What Is Professional Development and How Should You Tackle It?

What Is Professional Development and How Should You Tackle It?

Building an excellent team of employees takes a lot of work. One important component of that is professional development. If you run a company and you've heard the term before, but are still wondering "what is professional development," you're missing out on a potent strategy for building strong teams and optimizing your employees' morale.

Here's our guide to professional development: what it is, how it helps your business, and some tips for tackling it. That way, when someone asks, "what is professional development?" you can answer and lay out your organization's professional development plan like a pro.

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So, Really... What Is Professional Development?

Professional development is the practice of providing your employees with learning opportunities so they can continue to develop as professionals in your field. Professional development goes beyond on-the-job training that only applies to your organization. The Harvard Business Review answers the question: what is professional development? by calling the process "upskilling."  When you undertake a professional development program at your company, you commit to providing learning opportunities that offer your team members new skills, more knowledge, and improved abilities.

What is professional development in practice? Professional development can appear as many different things. It can include the following activities and much, much more:

  • Access to or funding for higher learning programs (including advanced degrees)
  • Leadership training programs
  • Educational opportunities to adopt new skills related to a job or field
  • Receiving coaching or mentoring from someone more advanced in the industry, whether that is remote coaching or in-person coaching
  • Advanced or extra (wanted) assignments at work that don't necessarily directly relate to a team member's regular job, such as managing fellowship, coordinating volunteer efforts, or launching programs within the company
  • Funding or training for certifications
  • Funding or invitations to conferences or conventions
  • Regular constructive feedback from managers or bosses
  • The ability to lead an intern or apprentice

Why Does Professional Development Matter?

Now that you can answer "What is professional development?" you may be wondering if professional development really matters. The vocal majority of business experts and researchers agree that professional development is critical at a company. Professional development comes with a slew of benefits for anyone who participates and any organizational leader who offers it to their employees. Some of the most important benefits include:

  • Boosted Employee Engagement. According to experts at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, professional development boosts engagement, which in turn benefits your organization. Wharton experts explain:
"Providing employees with learning opportunities can increase employee engagement. That’s correlated with higher profits, lower absenteeism, better productivity and increased innovation."
  • A Stronger Workforce. When you enable your team members to develop new skills and abilities, you create a stronger team that can perform better in the workplace and the world. You make your team stronger by allowing them to learn and grow.
  • A More Competitive Market Position. Most companies today offer professional development opportunities for employees. If you want to attract the best talent, you need to provide professional development opportunities so you don't lose top prospects to companies offering better incentives.

How to Get Started Offering Professional Development at Your Company

If you don't yet offer professional development opportunities at your organization, it's time to get started. But don't feel that you must produce funding for graduate school or expensive certifications. Start out simple, with offering mentorships from higher-ups at the company who can lead others with their experience. You can also offer all team members one-on-one feedback sessions regularly, and the constructive criticism and praise you offer can help them further develop in their roles.

You may also consider tackling professional development by creating a series of videos that aren't mandatory, but teach skills or knowledge in your field. A video learning library that's only accessible to team members is an excellent professional development opportunity because it is free for team members to participate in and low-cost for you to create. These videos can also be used again and again as new employees enter the company and want to learn new things.

Learn More: How Video Can Enhance Employee Professional Development

How Viostream Can Help

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Make yourself valuable to them in return by using Viostream to encourage and enable learning through video, and you can create stronger, happier, and more successful teams.

Viostream is one of the world's leading video platforms for companies and government organizations, boasting a range of features including livestreaming for remote working, a cloud-based branded video library, and integration capabilities for more learning management systems (LMS). This capacity for an LMS can help you launch your professional development program. Use Viostream to manage and host your professional development video learning library where your employees can gain valuable knowledge and advice that they'd have to pay to learn elsewhere. You can even make a video called "What is Professional Development? and explain why your team members should take the time to expand their skills. .

To see if Viostream can help once you've answered "What is professional development?," start your 14-day free trial to see how Viostream can support your organizational and professional development goals, as well as your overall company video strategy.

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Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato
Paul Vecchiato (Chief Technology Officer) is an experienced technology professional with over 15 years experience in developing and delivering complex web applications across a wide variety of industries.
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