Director of Business Development & Professional Development at Kuzuko Group.
Professional development is a key ingredient for business development as the success and growth of a business rely on the success of its employees in any industry.
Each professional is unique with their own stack of skills, knowledge, behaviors and experience and has their own definitions of success and happiness. So sometimes, a sizeable pay packet alone won’t cut it. Offering professional development opportunities as part of the package can draw in and retain top talent who then go on to generate a sales pipeline and become instrumental in developing the business.
Professional development is often termed as continuous professional development, or CPD, as it’s very much a continuous process. It aims to give professionals the skills, knowledge and behaviors that they need to thrive in their careers and ensure it aligns with their values. As technologies are advancing and digital change is accelerating, supporting the development of important skills, knowledge and behaviors is key to ensure the business is ahead of the competition and supported by confident and competent professionals.
CPD comes in many formats such as training courses, webinars, conferences, coaching, mentoring, external certifications and degrees.
While some businesses talk about actively engaging in professional development, many are led by busy professionals who often underestimate the importance of CPD; their focus is often on other operational priorities and billable activities. Some of the businesses that do encourage and offer professional development adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, offering training courses as opposed to more meaningful and tailored professional development or independent coaching and advisory.
It is also worth noting that in many cases across the world, coaching is reserved for senior professionals, which means the younger talent coming through has to wait for a number of years before getting access to valuable coaching support. This delays the process of fulfilling their potential and maximizing their contributions to the business.
Developing professionals is a key ingredient to the development and success of a business. Here are just some of the reasons why you should be making CPD a priority:
Benefits Of CPD For Professionals
• Fills skills and knowledge gaps to adapt positively to changes in work/industry requirements.
• Helps the professional stay up-to-date with technological advancement.
• Helps improve motivation, which can improve the dynamics of the business as a result.
• Builds confidence and credibility to stand out from the crowd.
• Helps overcome self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.
• Supports the professional in achieving their career goals and career satisfaction.
• Helps the professional to regularly focus on how they can become a more competent and effective professional, which can be useful for performance reviews, appraisals and general recognition.
• Helps build personal brands and develop thought leadership in the topic of interest.
Benefits Of CPD For Businesses
• Enhances credibility and therefore customer confidence and loyalty.
• Increases employee competency, resulting in smarter processes and greater efficiency in the workplace. Thus, saving time and ultimately money.
• Promotes a healthy learning culture, leading to a more fulfilled workforce, and provides a means to retain staff.
• Allows for networking with peers and prospective customers to increase business visibility and brand awareness.
• Boosts morale and motivation in the workplace, which can improve the dynamics of your business as a result.
• Facilitates succession planning and preparedness in case someone leaves or retires. This may be a more cost-effective alternative to recruiting from outside of the business.
• Demonstrates a willingness to invest in employees and attracts top talent.
Let me share a recent example to paint a better picture of why professional development is important. A U.K. business was bidding for a multi-million-pound international contract. One of the requirements for the contract was that the consultants working on the contract should be able to demonstrate their competence through Chartership. In this instance, the business was able to bid for this contract and was successful because they had invested in their employees and supported them with coaching to become Chartered Engineers. Their competitors lost out because professional development was not a priority to them.
You might find some professionals are reluctant to engage in CPD and not keen to step outside of their comfort zone. But by focusing on the benefits and rewards for all, it is likely that more professionals will be on board with CPD initiatives and will help retain your competitive edge in rapidly advancing industries.
To bring this to a close, while it may take time away from other priorities and operational activities, strategically and intentionally developing your employees could mean that they can attract new business in the long term. This, in turn, would mean that business development activities are distributed more widely among your team, freeing up your time for other priorities.