Advisory Board Company | Professional Development
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Professional Development

Professional Development


canstockphoto9867130Personal development is a process that lasts for the entirety of an individual’s life. A person’s physical, moral, social, and professional life is always in development and always changing in one way or another. The field of professional development is meant to head off this inevitable force of change and focus on improving skills, setting life goals, and maximizing an individual’s potential.


There are a lot of ways that professional development can work, but it’s often undertaken as a part of a job, or because of personal reasons. This article focuses on the benefit that having employees undergo professional development training can have and offers some background on the practices and benefits of going through individual development in some capacity.


What is Individual/Professional Development?


There are a lot of separate theories and practices of individual development, but they all share the basic idea that, although early life development such as family and home life and schooling shape us as adults, that personal development doesn’t stop there. There is always more to learn and there are always more ways in which to grow. Professional development says that a person’s development shouldn’t stop simply because that person has entered adulthood. Once the body is full grown, does not mean the other aspects of a human are as well.


Professional Development Components


As stated before, there are a lot of ways that individual development can be done, including classes, specialized training, life coaching, and many other techniques. However, a lot of these plans share certain attributes that are important to developing a plan for an individual. They include the following.


Employee Profile


The first is to create a profile for that person, including basic information like their name, age, position, background, education, strengths, opportunities etc.


Identify Goals


Next, write down goals, including the ones set by that person and by the organization they are a part of.


Outline Development Objectives


After that, outline specific development objectives to direct the course of the personal development plan. These should have attainable and measurable milestones.




Finally, you can move on to assessing the opportunities available to that person in order to meet their goal plan. Should they seek further education? Take a sabbatical? Apply for training in a specialized or management position? The opportunities are nearly limitless.





It is most important that the individuals are as committed to their own development as the company is, and hopefully more so. For this reason, it is important that all plans are signed by both parties as a commitment to the plan.


Benefits of Professional Development


Professional development is really important because it works individually with employees. Sometimes, it’s hard to reach people for a personal kind of training, especially if you work in a larger corporate environment, but it’s important to give everyone the opportunity to reach their fullest potential.


Not only will this create more efficient and skilled work force, it shows employees that their company is invested in their performance and development. This gives them more purpose to be a part of the company today and in the future. Additionally, professional development can help to align employees with specific company goals and can give employers a much better understanding of their human resource assets.


This will help a company to earn the loyalty of their employees, which results in lower employee turnover, more engagement and thus enhanced creativity, innovation and profitability.