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What professional development opportunities do your employees want?

Providing training that aligns with your employee’s career aspirations and your business goals can significantly impact your organization's growth and satisfaction.

A woman is sitting at a desk in front of a computer. She's holding a stylus in her hand and a tablet as well.A woman is sitting at a desk in front of a computer. She's holding a stylus in her hand and a tablet as well.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

What professional development opportunities do your employees want?

Providing training that aligns with your employee’s career aspirations and your business goals can significantly impact your organization's growth and satisfaction. 

Learn what types of training your employees need

How do you know what professional development your employees are interested in pursuing?

This blog post explores practical strategies to identify professional development interests and how tools like one-on-one meetings, surveys and learning platforms like Electives Membership can facilitate this process.

The power of one-on-one meetings

One of the most direct and effective ways to understand your employees' professional development interests is through one-on-one meetings.

One-on-one meetings offer a private and focused setting where employees can openly discuss their career aspirations, skills they wish to develop and areas they're passionate about exploring further.

Benefits of one-on-one meetings include:

  • Building trust: Regular, personal check-ins foster a trusting relationship between leaders and their team members, making it easier for employees to express their interests and career goals.
  • Tailored development plans: With insights directly from the employee, you can tailor development plans that align with organizational objectives and individual career paths, increasing engagement and satisfaction.
  • Identifying gaps + opportunities: One-on-one meetings can help uncover skill gaps within your team and identify opportunities for professional growth that may have been obscure from a broader perspective.

Consider using structured one-on-one meeting agenda templates to ensure you cover essential topics, including professional development interests, making the conversation productive and focused.

Download our one-on-one meeting agenda templates

Surveys: A direct line to employee interests

Surveys are a straightforward and effective way to gauge employee interest in professional development.

Surveys can be designed to collect detailed information about the types of classes, workshops or training sessions employees are most interested in pursuing. Surveys also provide valuable insights into the preferred learning formats, including team-based learning, learning with peers from other companies or certificate programs.

Key advantages of using surveys include:

  • Anonymity + honesty: Employees may feel more comfortable providing honest feedback anonymously, leading to more accurate and valuable data.
  • Scalability: Surveys can easily be distributed to many employees, making them efficient for gathering information across all levels and departments.
  • Data-driven decisions: The quantitative and qualitative data collected from surveys can inform your decisions about which professional development programs to invest in, ensuring they meet your workforce's actual needs and interests.

Keep surveys concise, relevant and user-friendly to ensure high response rates and valuable feedback. Offering incentives for completion can also boost participation and show your appreciation for employees’ time and input.

Leveraging learning platforms like Electives Membership

Another practical approach to identifying and catering to your employees' development interests is using learning platforms that offer choices to employees. Electives Membership, for example, allows employees to choose from a new selection of classes each month, giving them the power to direct their learning based on their interests and career goals.

Benefits of using Electives Membership include:

  • Empowering employees: When employees can choose their learning paths, they're more engaged and motivated to complete classes and apply what they've learned.
  • Diverse learning opportunities: A broad selection of classes means employees can explore various subjects, allowing for a well-rounded professional development experience.
  • Flexibility: Employees can choose classes that fit their schedules, making balancing professional development with their daily responsibilities easier.
  • Valuable insights: Enrollment data can be used to understand what other employees might be interested in learning and which classes could be good to bring to the broader team.

Pre-approving Electives Membership for use with learning stipends can further enhance the value of your professional development programs.

The 5 tips you need to maximize employee engagement with learning stipends

Implement best practices for professional development

Creating a culture that values continuous learning and development requires more than just offering professional development opportunities. You must implement best practices, encourage participation and ensure that professional development efforts are effective and aligned with company goals.

Consider these best practices for professional development:

  • Set clear objectives: Define what you aim to achieve with your professional development programs, such as closing skill gaps, preparing for future trends or enhancing leadership abilities within your team.
  • Encourage self-directed learning: Empower employees to take charge of their learning journeys by providing resources and support for self-directed learning. This approach fosters a sense of ownership and relevance to their personal and professional goals.
  • Offer varied learning opportunities: Recognize people's different learning styles and preferences. Offer a mix of learning formats and topics to cater to diverse needs and interests.
  • Integrate development with career progression: Link professional development opportunities with career advancement paths within the organization. This alignment helps employees see the value of participating and how it can contribute to their career growth.
  • Measure + adapt: Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your professional development programs through feedback surveys, assessments and performance metrics. Use this data to adjust and improve your offerings continuously.

Implementing these best practices for professional development can lead to more engaged employees, better performance and stronger alignment between individual growth and organizational success.

What types of training do your employees need?

Identifying what professional development opportunities your employees are interested in doesn’t have to be a guessing game. 

By leveraging the power of one-on-one meetings and surveys while implementing best practices and integrating flexible learning platforms like Electives Membership, you can create a continuous learning and development culture that benefits your employees and your organization. 

As you embark on this journey, remember that the goal is to support your employees' growth in a way that aligns with your business objectives, creating a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

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