Continued professional development (CPD) is the lifelong process enhancing a person’s skillset and knowledge base above and beyond their current professional or workplace role. It is a commitment to be proactive rather than reactive.
CPD is a blend of different learning methodologies; it is not simply academic growth in the form of post-graduate degrees. Instead, it combines real world experience, self-taught skills, training classes, conferences, symposia, workshops, e-learning and professional certification – all geared towards improving the ability and, dare we say, wisdom of an individual.
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First and foremost, CPD will make you a better person. The constant personal growth will make you wiser, more confident and better at your job. You will be a happier person, and become a more productive member of society.
More specifically though, CPD allows you to deliver a better performance at work, and consequently, increase your company’s profit or productivity. It will also help you discover gaps in your skillset and knowledge, and prepare you for further future development.
By becoming a better employee, you will achieve your career goals faster, in the form of more favourable working hours, salary increments, and eventually, promotion. It will also help you to secure better employment elsewhere, if such opportunities arise.
Ultimately, CPD ensures that you will always keep pace with the world around you. You will never end up as an irrelevant employee primed for retrenchment as your skillset has far surpass your original responsibility.
A recent Gallup survey showed that 59% of millennials consider continued development as a primary consideration when applying for a job. Another 87% equated professional development with career growth.
To put it simply, companies must provide CPD opportunities to employees to be able to attract and retain the best talent; salary is no longer the biggest determining factor for employees. Which is logical, because in the long run, CPD offers the greatest monetary and advancement potential.
Companies that refuse to create or invest in programs which help the CPD of their employees run the very real risk of being left behind.
Obviously, not every organisation has the financial resources to create and implement a comprehensive CPD model for their employees. However, this doesn’t mean they shouldn’t bother trying.
For instance, in the absence of monetary support, companies can offer greater leeway and organisational support to employees who wish to finance their own CPD. A good example is by offering paid working days for employees who attend certified training such as ITIL or PRINCE2, or by approving more flexible working hours for employees who attend classes in the evening.
These kind of support will create a more loyal and happy workforce. And as we all know, happy employees mean bigger profits!