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Professional Development: Essential for Employee Retention

Keeping employees engaged and motivated is a constant challenge. There are many reasons employees quit. Too often, we have no control over those reasons. However, one proven method of bolstering employee retention is professional development. 

In fact, the 2019 Compensation Best Practices Report reveals that professional development for employees is the top choice for investment for HR professionals. Furthermore, there is evidence that the workplace support this. Employers cite professional development as the second most popular strategy for improving employee retention (second only to merit-based pay).


Top Three Employee Professional Development Programs

The most popular programs include: management/leadership training, professional certifications and technical skills.

  1. Management/Leadership Training
    This is the most frequently selected type of professional development chosen. An impressive 32 percent of employees name management/leadership training as one of their top choices. This is true across nearly all demographic groups (except Baby Boomers).
  2. Professional Certifications
    Professional certifications are a popular choice for workers in a number of industries. The top industries that choose this option include: health care, real estate & rental/leasing, finance & insurance and education.
  3. Technical Skills
    Technical skills training is especially hot among industries and occupations that are either technical in nature, or are heading in that direction. Top occupations that choose this option include information technology, art & design and installation, maintenance & repair.

Fair Compensation Is Paramount 

Regardless of what type of professional development program you go with, it’s essential to ensure that your organization’s compensation plan is designed so that your employees feel their basic needs are being met first.

Is your base comp plan equitable and competitive? Perception of fairness matters, and it is critical to achieve employee engagement. In other words, if your employees don’t think they are being paid fairly, pushing them into training will likely do more harm than good. 

Only after you get compensation right should you introduce effective professional development plans. Also, make sure you can present well defined goals and benefits when pitching your program to senior leadership. This will help ensure alignment with leadership, enabling you to create value for the entire organization. 

Read More AbouT Professional Development

For more information about other popular employee development programs and the reasons why employees are motivated to pursue the programs, check out the full PayScale study:
Professional Development: What Employees Want

Or, to learn how to create a professional development program in your workplace, read Why Employee Development Programs Matters (And How to Implement One).

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