The Value Of Professional Development And Personal Growth

Professional development values

Today I want to focus on the values of professional development both for a company/employer and for an individual. But you can’t talk about professional development without touching topics of personal growth, so I will also address some points of that character.

Professional Development from an employers point of view

There is a lot of value from an employer’s point-of-view to invest in qualitative professional development, and I am not going into depth of any of them, but I think it is important when talking about the topic too at least show both sides. And these are value that you can gain regardless of the size of the company.
To offer quality professional development to your employees’ will;

  • boost job satisfaction and lead to higher productivity and efficiency
  • it will increase the collective knowledge among your employees’
  • it will make your company more appealing and improve employee retention
  • it can be a great recruitment tool and will attract the candidates you are looking for
  • it will make succession planning easier

Whose responsibility

As I mentioned earlier, professional development today, in a market with increasing competition, has very much become a personal responsibility, if you want to stay compatible with the market. So let’s take a look at why you should focus on your personal professional development and how personal growth plays an important role.

Professional development is just one aspect of personal growth as I mentioned in my personal growth series. And many of the aspects of personal growth that I was talking about in that series has a direct impact on your professional development like communication skills and improved leadership qualities.
Other areas are more industry-specific, for example the skills and knowledge needed within your field are very different between an engineer, a teacher, and a welder.

What do all professional development have in common

Some points of value, and areas, are common for all types of professional development, regardless of field, and those are important for you as an individual to focus on.

  • Professional development will help you stay both interested and interesting
  • it makes sure you stay relevant within your field and keep up with current standards
  • it can open doors to new opportunities

The last point, in particular, is closely connected to how well you develop skills like networking, communication, and how charismatic and reliable your appearance is.
To focus on both your personal and professional development at the same time is important and will lead to increased confidence and boost your credibility.

What skills should I focus on?

Besides the focus on industry knowledge and networking skills, there are areas that everyone who wants developed professionally should focus on.

Communication

An important skill to develop is your communication. And these are a few communication skills that can help you in your workplace success

  • Listening – active listening is much more than listen to what people are saying. To be a great listener you must also ask clarifying questions, and restate what other people are saying to ensure understanding
  • Non-verbal communication – it is important to pay attention to your own body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and amount of eye-contact. But it is also important to improve how you read other peoples non-verbal signals
  • Clarity and concision – to be able to convey your message in as few words as possible without being misinterpreted.
  • Confidence – to be able to show that you believe in what you are saying can be as simple as keeping eye contact. It is also important to make statements in such a way that they don’t sound like questions.
  • Open-mindedness – it is important to enter every conversation with an open mind. Show your willingness to communicate even with people you may not agree with, and/or topic where you have a different point-of-view
  • Respect – show respect for other people and their opinions and ideas. Use their name in conversations, make eye contact, and be an active listener.

Technology

Another area that almost any type of professional development should focus on is technology. Of course, within the span of technology, there are a lot of industry-specific skills and knowledge, but there is also a lot of more general knowledge to acquire.
Digital Fluency is one such area.

According to Spencer, Karen, et al. What Is Digital Fluency?, 21 July 2016, blog.core-ed.org/blog/2015/10/what-is-digital-fluency.html.
Broadly speaking, digital fluency is a combination of:

  • digital, or technical, proficiency: able to understand, select and use the technologies and technological systems;
  • digital literacy: cognitive or intellectual competencies, which include being able to read, create, evaluate and make judgements and apply technical skills while doing so;
  • social competence, or dispositional knowledge: the ability to relate to others and communicate with them effectively.

Other areas where technology can become important is to learn how to write a great resume or create a digital portfolio and write a job application that gets noticed.

It is also important to take a look at your digital presence in general, and social media in particular. Do you have anything published that can affect your professional life positively and/or negatively?

As always, here is the link to my video. I would appreciate if you would leave a comment either here or on my YouTube channel.