Cameron School of Business at UNCW

The Ultimate Professional Development Cheat Sheet for Organizations

Posted by Swain Center on Jun 22, 2018 8:01:00 AM

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Blogger: Laura Gail Lunsford, PhD, Director of the UNCW Swain Center (this post originally appeared on WilmingtonBiz.com on June 15, 2018)

Investing in professional development can yield big dividends for the individual and the organization.
 
Skip to the front of the line on developing and investing in high-quality professional development by checking off the items on this cheat sheet to make sure you will have an engaged and talented workforce.

1. Engage And Retain 

Your best employees can always get paid more somewhere else. Thoughtful professional development opportunities engage employees and increase their loyalty to the company.
 
For example, a recent Deloitte report found that millennials who have mentors are twice as likely to stay at their organization. There are a lot of millennials in the Wilmington workforce.
 
Do you have formal opportunities for employees to:
  • Develop technical skills (project management, business analytics, Six Sigma)?
  • Learn managerial essentials (accounting, finance, HR, operations, sales excellence, customer delight)?
  • Develop leadership (self-awareness, strategy, leading change)?
  • Coach and mentor (develop coaching and mentoring skills)?
If you are lacking in these areas, then consider how you can start conversations to formalize these opportunities. Even small organizations can take advantage of external consultants or university executive education centers. 
 

2. Develop Internal Talent

Promoting employees means you retain their knowledge about your organization and your customers. Organizations typically promote the best performers to be the leaders, yet the best performers may not have the skills to bring out the best in others.
 
Professional development for talented aspiring managers and leaders will create a pool of talented individuals who are ready to lead when needed. Many organizations an annual performance review process but it is important to look beyond one year when developing talent. 
 
Does your organization:
  • Ensure managers ask, at least annually, about employee professional goals in five and 10 years?
  • Have transparency in how employees are selected for opportunities?
  • Connect professional development back to the job, e.g. managers ask how learning will transfer back to the employee's work? 

3. Save Money

Hiring employees is expensive. Estimates are that it costs 1.5 times the salary to bring in a new person. Creating professional development opportunities that support employee growth saves money by keeping them engaged and reducing the time it takes for employees to learn the business – especially when they are promoted.
 
Does your organization:
  • Have a succession management plan that ties to professional development?
  • Co-create opportunities for professional development with the employee?
  • Survey employees about skills gaps?

4. Plan For The Future

Where does your organization need to be in five years? Ten years? A formal and well-developed universe of professional and executive development requires you think about the company's future.
 
Recently, New Hanover County developed a new strategic plan. They are really building on that plan by mapping professional development to their strategic goals.
 
Does your organization map professional development to strategic plans?
 
If you answered yes to all these questions, then you earn a 100!
 
Partnering with UNCW (or other universities) can be a cost-effective way to supplement professional education offerings. Check out the Swain Center for our open enrollment and custom program offerings.

Topics: professional development, SWAIN Center

Cameron School of Business at UNCW

UNCW was established as Wilmington College in 1947. The Department of Business and Economics became the Cameron School of Business in 1979. Focused on the transformation of today’s business world from the industrial age into the information age, business education at the Cameron School of Business is focused on the technical, analytical and interpersonal skills students will need to lead this fundamental change in the business world through the 21st century.

On our blog, you will find:

  • Stories of our students, both past and present
  • Highlights of our impressive faculty and staff members
  • Exciting ties to the community
  • Business tips and insights on both a local and international scale
For more information, visit our site or reach out to us!

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