Professional Development: Investing in Yourself

While many leaders set a high importance on training employees, all too often their personal development takes a backseat. According to a Deloitte study, 86% of respondents said learning and development are important issues, yet only 10% say they are ready to address it.

Moreover, as technology advances and automation affects the workforce, now more than ever, training and reskilling is paramount. A recent World Economic Forum report found that 54% of the workforce will need significant reskilling and upskilling in the near future due to technological advancements. For leaders, creating a culture of personal investment is key to staying up-to-date with the evolving landscape.

The Importance of Lifelong Learning

While adjusting to change can be difficult, growth and development should be a major part of your life. Leadership guru Seth Godin pontificates the timing of change and points to reasons why it can be ineffective when he said “Change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” If you wait for the moment your position requires reskilling or upskilling, it will most certainly be too late. This is why embracing a mentality of lifelong learning will help you continue to advance and be ready for whatever is needed from you as a leader.

Different Types of Training

When deciding to invest in yourself through professional development, it’s good to know what type of training is available, as well as what is right for you. Regardless of your experience or educational history, each of these are great options to consider.

Online Lessons

One option that may be most easily assessable is to take online lessons. Sites like Coursera offer specific training on relevant topics from universities and businesses. For other options, try a platform like TED Talks for learning.

Continued Education

While going back to school may not be an option for some, it can be an effective way to upskill and get ahead of the learning curve needed for future advancements. Taking courses at a community or online college can be an option.

Certification Programs

Several professional organizations offer certification programs and training that not only train individuals to become proficient in their field, but also keep up with industry trends.

Career Coach

In some cases, having a career coach who is either in your field or simply a seasoned veteran can help direct your development and offer priceless guidance.

Internal or Cross Training

According to the BLS, companies with fewer than 100 employees offered only 12 minutes of management training every six months, and businesses with 100 to 500 workers gave only six minutes of training. Beat the average by holding internal training and offering cross training within your organization focusing on reskilling on a regular basis.

Create a Professional Development Plan

While deciding which training options are best for you is important, even more imperative is understanding which skills you need to focus on. Take a self-assessment and determine blind spots in your leadership and opportunities for growth. And while it may be impossible to know what the future of your profession holds, try to anticipate changes in your field to learn what development is needed for you to be successful.

In a Lorman study, 56% of human resources managers said training and development is essential to business, yet 59% of employees said they didn’t receive workplace training and most of their skills were self-taught. This dichotomy is a perfect example of knowing what is needed yet not following through with development goals. Take a competitive advantage in your career by embracing a culture of growth and encourage your employees to do the same. You may be surprised by the changes in engagement around you.

What do you do to reskill and upskill? How has a focus on professional development helped you and your organization? Let us know in the comments section below!

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One Response to Professional Development: Investing in Yourself

  1. Gary Watson July 6, 2021 at 10:13 pm #

    I am 80 and I just completed my CFTS certification. It was difficult but not impossible. One man about 1/3 third my age said it was the hardest thing he had ever done. ??

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