The workplace is a revolving door of ideas on how to attract, retain, and engage employees to help drive the success of a business. In today’s modern workforce that’s influenced by technology (both beneficial and distracting), the idea of professional development has continued to morph into activities that take the employee out of their “work zone” and put them in situations that foster focus and creativity. In a new decade, finding innovative ways to keep employees engaged in their workflow and the success of the team has proven to be possible through valiant efforts on all parts. Through professional development and coaching services, companies are investing in their team by challenging them, nurturing them, and encouraging them to excel.

So What Is Professional Development, Anyway?
According to, professional development is the process of improving and increasing the capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organization, or through watching others perform the job. Professional development helps build and maintain the morale of employees and is thought to attract higher quality talent to an organization.

Impact On Overall Success of Business
Happy employees typically mean happy customers. It is a universal understanding that happy customers equate to more sales and increased revenue, contributing to the overall success of the business. Maintaining happiness throughout your team’s culture is about more than compensation and company benefits. Employees want to feel valued, appreciated, and equipped with the tools needed to grow.

According to Harvard Business Review, “Even though research makes it clear that employees and job candidates alike value learning and career development above most other aspects of a job, many managers don’t see it as an important part of their role. Managers think they don’t have the time to have these conversations, and many lack the skill. Yet 70 percent of employee learning and development happens on the job, not through formal training programs. So if line managers aren’t supportive and actively involved, employee growth is stunted. So is engagement and retention.”

By implementing coaching training for managers, communication lines are opened, connections are made, and skills are recognized and discussed, increasing employee satisfaction and overall retention. Professionals at SnackNation stated, “Coaching and mentoring shouldn’t stop after an employee’s initial on-boarding process. A study done by Deloitte in 2012 found that retention is 25 percent higher for employees who have engaged in company-sponsored mentorship.”

As a business management team, the benefits of having an engaged team has proven invaluable to both the business and the employees. With the obvious value of training, one would think that all companies would invest in their employees this way. The difficulty comes with choosing options that will entice their employees to participate and will have a lasting effect on their work. When it comes to exploring the latest training practices and trends, there are many options to consider.

The Future of Corporate Learning
Technology’s role in training will continue to rank as a top method in personalized and continuous professional development in 2020. According to SHRM, continuous professional learning will outpace one-off training. “Employers will put time and resources into developing different training programs or implementing upskilling initiatives in 2020 to retain employees and grow internal talent for jobs of the future,” Joe Miller of Bench Prep stated. “After passing a certification exam, an employee would still engage in occasional learning activities over an indefinite period of time within that certified subject matter to maintain mastery. The previous one-off training programs, such as a one-day workshop or a few hours of a training session, lose their effectiveness if that content is not reinforced and constant in nature.”

While technology may reign supreme, people skills are not to be overlooked. In 2020, an emphasis on behavioral skills will be a primary focus of professional development. According to IBM, behavioral skills will dominate the list of core competencies that global executives seek in employees.

Management skills are another key characteristic of a strong team. According to, actionable coaching distinguishes average managers from highly effective managers. Focusing on constructive feedback and setting actionable goals will aid in developing a more efficient workforce.

Looking for another unique idea to implement this year? Start a learning club. Increase engagement in your team by asking them to think big. Create a learning club where employees select books or videos related to your field to enjoy together. Choose a day to meet in the office and discuss the item and its implications for your work.

Professional development doesn’t always mean involving the entire team. Some employees will seek out their own ways to learn. Offer to pay for employees to attend relevant industry conferences. Investing in your team’s growth pays off as employees get to improve their skills that will ultimately help your organization grow.

Getting Your Team Involved
All these ideas and benefits won’t help anyone if you can’t get your team to get on board. To some, the idea of being taken away from their work for “team building activities” is undesirable and unnecessary. This kind of attitude can negatively impact the team’s culture. Expressing the overall goal of professional development, exploring the available options, and communicating the benefit it will have on each team member is key to getting your team involved.

Ways to Increase Engagement
• Make it fun. Think outside the box. Change up the location.
• Listen to your team. Ask them what they want. Ask them what will make them keep showing up.
• Keep communication open. Talk to your team. Explain why you chose to implement these programs and training.

When you focus your attention on employee engagement, the results are higher productivity and better retention rates, ultimately yielding business growth. Now it’s your turn to take these simple ideas and put them into practice at your office.