In some sectors in the UK, such as the teaching and medical professions, CPD is closely linked to appraisal and progression through pay spines, with professional development goals specifically targeting criteria for achieving pay grades. As such, CPD has a significant role to play in professional development and career opportunities.
The process of professional development is usually managed by both employer and employee in a process known as performance management (also called ‘appraisal’) meetings.
Usually held once or twice a year (or more frequently depending on the sector or company), performance management meetings offer the opportunity for both parties to explore progression routes available to the employee, recognise and reward areas of over-performance, or address any areas of underperformance which require targeted support or additional training to allow the employee to make progress and overcome difficulties.
For employers, employees’ professional development offers the chance to establish processes, routines and opportunities to support employee performance and, in the process, directly benefit areas important to the company, such as productivity and reputation.
Additionally, professional development is an opportunity for employers to make the most of employee skills and help them to develop these further, in a way which benefits both employer and employee performance. Even if this involves paying for additional training for employees, it generally works out as much more cost-effective to retain and train a loyal, effective and willing employee than to have to recruit and train a new employee.
By paying close attention to professional development opportunities for their employees, employers can hope to retain employee loyalty through employee satisfaction and in demonstrating a climate of support and encouragement for employees. Well planned and regularly run processes of professional development additionally benefit the employer by:
Although many employees can be defensive or dismissive about professional development, seeing it as a waste of time or a fault-finding opportunity for their managers, a thorough and effectively managed schedule of performance management really can help professional development. Just having the opportunity to sit with management and discuss how you feel about all aspects of your role (as a job; as part of the team; as part of a department; as part of the company as a whole) can offer significant advantages, including offering an appropriate forum for discussing:
These last two examples are really where performance management benefits professional development and allows employees a voice in further training needs, such as suggesting courses you would like to go on, or sharing your ideas for specific areas of progress and promotion, so it’s always worth being proactive in your own professional development.
Effective in-house processes for performance management can develop excellent outcomes for both employers and employees, particularly where training needs are recognised and addressed.
An example of how this can develop can be seen through a situation where a company relies on staff good-will in organising and running marketing events. When a staff member shows particular aptitude and ambition in this area and expresses this interest, as part of their performance management, the company might offer the interested employee the chance to take up event management training, with line-manager mentoring. In this way, both employee and employer develop:
Finally, an effective and collaborative process for professional development helps to develop a better qualified work team, with enhanced skills which benefit everyone involved.