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Employee Engagement Performance Reviews

What Makes an Effective Professional Development Program?

September 7, 2021
5 min read
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Performance Management, Supercharged


Professional development programs are not a new concept. But in today’s competitive job market, it’s more important than ever to execute those programs effectively. Employees are making professional development a priority: 61% of job seekers say it’s a top consideration when looking for a new job.

Career development is also one of the top three reasons employees choose to leave their jobs. Offering those opportunities can encourage them to stay. Your organization can attract applicants, engage and retain current employees, and grow employees’ knowledge and skills with strong professional development plans.

When done effectively, professional development programs can have a substantial impact on many important parts of your talent management strategy:

  • Employee retention rates are 34% higher among jobs that offer professional development opportunities.
  • Employees are 15% more engaged when they can access career development opportunities.
  • 76% of millennials say professional development is a crucial part of company culture.
  • Across mentally healthy organizations, 69% of employees were offered professional development opportunities.

Offering a professional development program is an asset to both your employees and your business. Whether you’re refining an existing professional development program or starting from scratch, these are a few factors to make your efforts more effective (no budget required).

Give more frequent feedback to help employees improve performance in real time. Find out other important factors of an effective #ProfessionalDevelopment strategy from @ClearCompany:

Give Frequent, Real-time Feedback

The best feedback is timely, specific, and actionable. Research shows that 96% of employees would like to receive feedback much more frequently than managers offer it. More frequent feedback has positive effects on employee engagement, performance, and retention.

Treating frequent feedback as a means to improve performance and empower employees makes for a healthier workplace culture and more productive, efficient, and happier employees. Real-time, constructive feedback gives employees a chance to apply that feedback right away and improve constantly.

Did you know? 89% of HR leaders say that constant employee feedback and training are essential.

Conduct Formal Performance Reviews

Giving frequent, informal feedback doesn’t mean that formal performance reviews go out the window. It’s still important to spend time discussing employees’ performance intentionally on a regular basis. Performance reviews are an opportunity to give promotions and raises, recognize growth, and set new career goals for employees.

Managers and employees can also use performance reviews to address skills gaps or standout strengths. This helps employees’ career development by giving them the chance to close the gaps and build on their strengths.

55% of employees say annual reviews do not improve their performance. A successful professional development plan might include mid-year reviews instead. In addition to giving more frequent feedback, checking in purposefully with formal reviews takes some of the pressure off of employees and managers.

Did you know? Since 2018, the number of employees who would prefer formal feedback on a monthly basis rose 89%.

Offer Mentorship Or Coaching

There’s a clear case for mentoring in your professional development plan: research shows that 91% of employees with mentors are satisfied with their jobs. Employees prefer mentoring and on-the-job training over other professional growth tools like conferences, workshops, or events. Mentorship or coaching also gives seasoned employees a chance to share their skills and expertise.

Mentorship is part of a strong professional development plan. It establishes connections between coworkers and promotes an inviting, empowered workplace culture. Mentors who are in leadership foster new leaders and make succession planning easier. This creates a highly qualified talent pipeline within your organization.

Did you know? Retention rates for mentees are as high as 72%!

Mentorship boosts retention and helps your employees grow confidently. Learn more about how to create an effective #ProfessionalDevelopment strategy from @ClearCompany:

Recognize And Celebrate Employees

Recognizing contributions and celebrating accomplishments helps employees feel confident in their skills and motivated to keep growing. It also increases their company loyalty and engagement, which are critical to professional development success. Recognitions can be included in performance reviews to boost morale and help make the case for promotions.

The benefits of professional development programs are clear, but it’s up to you to ensure your plan produces results. Help employees achieve their goals with career growth opportunities as part of your performance management strategy. Your efforts strengthen your workforce and increase retention.

ClearCompany’s Performance Management platform enables HR teams to create and manage performance reviews and send them automatically on a set schedule. Performance Management helps managers and HR teams spot high performers and those who need extra coaching or training. See for yourself how ClearCompany can help you establish a strong professional development program at your organization. Sign up for a free demo from a ClearCompany expert today.

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