Skip to main content
Intro to AI Webinar

Is it important for you to prioritize professional development? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, 87% of Millennials say professional development is important to them, and 69% of employees say training and development are two of a company’s most important policies.

If your goal is to identify surefire ways to enhance your organization’s skillset, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to uncover effective professional development resources designed to elevate your leadership skills and unlock the full potential of your employees.

Related: What is Purpose-Driven Leadership? Learn More >

1. Encourage Personal Growth through Flexible Professional Development Opportunities

Although many organizations invest in professional development programs for employees, research shows just 10% of spending on leadership programs delivers concrete results. In the dynamic landscape of professional development, the key to unlocking true leadership potential lies not only in honing tactical skills but also in nurturing personal growth.

Your business can prioritize both with these strategies:

  • Provide opportunities for self-reflection that give employees a renewed sense of purpose at work and in their personal lives.
  • Choose quality over quantity with short and intensive “microlearning” sessions, which can improve long-term retention by 80% and increase focus.
  • Offer development flexibility so employees can choose programs that fit their personal learning goals, specialties, preferred learning methods, and interests.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that focusing on personal growth cultivates strong leadership skills. Employees who mature as individuals are better equipped to build relationships and navigate workplace challenges. Skill development is still important, but these opportunities must also address mental, emotional, and social abilities.

Related: 6 Reasons Professional Development is Important for Your and Your Organization Learn More >

2. Collect Actionable Feedback from Internal Professional Development Opportunities

Providing professional development opportunities can be key for your organization—if they’re executed correctly. This is where feedback becomes crucial.

Collecting feedback from your employees can help steer the direction of your professional development program and shape it into one that best fosters success.

Feedback should ideally come through anonymous questionnaires and direct interviews to get a detailed description of your employees’ thoughts. Simple yes or no questions aren’t enough. Here are some sample questions that will receive informative answers:

  • What qualities are you hoping to develop during this program?
  • What do you believe are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Which parts of the program did you find the most or least engaging, and why?
  • How will you apply these new skills in the workplace?
  • Do you need extra support to disconnect from your other responsibilities and focus on the development program?

On the flip side, businesses must be willing to provide constructive criticism throughout the learning process, as well. This feedback must be specific and focus on a pattern of behavior or struggle of an employee. Don’t make any broad claims about their character or work ethic: Simply push them in the right direction to help them overcome the obstacle. Accepting and learning from mistakes is an essential part of leadership development.

3. Utilize External Online Resources for Professional Development

A majority of employees now work from home in some capacity, as approximately 60% of businesses have adopted a hybrid work model. No matter your organization type, there’s no doubt that online professional development opportunities can benefit you and your employees. These resources are generally low cost and highly efficient for reaching larger audiences.

Some commonly used online learning outlets include:

  • Live virtual training, webinars, and video conferencing
  • Pre-recorded lectures and tutorials, such as from a local university or related organization
  • Adaptive e-learning courses, such as Sidecar’s AI Learning Hub
  • Certifications, such as the Google Analytics 4 Certification
  • Cohort-based courses for group learning
  • Interactive learning simulations
  • Automated newsletters
  • Online games, puzzles, and quizzes
  • Virtual and augmented reality

Providing a variety of online resources is crucial for purpose-driven leadership development in the work-from-home age. Remote and hybrid employees tend to feel a lack of a common mission when they’re disconnected from their coworkers. Keeping them engaged and educated can help reinstill their sense of purpose, drive, and excitement.

Untitled (600 x 400 px) (2)

Elevate Your Professional Development at digitalNow 2024

If you’re not keeping up with the latest in the association world, you’ll inevitably be left behind. Keep your organization ahead of the game by registering for digitalNow 2024, taking place Oct. 27-30 in Washington, D.C. During the event, you’ll take advantage of valuable networking and professional development opportunities, hands-on workshops, and engaging keynotes covering game-changing topics like AI and member retention. Register today!

digitalNow 2024

Want to get more leadership development tips? Sign up for Sidecar’s Newsletter here for a daily word of advice.

Post by Beth Rush
January 3, 2024