Many employers see the benefits of offering their employees opportunities to expand their skills while on the job through professional development and personal growth opportunities. Not only can employees learn new skills, but they can also develop relationships across departments and positively impact their own career paths.
Aspects of Professional Development
More and more companies and colleges are offering their employees ways of advancing their careers. According to a Feb. 27, 2008, article published by MIT News, “Professional development is critical if employees are to keep growing in their work lives. It is something that a great workplace values and certainly benefits from as these individuals return to the workplace with new experiences and insights." Professional development can include anything from free computer classes to college tuition reimbursement for college faculty and staff.
The Rewards of Professional Development in the Workplace
Depending on the professional development options available to employees, the rewards can be immediate or delayed. For example, one immediate reward of participating in a series of company-sponsored management classes may be a raise in salary or a promotion. However, if a college offers computer certification training, an employee may take the courses with an eye on future career benefits.
Finding Opportunities for Personal Growth and Development in the Workplace
Typically it is the responsibility of the employee to locate these opportunities. Information can often be found through the Human Resources office or a similar department. Supervisors are usually aware of what professional development opportunities exist and are often happy to support employees who show an interest in advancing their own skill sets.
Finding the Work/Life Balance
If finding a work/life balance is proving difficult, you should consider discussing the matter with a supervisor. It’s important to find out what your workday options are, since many companies are open to telecommuting and working with employees to achieve a work/life balance. According to the May Clinic, “Find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility may alleviate some of your stress and free up some time."
The goal of professional development often goes hand in hand with personal growth. Professional development exists to educate the individual. The skills you require often lead to future opportunities, which are often better matches for your interests and career goals. Employers are interested in providing employees with what they need for themselves, and increasingly, their families.
The Payoff: A Rewarding Career
Striking this balance can lead to lower stress levels and improve your outlook. According to the May Clinic, “For most people, juggling the demands of career and personal life is an ongoing challenge. With so many demands on your time--from overtime to family obligations--it can feel difficult to strike this balance. The goal is to make time for the activities that are the most important to you.”