Who Needs Professional Development and How Much Do They Need?

professional development

Is professional development only for professionals?

I think the answer is YES.

How do we define “professional”?  I would define “professional” as anyone assigned to do a specific job that needs to be completed and done well.  That really defines every job in my mind!

Two important questions should come to every employer’s mind ANNUALLY:

  • How are you to determine how much professional development every employee needs?
  • What type of professional development does each employee need?

Determining any employee’s professional development needs can be as complicated, or as simple, as you choose to make it.

People grow as they continue to learn.  Lifelong learning engages a person’s mind and body in the self-improvement.  It makes sense that we should want our employees to improve their mind and body regularly.  Therefore, every employee should receive professional development every year.

So, how much professional development is appropriate?  This decision should be made in conjunction with the type of professional development that is needed, but at a minimum, a good rule of thumb, the higher level the learning, the longer the term of professional development is required.

For example, for fast food workers, 2 hours per quarter might be adequate.  For an administrative assistant, 4 hours per quarter might be adequate, and for an engineer, 8 hours per quarter might be appropriate.

In order to determine how much, we need to examine what.  Here are some steps in determining what type of professional development each employee needs:

  • Using each employee’s job description, determine how well the employee is
    This can be on an individual basis and/or on a group basis.
  • Note the area(s) that indicate a need for improvement.
  • Determine the appropriate training that will address bringing about the improvement.

We would like to expect our employees to improve in their performance every year on their own but this is not a realistic expectation.


Questions to Ponder:

  • When your employer enrolled you in professional development situations, how did that make you feel?
  • Were the experiences positive for you?
  • How can you make sure your efforts to provide professional development for your employees prove to be a positive experience?
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