How to Inspire Professional Development in the Workplace 

Open communication is the key to inspirational leadership
BizAge Interview Team
Happy workplace

If you want your employees to continue working for you, allow them to develop. Aside from salary perks, professional development opportunities are some of the best benefits you can provide your employees. Inspiring them to grow their professional skills will not only help them in their career, but it can also benefit the company numerously. So, here's how to inspire professional development in the workplace.

1. Have 1 to 1s to Discuss Professional Development Plans

1-on-1 discussions are an essential component of a successful mentoring program. They provide the perfect opportunity to discuss professional development plans, career aspirations, professional growth opportunities, and more. It's also a fantastic avenue for managers to get to know their subordinates.  And although 1-on-1 discussions can help you build better relationships and make employees feel valued, they can also leave them feeling unappreciated when rushed or not taken seriously. Therefore, when doing a 1-on-1 discussion, allow enough time for employees to open up. More importantly, take note of all the things you have discussed, especially those related to professional development. While others see 1-on-1 discussion as time-consuming, it can benefit the manager and the employee. For one, it is the perfect opportunity for managers to hone their coaching skills. During the discussion, managers can listen and provide feedback and guidance. On the other hand, a 1-on-1 discussion can help improve the employee's performance and productivity. Employees who receive regular 1-on-1s are likely more motivated and engaged. Both are the keys to professional development.

2. Create Open Communication 

Open communication in the workplace is the best way to improve collaboration among the team. For managers, communicating openly with team members and other people involved in the project can result in better efficiency and improved productivity. The business cannot run efficiently if team members don't communicate openly. Open communication is when employees can express their thoughts and opinions to one another. The best way to implement open communication in the workplace is to encourage everyone to open up, which can help make them feel valued, improving their performance and productivity. If you want to inspire your employees to develop professionally, communication is one of the things you must model for employees. Be a good role model to your employees by openly communicating with them. If you share as much information with your team members, they will have the courage to do so. Encouraging open communication in the workplace is the best way to make employees feel more valued and included. If you make your employees feel that you value their opinion, they are more likely to give their best.  Furthermore, open communication within teams can help strengthen team bonds. It can lead to better accountability from team members, helping them realise that their contributions are vital for the organisation's overall success.

3. Offer Continuous Opportunities 

If you want to inspire your employees to develop, you must offer continuous opportunities for them to do so. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective methods is to let them take online courses that can help to encourage them to work on their professional development. Professional development courses help to ensure that your employees' knowledge and skills remain relevant and current. When employees start working for your company, they already have a particular set of skills and competencies. But if you want to inspire professional development, you have to offer them the opportunity to build upon these skills. Online courses and training are some of the best ways to hone their existing skills and learn new ones. Aside from training, you can help employees improve by providing regular workshops, feedback sessions, and surveys to highlight the areas that need improvement. Gathering as much data as possible from surveys and tests can help establish a culture of continuous improvement in the workplace. Once you have identified the areas that need improvement, you must implement plans and strategies to address these.

4. Provide Feedback

An essential aspect of professional development is asking for and providing regular and structured feedback. Creating a workplace environment where giving feedback is the norm should start by organising a structured feedback session. It also helps to coach managers on the right way to provide detailed and constructive feedback. Moreover, encourage everyone to ask for relevant feedback from their colleagues. Many employees find receiving or providing feedback daunting since it requires people to be more open and receptive. The best approach is to listen actively to what others are saying, take down notes, and understand how to turn this feedback into action plans.  As the amount of feedback exchange in the workplace improves, managers will have more insight into how they can improve as a manager. It also provides employees insights into their work, which can inspire them to develop. Above all, positive feedback can have a significant positive impact on overall business outcomes.

5. Lead by Example  

A successful leader inspires and motivates the team. One of the best ways to inspire employees is to lead by example. Improving your leadership skills and actively leading by example is the best way to encourage your team to develop. Since your team looks up to you, everything you do can be an example for your team. Leading by example refers to a leadership style where you model the behaviour you want your team to have. It doesn't mean pushing your team members towards excellence. Instead, you must actively demonstrate what a good work ethic is. You must actively show your team that you value their hard work by also carrying some of the weight. Such a leadership style can foster a higher level of engagement among employees and encourage them to develop professionally. Aside from inspiring employees to develop professionally, leading by example can help improve trust and engagement. Remember that the people you lead are paying attention to everything you say and do. Being inconsistent with what you do or say can lead to frustration and a lack of trust. But if you model the proper work ethics, they will be motivated to follow. 

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
March 25, 2023