Continuous Professional Development is a structured approach to training and development. CPD or Continuous Professional Development goes far beyond onboarding new staff. It involves keeping skills and knowledge up to date. The continuing education can be specific to the industry, the person’s professional and technical discipline, or involve softer skills like communication. Let’s learn more about CPD and examine the benefits of Continuous Professional Development.
An overview of CPD
CPD involves a skills audit, reviewing what someone knows versus what they need to know. It allows them to track and document skill sets so they can identify skills gaps. They then determine how to gain that knowledge, whether it is through classes, on-the-job training or self-study. CPD is a documented process but self-driven in most cases. It shifts responsibility for personal development to the individual, while it gives them the freedom to determine what they would like to improve. This can improve morale and productivity.
Professional development can take many forms. Attending professional conferences, reading books on a subject, having time to read industry journals, and taking continuing education courses are all assessed as part of your Continuing Professional Development.
You’re ensuring your staff comply with the law
Continuous professional development is critical in highly-regulated industries like accounting, healthcare, and law. Lawyers must remain up to date on the law to be able to serve their clients effectively. Changes in healthcare regulations, practices, and technology mean nurses and doctors have to continually study these matters to know how to do their jobs. Accounting is another area where legal changes impact one’s job, though software and IT increasingly play a role.
An estimated five million professionals or nearly one in eight workers are required to take CPD training every year. If your company has a CPD program to ensure that your employees complete their required training every year, you don’t have to worry about side-lining personnel after an audit until they complete mandated courses. When the company organizes and provides CPD, you also minimise disruptions as people try to organise days off from work to attend required courses.
When it comes to Human Resources and financial training, CPD is an investment in ensuring compliance. If someone knows that a question is illegal to ask in a job interview, they won’t ask it, and you can’t be sued for having asked it. If someone understands financial transaction processing rules and the legal regulations behind them, they won’t try to take a shortcut that ends up creating problems for you in an audit or risk legal complications.
Workplace communication improves
Continuous Professional Development can dramatically improve productivity in the workplace. Improving skills like active listening and public speaking makes it possible for employees to better communicate their ideas with each other or the public.
Nearly nine in ten executives surveyed said that there is more than one critical language in their workplace. The same survey found that two-thirds of these same business leaders said that employees need to improve language skills.
It helps businesses meet industry standards
Industry standards may mandate a form of Continuous Professional Development in the workplace. For example, your company should implement a CPD program to ensure that everyone is fully educated on ISO standards related to their job, and the business as a whole. If your CPD program includes training on ISO audits and ISO management systems, you’re ensuring that your staff knows how to meet and maintain ISO standards.
It is an investment in your business – and your employees
Investing in training your employees is a form of investment in the company. CPD enhances employee competency, contributing to greater customer confidence when they deal with more qualified employees. When someone is competent in their expected function, they’re more confident, and this rubs off on customers as well as co-workers.
When you invest in education for your employees, they become more loyal to the organization because they see it as the company caring about them. CPD allows employees to achieve their career goals as they identify and fill skills gaps, so they can be considered for promotion. Every time someone enhances their skills and gets promoted, more of your staff see themselves as having a future with the company.
This enhances morale and motivates employees to improve themselves. Self-improvement and education become a self-reinforcing aspect of company culture.
Your company probably saves money, too. Whether they’re enhancing IT, finance, Human Resources, business or personal development skills, you’re training someone for a higher role in the organization who is already familiar with the company, its product, and its processes. It is probably cheaper to invest in classes for an existing employee who is able to move up in the company than hire someone new from the outside and then train them in how your business works.
Training your IT staff on the best in class IT security practices reduces the odds of a costly hack and the need to bring in more expensive outside consultants to audit the security of your network. Working on enhancing the skills of your sales staff will always improve the company’s bottom line.
Training for other employees can help the business’ long-term goals indirectly, such as when your customer service staff receives better training in customer service communications or handling irate customers. Your customers will experience better service. This tends to make them more loyal to the company and more likely to buy from you in the future.
Customer service training maximizes customer retention rates and reduces the need to spend money to find new customers. Providing specific training in telesales and sales management improves customer acquisition rates in general. You can find a number of quality continuous professional development courses on sites like Find Courses which help make your investment worthwhile.
It impacts productivity in the workplace
You could invest in new software and equipment, but your productivity will take a hit unless your CPD program actively addresses training for your employees. And sometimes the issue isn’t due to the purchase of new equipment. For example, you may have staff that are less productive than they could be because they aren’t computer-literate. They would benefit immensely from a few days spent learning how to use word processing software, spreadsheets, and databases. If technicians and engineers are sent to professionally produced CAD training classes, they’ll learn what they need to know far faster than if they spend time reading books and experimenting on their workstations, and they won’t make mistakes while working.
And when someone runs through a full skills assessment, they can tell you which courses they need to become productive instead of management sending them on courses that they don’t need. You don’t pay for classes that are redundant, and they don’t take time away from work sitting in such classes.
CPD programs that automatically track courses completed by employees simplify audits, and these same records can streamline employee performance reviews by giving everyone involved a record of what someone has done in the preceding months.
Continuous Professional Development is an investment in the company, its personnel, and its bottom line. The question isn’t why you should start a CPD program, but when and how you’ll implement it.