HR Glossary  /  Performance and People Management  /  Professional development

Professional development

What is professional development? 

Professional development refers to the learning activities an employee participates in to help develop the skills necessary to complete their current or future job duties. Activities can include online professional courses, leadership courses, webinars, seminars, conferences, and individual mentoring. 

What is a professional development goal? 

A professional development goal can be a short or long-term objective an employee works to attain, such as a higher-level position, online compliance training course completion, new skill, certificate, or degree. Setting goals helps employees progress along their desired career paths.  

What are the benefits? 

Investing in your employees supports a culture of lifelong learning, boosts employee engagement, and gives employees the opportunity to define their own career paths. It is a best practice to encourage employees to share the knowledge they obtain from professional development activities with their peers or managers so that others can benefit from the experience. 

Professional development activities provided by or funded by an organization should align with the company’s values and organizational needs. The activity should be related to the employee’s current job at the organization—or their future career aspirations if those can be met in the organization. In some cases, it may extend to subscription-based services (such as newsletters or online learning communities) or professional memberships that directly relate to the employee’s job. 

What types of activities should an organization pay for? 

HR should develop and provide standard performance development review forms (or adopt technologies to use as tools). HR should ensure that these forms and tools are supplemented with policies and training to clarify their purpose and use. 

HRdownloads clients get unlimited access to resources like:

  • Planning Form 
  • Performance Development Application Form 
  • Policy Template

For more about why training and development is important for your employees continued growth, read our blog, Can What They Don’t Know Hurt Them? Why Employee Training Matters.

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