Data Shows Professional Development Recruits Top Tech Talent

Episode 2: Professional Development Programs Increase Efficiency and Innovation in the Workplace

Professional development is essential to increasing efficiency in the workplace. As it turns out, learning and development is one of the most highly desired aspects of a workplace. When polled, 86% of women in technology indicated that professional development was highly desired or required when considering a job. Men also indicated that professional development programs are a big component in the hiring process. One-fourth of the men polled required advanced training, and another 43% of men highly desire it.

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A Closer Look at Professional Development

The data clearly shows the value of offering these programs for hiring top talent, but which methods work best for your company? With busy companies, professional learning can be a challenge to incorporate into the workplace. McKinsey reports that 60 percent of companies say building organizational capabilities is a high priority, but only 30 percent expend adequate resources to do so. We believe employees value professional learning from a variety of different sources. Each company needs to test which methods work best for their employees. Professional development is usually offered in the workplace in three ways: formal training, on-the-job training, and independent learning.

  1. Internal and External Formal Programs

Internal formal learning helps signal to job seekers that a company is serious about the ongoing learning of employees. Formal learning can begin as early as internships and apprenticeships. Internships have an especially positive impact on younger employees. According to NACE, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college students with any form of internship experience are more likely to find employment after graduating. These students are also more likely to find full-time employment. Internships also allow employees to network, gain hands-on experience, and progress in their field. Apprenticeships are similar, though programs such as these train employees for one specific job.  Companies like LinkedIn, Airbnb, and Pinterest use apprenticeships to develop new software engineers – train for some of their tech talent needs.

While most companies cannot provide a full scale training university like Infosys, some companies opt to send employees to training programs to acquire certain skills or certifications.  This can be a great way for employees to enhance their skill set as well as increase their salary for certain career advancement opportunities.  Some external forming learning can bring in new and innovative ideas to the workplace. By sending employees to events such as conferences, seminars, or workshops, workers are enabled to diversify their work. External learning can increase the resource flexibility and competence flexibility in a professional setting, which in turn leads to radical innovation. In a world where the pace of technology development is fast and becoming increasingly global, external learning is becoming progressively more important. For ideas on learning and development options, here is a comprehensive list of companies offering L&D.

  1. On-the-Job Training

There is a lot of learning that can happen informally on-the-job.  Employees love the opportunity to continually grow and develop new skills that immediately apply to relevant projects. Typically, for programs like these, an employee gets assistance from a peer or mentor while completing their work. The level of formality varies based on the dynamic of the workplace itself. Simply as examples, The Balance suggests having employees who attended any external training in turn train employees can introduce new ideas to your company that apply to specific business problems the company is facing. More unique ideas, such as choosing a book for employees to read as part of a club, can also help employees who want to pursue further knowledge in a collaborative way.  Many companies also have “lunch and learn” monthly meetings and take turns teaching company employees about different aspects of the business.

  1. Independent Learning

Independent learning can help strengthen the skills of employees, especially in an ever-changing technology company. Employees have a wide flexibility in what and where they learn, depending on their own interests.  By attending classes, taking notes, or participating in discussions, employees can fine-tune necessary skills to take on various projects. Employees can increase self-management skills and problem-solving skills through programs such as independent learning courses. By allowing room for employees to take advantage of their own learning, they can develop invaluable skills such as motivation and independence.  Here are just a few examples of methods for encouraging employees to take control of their own learning:

  • Online websites (Youtube, W3, Lynda, Pluralsight)
  • Open source projects
  • Programmer meetups
  • Tech conferences
  • Hackathons
  • Personal networks
  • Online chat groups (IRC, Slack)

Professional development opportunities allow room to boost success, and can encourage achievement from employees of all backgrounds. By allowing employees to further their learning, your company is better equipped to adapt to an ever-changing world of technology.  U.S. companies spend $164 Billion annually on learning and development. To make sure your company is thinking strategically about the best ways to implement professional learning in your company, Harvard Business Review provides some helpful tips here.

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We want to hear your thoughts:

How has offering professional development programs contributed to more innovation in your company?

What advantages or challenges have you seen in your workplace when offering professional development programs to potential hires?

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