Aiding employees in their continual professional development (CPD) is not always a primary concern to senior management when battling with other, more pressing, complex and critical issues.
However, collaborating with your workforce to address individual CPD goals and objectives can reap significant rewards for your organization:
- Enhances directly related skills, expertise, knowledge and abilities to employee’s job roles.
- Positively impacts motivation, establishing goals of a more desirable (and thus achievable) nature.
- Creates an environment in which objectives are viewed as realistically attainable, fostering a culture of positivity, energy and optimism.
- Enables your company to attract greater talent.
(Adapted from source: CIPD)
So, how you can create a tailored CPD program for each employee that both benefits the organization as a whole and aids employees in their career progress?
Incorporate a CPD assessment into your recruitment process
As soon as the requirement for a new role (or the fulfilling of an existing role) arises and you start planning the recruitment process, you need to consider the CPD criteria which your organization can afford to support in relation to that specific role.
This should be benchmarked across other areas and roles throughout the business, and possess a degree of flexibility too.
Example: You’re recruiting a Junior IT Consultant; what CPD goals might an individual applying for this role possess? Each individual is different, but it could be likely that applicants for this role will have aims to one day become an IT Manager, and will certainly be interested in keeping up with the latest developments in IT. As such, you should allocate the necessary training budget and potential career path, should these be the CPD goals of the candidates for the role.
Understand people’s goals from their initial application
Having that initial framework in place gives you a massive head-start. That’s not to say you can simply ignore the actual CPD objectives of your new hires. From the initial application process right through to the job offer, you need to take an interest, make records and assess each potential candidates CPD goals as yet another factor in your decision making process on who to hire.
Candidates must not be discriminated on their CPD goals, but it is worthwhile considering how realistic the achievement of any particular candidates CPD goals are in relation to your organization’s capabilities – i.e. resources, forecasted progression and so on.
In undertaking this crucial activity, you will enjoy greater success in avoiding hiring employees with desired CPD goals that you are less able to support. This way, the expectations of the organization and the individual employee will be greater aligned, which will increase the likelihood of a lasting and successful professional relationship.
Work together on implementing a development plan from Day 1
Your insights into the CPD objectives of new hires has to extend beyond the initial recruitment however.
You don’t need to make this entire documentation known– as long as the new member of staff is informed in the medium term on your initial expectations, then there can be no surprises.
Planning an employee’s career in the long term can be quite overwhelming though; don’t startle an individual by delving into such detail, unless absolutely necessary.
Once new employees are armed with a greater awareness of your confidence in them and what, specifically, you believe they can achieve in their time in their new role, you’ll be able to start the next conversation, and start them training on your LMS.
That conversation is a transparent one – of how you can help each other achieve goals for the organization, and for your staff as individuals with their own lives and careers.
Tie personal objectives to professional goals
Remember that this isn’t your career, your life – you’re just an advisor and moderator, ensuring that each of your employees has a suitable CPD path for their role, personality, and life & career goals.
Expressing your expectations is fine – it’s best to be upfront and honest about such matters.
However, the focus in defining CPD paths for your employees, must be entirely on each unique individual:
- What do they want to achieve?
- What are their goals in both their personal and professional lives?
Of course, they need to be realistic, but as long as they’re appropriate and achievable, you should encourage each individual’s CPD objectives.
To make sure your organization benefits from their progression, it’s important to align personal objectives with tangible goals for their specific role in your company.
Explain that you, as an employer, are delighted to support your staff, but require reciprocation to make this financially viable for the business.
Adapt your appraisal process to include CPD discussions
The advice I’ve given you provides you with a helpful starting point. With these pointers, you’ll be able to focus on integrating CPD with other learning and performance based objectives, right from the onset.
It’s vital however that you ensure this process is reviewed periodically; an individuals’ personal and professional goals can change as they progress through life and their perspective, needs and motivations shift.
To keep this simple, it’s worthwhile to simply adapt your existing appraisal/performance review process – whether this is bi-annual, annual or however frequent – and monitor your employees desired CPD.
This opportunity to discuss such an important area in your employees lives and careers is of immense value to your culture and talent retention- publicise it to cement your position as an employer that cares.
So can I really manage my employee’s CPD?
Well, yes and no.
We’re all humans – totally unpredictable at times, despite our best intentions.
However, these basic first steps are really so important – they’re not ground-breaking, but you should be doing them; there are plenty of organizations that aren’t. A lot of it comes down to holding open talks with employees and providing them with opportunities and encouragement to discuss their aims beyond their current position and how this can work for the company.
If you’re able to create a culture that’s accepting of this, then you’re already on your way to a workplace full of satisfied employees that are willing to learn and thrive!
Author bio: Jordan Bradley works for High Speed Training (HST), a fully accredited specialist eLearning course provider based in the UK. He enjoys his responsibility of managing HST’s Hub - a blog which posts weekly insightful articles on a range of topics related to their array of online courses. Jordan spends the rest of his time running around the countryside, travelling on weekends to visit friends he wished lived closer, and fighting hard in the battle against laziness, amongst other things.