user feedback, record meetings, broadcast webinars, and generate demand for more optimized training programs. In addition, they all offer comprehensive reporting features to help leaders assess the impact of professional development programs on business goals.

Related: Our 3-Step Process for Using OKRs to Drive Performance (+ Free OKR Template)

3. Invest in online professional learning certificates

Certification types can vary depending on your industry. For example, PMI (Project Management Institute) offers project management certificates applicable to various industries. Some of these certificates include:

  • PMP (Project Management Professional)
  • CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management)
  • PfMP (Program Management Professional)
  • PMI-ACP (PMI Agile Certified Practitioner)

These are just a few examples of the certificates that PMI offers. There are many different certification types available, and it's essential to choose one that applies to your industry and job role.

Some other standard certification types include:

  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • CASP (CompTIA Advanced Security Practitioner)

Certifications are a great way to advance your career. Not only will they impress potential employers, but they'll also provide you with new knowledge and skills that can help you do your job better. 

Professional growth impacts business growth and doesn't require any prior experience. You can start learning new things today by investing in online professional learning certificates. All you need is a desire to learn and grow.

4. Increase your teams’ learning efficiency

Finding a way to measure how well your team received your planned learning experience can be tricky.

One of the best ways is to have a book club. 

This way, you can encourage your team to read relevant books and discuss them after. This technique allows everyone to learn something new and access the same information.

In addition, you could start an internal intranet blog where everyone writes a blurb or blog post once a week. 

A combination of reading and writing helps you understand concepts better and allows you to quickly understand any subject you're trying to learn. 

You can help your team practice writing by generating articles, blogs, white papers, and reading books. These may increase the efficiency and quality of your learning as a team. 

Related: 5 Learning and Development Books Every Pro Should Read

5. Offer complementary 'elective' courses from learning hubs

If you have the time and money, consider offering elective courses. It gives employees the chance to learn something new.

If you want to design your own course, start looking at what's already available in learning hubs like Udemy or Coursera. These sites offer courses from various experts and industry professionals, so they're a great place to look for inspiration.

Both certification and accreditation courses are a great way to learn new skills in a structured way. They provide you with all the information you need to know and often include hands-on exercises to help you practice what you've learned. 

In addition, certification courses can help you build a network of professionals who can help you advance your career.

6. Don't do one-size-fits-all online workshops

If you want to improve your skills, you should start with what you know, not with a template from someone else. This way, you can be sure that you're correctly learning the material and that you're not missing any vital information. 

In addition, by starting from scratch, you'll better understand how the skill works and how to apply it to different situations.

When creating a workshop, it's essential to think about the content and what you want to achieve. You don't want to create a too general or too specific workshop. A general workshop will leave attendees with many unanswered questions, and a specific workshop might not apply to everyone.

That's why it's crucial to create workshops around topics that you or one of your team members know well. Doing so ensures that the content is relevant and that attendees can ask questions and get feedback.

In addition, by creating workshops around topics that you're familiar with, you'll be able to share your own experiences and expertise. It can help attendees learn in a hands-on way and discover how they can apply this new skill.

Make sure you create an outline or agenda first. You can do this by refreshing your knowledge on the subject and reading books about the topics. Once you create an outline, practice your workshop on a colleague first before presenting it to your team members. 

The most effective way to teach the material is to know it well. And the best way for you to know it well is to practice teaching it.

One of the best ways to improve your skills is to get feedback from friends and family. By doing so, you can learn how well you're doing and what areas you need to work on. In addition, by getting feedback from those who care about you, you'll be more likely to take the feedback seriously and work on improving your skills.

When asking for feedback, it's essential to be specific. 

This way, you can ensure that you're getting the information you need. Ask your friends and family what they think of your skills in the given area and what they think you could do to improve.

peer feedback asset

The template you need to make sure your peer feedback isn't shooting you in the foot.

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7. Have a plan for employee evaluation management

It's essential to have a plan for employee evaluation management. If you don't, it'll be challenging to fill out the forms, and more likely that your employees will feel awkward about having a conversation with you about their performance.

Creating an ongoing dialogue is one of the best ways to ensure continuous growth in your employees. In addition, providing ongoing professional development shows that you care about your team members' well-being. 

To do that, you'll want to be able to explain how well your employees are performing at work.

For this dialogue to work, both parties must understand what good looks like and move towards their goal together. It's also crucial that supervisors are aware of any weaknesses or concerns that employees may have to improve these areas of weakness.

Having detailed discussions where both parties know the other's needs is vital. Part of this means asking questions. 

For team members to feel comfortable asking you questions, you must be available and accessible. It means being present in the office, being responsive to emails and phone calls, and taking the time to talk with your team members. 

In addition, make sure that you have an open-door policy so that team members don't feel like they need an appointment to speak with you.

Finally, when it comes to having professional growth in your company, one of the most important things is creating an environment that tells team members it's never a wrong time to ask questions. 

Doing so ensures that team members feel comfortable coming to you with any concerns. It also allows you to identify areas where they may need additional training.

8. Put together resources for leaders

If you're in a leadership role, it's essential to ensure that you've put together resources for your team members. Resources can help people learn and grow faster.

As the company leader, it's your job to ensure that everyone is doing their best work and growing as fast as possible. 

Along the way, you'll want tools and strategies to support these goals.

For example, coaching someone towards goals—such as becoming more confident or taking better risks—helps guide these decisions beforehand. You can encourage employees by sharing relevant articles and other outside materials with them so they have access when they need it most. For example, put together a list of books, blogs, and courses leaders should use.

One of the best ways to encourage leaders to pair up and teach each other skills is to resist offering top-down training. Instead, allow leaders to hand-down train as in an apprenticeship. This way, they can learn from their mistakes and grow into their new role. 

It also allows for more creativity and flexibility, two crucial aspects of any company. In addition, it helps to develop a mentorship relationship that can be beneficial for both parties involved.

In addition, as a leader, you should allow team members to explore alternate roles. Each role should crossover slightly with others so that employees can have visibility on roles that might better suit them. 

Finally, encourage peer-to-peer collaborative learning when necessary. It can help team members feel like they are not alone when struggling to learn something new, which benefits their overall well-being and productivity.

Related: 8 Benefits To Cross-Training Employees

9. Gather feedback on professional development events

One of the most critical aspects of professional development is getting feedback from attendees/employees. After all, you want to know what worked and what didn't so that you can improve for future events. 

Here are a few tips for gathering feedback from attendees:

  • Ask for feedback during or after the event.
  • Use surveys or questionnaires to collect feedback.
  • Hold a post-event meeting to get feedback from attendees.
  • Make it easy for attendees to provide feedback.

Conclusion

When it comes to professional growth, it's essential to focus on developing critical skills that will help you excel in your role. One great way to do this is to attend workshops, meetings, and seminars that your company or other organizations offer, to enhance collaboration efforts. 

In addition, you can also watch online tutorials and read articles that focus on professional growth.

To truly learn something new, it's essential to frequently practice the skill or subject matter. As such, it's a good idea to ensure that your company holds time dedicated for employees to train every day.