Why You Should Focus On Professional Development In Your Business

As HR professionals, we’re acutely aware of the fact that attracting and retaining employees doesn’t always equate to the monetary compensation they receive for their work. Employees are looking at several factors like workplace culture, work-life balance, career progression, and professional development opportunities.

Having a professional development strategy in place, and being able to describe what this strategy looks like, signals to candidates and your current employees that you are an employer who values growth.

In this article, we explore what professional development can add to your business and how your business overall can benefit from it.

What is Professional Development?

Professional development—isn’t that just training? Why does this responsibility fall back on an Employer like yourself?

When we talk about  professional development at work, what we mean is giving people the opportunity to enhance their current skills and knowledge, learn new information and apply it to their position now, and into the future.

When both employers and employees think of professional development, what often comes to mind is that it needs to be an external course that the business pays for on behalf of the employee.

In some cases, this is true, and it’s the best way to facilitate the learning that an employee needs. However, we’ve seen time and again that this doesn’t need to be the case. Professional development doesn’t have to be a direct cost to the business.

What Professional Development Can Look Like

As mentioned above, professional development doesn’t always equate to paid training or seminars.

Some options for professional development could be:

  • Sharing of ideas, experiences, and knowledge internally within the team
  • Regular training and development discussions within the business (at Now Actually, we have Weekly HR Tech Talks!)
  • On the job training
  • Structured training sessions run internally
  • Mentorship
  • Attendance at webinars and briefings on specific topics
  • Subscribing to e-newsletters to stay up-to-date with relevant industry knowledge and trends, or
  • Government grants and funding for training opportunities for businesses.

A workplace culture that encourages employees to further enhance their skills and knowledge is one that will keep employees motivated. Keep in mind that professional development isn’t solely your responsibility as an employer—employees can  also need to be proactive and show initiative in identifying areas they’d like to develop.

The Benefits of Investing in Employee Professional Development

In today’s ever-evolving professional landscape, the case for investing in employee professional development has never been more compelling.

Putting professional development programs in place has the following benefits:

  1. Attracts top talent.
    According to a study by Gallup, 68% of workers believe that professional development programs that employers provide are crucial when considering a new job. The same study found that 48% say they would switch to a new job if it offered skills training opportunities. This further cements the fact that today’s workforce are actively looking for upskilling opportunities in their search for employment.
  2. Keeps employees motivated and increases job satisfaction.
    While job satisfaction has a few factors that contribute to it, employees that have access to professional development are more likely to stay engaged in their work. A study published in International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal found that employees who feel recognised and appreciated are more likely to report high job satisfaction.
  3. Increases employee retention rates.
    According to the Australian HR Institute, “The cost of replacing an employee is approximately 1.5 times their annual salary.” It makes sense for businesses to want to retain the talent they already have—and employee development contributes to healthier retention rates. Additionally, a survey by Built In found that 45% of workers said they would be more likely to stay at their current job if they were offered more training.

Establishing Effective Professional Development Strategies in Your Business

Figuring out  the right professional development strategy for your business requires plenty of work. Developing an effective professional development strategy requires the following:

  • A thorough understanding of your team: This includes understanding their potential for growth within your company, as well as their personal professional growth. Knowing what your team members are interested in developing skills in, as well as having insight into how their roles could further benefit your company, is a crucial step in planning for and executing a professional development strategy.
  • An approach that isn’t one-size-fits-all: What works for one company might not work for yours. No company is exactly the same as the other—think of it as you unique fingerprint. A professional development strategy will only be effective if it’s tailor-made to your company. Your company values, people, and goals will all factor into the
  • Setting a budget: some strategies might require a financial investment, and some might not. The key is identifying which route is best for your company, and then of course creating and setting a budget if needed.


Seeking out professional advice on how to implement professional development in your business is the best way to start. If you want to see how we can help you plan, create, and implement professional development programs and strategies for your company, reach out to us! 

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