Employees are clamoring for more career advancement and growth experiences.

84% of workers expect their employers to provide training and education, so they can stay up-to-date on the ever-evolving needs of their industry. Yet, 51% of executives say that they feel like professional development programs are a waste of time.

The disconnect between leadership and staff is creating challenges for organizations at large as well as talent development professionals. Companies that do not recognize the importance of professional development will be at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting new employees. When a company does not emphasize the upskilling of staff, they run the risk of falling behind their competitors and losing talent to those willing to invest in an employee’s career. 

Training experts are being called upon to get buy-in (and more money) from executives to avoid the negative impact of an ineffective professional development program and to ensure employees have avenues to support both their job performance and long-term success. 

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The Value of Professional Development Programs

Professional development refers to any experience that can increase an employee’s skill set, lead to new job opportunities or advance career growth. When leaders and managers invest in the continuing professional education of their personnel, incredible things happen – and not just for the participating employees.  

To encourage buy-in for professional development programming, be sure to promote the many benefits that come from expanding employees’ knowledge and boosting their skill sets. 

Individual Benefits of Professional Development 

Company Benefits of Professional Development

Create a Continuous Learning Culture

To establish the foundation for successful professional development programs, examine the mindset the organization has toward learning. Reports suggest that nearly half of the skills that exist in today's workforce won't be relevant in two years, so it is no longer fair to assume that any school will effectively prepare students for all the intricacies of the future of work. 

As businesses make investments in staff training, the outlays may still fall short of the continuous level of development that will be required in the long term. As new technology continues to accelerate the rate of change and businesses try to keep pace, it will be increasingly important to provide employees with ongoing growth opportunities.  

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5 Tips to Facilitate a Learning Culture

To see positive change from professional development initiatives, active participation from staff is necessary. L&D leaders can use the guidelines below to build a thriving culture where employees are invested in ongoing growth and career development 

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1. Stimulate Interest

70% of employees prefer online or self-paced learning when it comes to professional development. While the rise in remote learning offers more flexibility, employees may be distracted if they do not understand the importance of the workshop or program being offered. 

Encourage employees to be involved in selecting professional development topics to further their own career and offer options to accommodate different learning styles. To honor the distinct preferences of your learners, explore how you can use the Emergenetics Attributes in your programs

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2. Make It Inclusive and Accessible

To make professional development more approachable, start by implementing training opportunities across the employee lifecycle. Ensure that multiple forms of media are utilized for knowledge-sharing, so any professional in the organization can benefit from the brilliances and insights of others. 

It is essential to open up opportunities for education across all levels of staff. For example, many businesses may focus attention on emerging leaders. While these offerings can be useful, when every employee has a chance to learn and progress in their career, it will improve engagement and loyalty as well as increase the return on investments made in training.  

3. Diversify Delivery Mechanisms

These days there are an abundance of options to provide professional development and employee education. To encourage participation, be sure to offer a mix of programs including:  

  • Remote, interactive program: Allows for flexibility for personnel based in different locations while still engaging learners.   
  • In-person workshop: Promotes face-to-face collaboration and connection while minimizing the potential for distraction.  
  • Self-paced professional development courses: Honors participants’ schedules and time needed for completion.  
  • External conferences and education: Utilizes outside experts to facilitate ongoing professional growth and explore career opportunities. 

4. Promote Informal Professional Development

Only 10% of learning takes place in the classroom. Another 20% occurs in social settings while 70% takes place on the job. Consider integrating coaching or mentoring as a part of programming as well as setting up company forums to encourage knowledge sharing and skill building. Additionally, assess the role that professional organizations, industry events or outside networking opportunities can play in supporting ongoing development. 


5. Personalize Professional Development Plans

Every employee will have their own preferences when it comes to how they build skills and educate themselves about changes in their profession, and/or industry. To promote continuous learning, it's helpful to adapt professional development initiatives to the individual and their desired career path.  

SHRM outlines a few questions to get started: 

1 - How does the employee learn?  

2 - What is the employee’s ideal speed?  

3 - What does the employee want to learn?  

4 - What have others responded to?

A fifth question that can add to your process is: 

5 - How does the employee’s Emergenetics® Profile impact their learning needs and preferred practices?   

Tips from the Emergenetics Attributes to Power Professional Development 

  • Analytical: Learns through mental analysis. Best practice is to offer opportunities to problem solve and utilize data.
  • Structural: Appreciates hands-on professional development. Ensure your learning programs provide examples of how to apply the knowledge and practice their new skills on the job.
  • Social: Learns through people. Offering programming with live instruction is optimal as are providing community-based learning opportunities.
  • Conceptual: Appreciates education through experimentation. Use innovation and inventive delivery models that allow learners to try new things in support of career advancement.
  • Expressiveness: Build in time for individual reflection (first-third) while also using teaching techniques like role playing to talk through concepts (third-third).
  • Assertiveness: Use technology to support post-work, so individuals can build on the concepts at a steady (first-third) or driving (third-third) pace.
  • Flexibility: Provide focused training on the specific topic at hand (first-third) while allowing for change and choice in professional development offerings (third-third).

3 Considerations for the Future of Work

To shape a continuous learning culture, it’s essential to understand and incorporate some of the current trends that are influencing professional development. Important considerations include: 

  • Skill Building 
  • Well-being 
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

Skill Building 

A study by Cengage revealed that nearly three in four employers are having a hard time finding graduates with the soft skills needed by companies. In an analysis of 20 major economies, Korn Ferry estimates that by 2030, there will be a talent shortage of more than 85 million people.

Human Resources and Talent Development professionals will need to identify professional learning opportunities that will empower employees to build essential knowledge and the skills to support workplace evolution and industry changes. By focusing on the priority talents that employees will need to be a productive part of the workforce, L&D experts can begin to analyze gaps and design a comprehensive professional development program to provide the education necessary to fill job openings.

Programming will need to cover a variety of talents as the requirements of different departments are likely to vary widely. By introducing training sessions, online courses and workshops as well as proactively identifying conferences and external education opportunities, development professionals will help staff build valuable knowledge and support their companies in meeting the demands of the future of work. 


Burnout has become common in many organizations with 44% of people experiencing significant workplace stress daily. Anxiety causes personal health challenges and impacts a person's ability to work productively.  

Professional development programs have an opportunity to enhance well-being. Talent Development professionals can host workshops and online learning dedicated to helping individuals get a better understanding of what heightens their stress and what new practices reduce burnout.

Additionally, education on its own can relieve some workplace stressors. For example, financial well-being is often cited as a driver of employee anxiety. When an employer provides their staff with new opportunities to build relevant skills that support future job prospects and career opportunities, it can alleviate some of these concerns. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)   

As Gen Z enters the workforce, DEI is coming into greater focus. 83% of Gen Z employees say that a company's commitment to inclusion is important. In addition to meeting the demands of young professionals, there are numerous examples of the positive impact that diversity has on bottom-line outcomes including problem solving, innovation and performance. 

Professional development programs can influence DEI in a few ways. The offerings can introduce employees to diversity through a broad, intersectional lens and not simply the visible differences that may be more obvious. Training professionals can develop sessions focused on psychological safety to create an environment where staff feel they can raise differing perspectives and concerns without judgment.

Companies may also deliver professional development programming that demonstrates the power of diversity in action. Tools like Emergenetics can reveal how creativity or productivity thrive when new ideas, distinct backgrounds and alternative points of view are considered. 

Strengthen Your Professional Development Opportunities

There are so many paths you can take when it comes to influencing employee growth. At Emergenetics, for example, we partner with talent development and HR professionals by helping them use thinking and behavioral insights to maximize professional development offerings, improve team performance and achieve business results.  

Organizations commonly use our programs to:

  • Empower employees with greater self-awareness and understanding of colleagues using the seven Emergenetics Attributes 
  • Advance career prospects and create healthy, productive teams by improving soft skills like communication, collaboration and innovation  
  • Enhance managerial and leadership skills by providing resources to boost emotional intelligence, staff motivation and team performance 
  • Increase innovation and productivity by harnessing the power of cognitive diversity 
  • Transform learning opportunities by empowering L&D leaders with tools to ensure their programming engages every learner's thinking and behavioral preferences

To learn more about our trainings and workplace programming as well as examples of successful applications of Emergenetics, please fill out the form below. A member of our team will be in touch to explore the possibilities!