Improving the performance of individuals and groups is essential for a successful company. Development encompasses three main activities: training, education, and development.

  • Training - this activity is both focused upon, and evaluated against, the job that an individual currently holds.
  • Education - focuses upon the jobs that an individual may potentially hold in the future, and is evaluated against those jobs.
  • Development - focuses upon the activities that the organisation employing the individual, or that the individual is part of, may partake in the future, and is almost impossible to evaluate.

Membership of a professional body can help an employee develop and sustain their knowledge and skills. Encouraging membership of the relevant professional body helps companies attract and retain valuable people. It is rewarding for employees to expand their knowledge base and take on new challenges, as it makes coming to work about more than just a pay cheque. Check out our Career Sectors for information about development opportunities offer by professional bodies. The improving prospects section on our Change Your Profession page offers information about continuing professional development (CPD). 

Other ways to encourage and maintain a work environment that fosters learning and a desire to constantly improve include:

  • Mentoring programmes. Pairing newer, less experienced employees with more experienced employees is a great way for people to learn from one another. Mentors can serve as a sounding board for younger employees, and can provide job coaching, advice on career development, and introductions to other professionals in the industry.
  • Employee-training programmes. Investing in your employees' continuing education demonstrates that the company values its people and wants them to grow
  • Reimburse tuition costs. Helping employees finance their education is a tangible way to demonstrate a company's commitment to fostering a workforce full of skilled and talented people. This form of employee development also benefits the company as a whole -- better educated employees increase your firm's chances for success in a competitive marketplace. Adding tuition reimbursement to your benefits package also makes your company a much more desirable place to work, and can help you attract top talent.
  • Hire and promote from within. Employees appreciate job security, but in order to grow professionally, people want and need new responsibilities. Giving your employees opportunities to grow within the company lets them know that you value their past contributions and have faith in their abilities to take on greater challenges.
  • Reward star performers. Don't make the mistake of neglecting employees who do great work and don't need much managing.
  • Foster creative learning processes. Often, employees want to make suggestions about the way things are done but don't have a way to voice their ideas. Develop a method that makes it easier for employees to share their creative ideas or suggestions with top management.