Why is it important to invest in your future with a professional development certification?

Professional Development


Investing in your future with a professional development certification is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Career Advancement: Professional development certifications can enhance your skills and knowledge, making you more valuable and competitive in the job market. They can open doors to new job opportunities and career advancement within your current organization.
  2. Increased Earnings Potential: With specialized certifications, you may qualify for higher-paying roles that require specific expertise. Certified professionals often earn more than their non-certified counterparts.
  3. Skill Enhancement: Certifications provide a structured way to gain new skills or improve existing ones. Staying up-to-date with the latest developments in your field ensures you can meet the demands of a dynamic work environment.
  4. Credibility and Recognition: Certifications are recognized credentials that validate your expertise. They provide a level of credibility and trust among employers, colleagues, and clients.
  5. Adaptability and Resilience: Continuous professional development allows you to adapt to industry changes and technological advancements. It prepares you to handle new challenges and remain resilient in times of uncertainty.
  6. Networking Opportunities: Participating in certification programs often involves interacting with professionals in your industry, leading to valuable networking opportunities and potential partnerships.
  7. Personal Growth: Beyond the immediate career benefits, professional development can contribute to personal growth and a sense of accomplishment, leading to increased job satisfaction.

How much do people spend on their professional development in a given year, the figures can vary depending on various factors like industry, job role, level of education, and individual preferences. There isn’t a definitive number for all professionals collectively.

However, some studies have highlighted trends related to professional development spending:

  1. According to a 2019 LinkedIn Learning report, 94% of employees said they would stay longer at a company that invested in their career development.
  2. The 2020 LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning report revealed that the average employee spends about 1% of their workweek on learning and development, which is roughly 24 minutes a week.
  3. Corporate spending on employee training and development in the United States was estimated to be over $83 billion in 2019, according to Statista.
  4. Individual spending on professional development can vary widely, ranging from a few hundred dollars for online courses to several thousand dollars for specialized certifications or degree programs.

Remember that investing in professional development is a personal decision, and the value it brings to your career can far outweigh the initial financial cost. Many companies also recognize the importance of upskilling their workforce and provide opportunities for employees to grow professionally through training and development programs.

Growing trend Among Organizations To Promote Employee Professional Development

Yes, there is a growing trend among organizations to promote employee professional development. Companies are recognizing the importance of investing in their employees’ skills and knowledge to enhance productivity, retain talent, and stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing business landscape. Several factors have contributed to the increased emphasis on employee professional development:

  1. Talent Retention: Investing in employee development is a proven way to improve employee satisfaction and engagement. When employees see that their organization is committed to helping them grow and advance their careers, they are more likely to stay loyal to the company.
  2. Skill Gap Mitigation: Many industries face skill shortages and rapid technological advancements. By promoting professional development, organizations can bridge the skill gaps within their workforce and ensure their employees remain capable of meeting evolving job requirements.
  3. Improved Performance: A well-trained and skilled workforce is more efficient and productive. Employees who receive regular training and development opportunities tend to perform better in their roles and contribute more effectively to the organization’s success.
  4. Succession Planning: Organizations that promote professional development are better equipped to identify and groom internal candidates for future leadership positions. This approach fosters a talent pipeline, ensuring a smoother transition when key employees retire or move to different roles.
  5. Innovation and Adaptability: Continuous learning fosters innovation and encourages a culture of adaptability within the organization. Employees who are encouraged to explore new ideas and approaches are more likely to contribute to innovation initiatives.
  6. Relevance in the Market: In fast-paced industries, staying current with the latest trends and technologies is crucial. Organizations that prioritize employee professional development can stay ahead of the competition and respond effectively to market changes.
  7. Employer Branding: Companies that invest in employee development are often viewed more favorably by job seekers. Such organizations have an advantage in attracting top talent, as professionals are drawn to companies that value their growth and offer opportunities for advancement.

To support employee professional development, many organizations offer various resources and initiatives, including:

  • In-house training programs and workshops
  • Access to online courses and e-learning platforms
  • Financial assistance for employees pursuing certifications or further education
  • Mentoring and coaching programs
  • Leadership development initiatives
  • Cross-functional training opportunities
  • Skill development plans tailored to individual career goals

Overall, promoting employee professional development is a win-win situation for both employees and organizations, leading to improved performance, enhanced job satisfaction, and increased competitiveness in the marketplace.

What percent of employees are involved in professional development activities?

The percentage of employees involved in professional development activities can vary based on factors such as industry, company size, and the specific culture of an organization. While there isn’t a precise global percentage, various studies and surveys indicate that a significant number of employees participate in some form of professional development. For example, a LinkedIn Learning Workplace Learning report found that 94% of employees surveyed said they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development.

Who’s responsible for encouraging professional development in organizations – the culture, the manager, the employee.

Encouraging professional development is a shared responsibility among multiple stakeholders in an organization:

  1. The Culture: The organizational culture plays a crucial role in promoting professional development. If an organization values learning and growth, it is more likely to create an environment that encourages employees to pursue development opportunities. A culture that supports continuous learning will provide resources, time, and support for employees to engage in training and development activities.
  2. The Manager: Managers and supervisors have a direct impact on their team’s professional development. Supportive managers identify and discuss career goals with their employees, provide feedback, and recommend appropriate development opportunities. They play a vital role in guiding employees towards relevant training and facilitating their growth within the company.
  3. The Employee: Employees themselves are responsible for their own professional development. Taking ownership of one’s career growth involves identifying areas for improvement, seeking out learning opportunities, and actively participating in training programs or courses. Employees who are proactive in their development tend to progress faster in their careers.

How are employees rewarded for completing professional development?

Employees can be rewarded for completing professional development in various ways:

  • Salary Increase: Some companies offer salary raises or bonuses to employees who complete specific certifications or training programs that are directly relevant to their job role.
  • Promotion Opportunities: Successful completion of professional development activities can make employees more eligible for promotions to higher-level positions within the company.
  • Skill Recognition: Employees who acquire new skills through professional development may be recognized formally or informally within the organization, leading to increased visibility and respect among peers.
  • Career Advancement: Professional development helps employees acquire specialized knowledge and skills that make them more qualified for advanced roles, leading to career progression.
  • Personal Fulfillment: Many employees find personal satisfaction and motivation from learning and growing professionally, which can contribute to increased job satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
  • How does professional development help career advancement

Professional development contributes to career advancement in several ways:

  1. Skill Enhancement: Participating in workshops, courses, or certifications allows employees to acquire new skills or deepen existing ones. These skills are often valuable for taking on more significant responsibilities or moving into more specialized roles.
  2. Increased Marketability: Certified professionals are often more attractive to potential employers or clients. Having recognized certifications can set individuals apart from their competition in the job market.
  3. Networking Opportunities: Engaging in professional development activities can lead to networking opportunities, enabling individuals to make connections with industry professionals and potential mentors.
  4. Visibility and Recognition: Demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning and development can enhance an individual’s visibility within their organization, making them more likely to be considered for promotions or career advancement opportunities.
  5. Adaptability to Change: In rapidly evolving industries, professionals need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Continuous learning ensures employees can adapt to new challenges and remain competitive in their fields.
  6. Leadership Development: Many professional development programs focus on leadership skills, which are vital for climbing the corporate ladder and taking on managerial or executive roles.

In summary, professional development is essential for career growth, and organizations, managers, and employees all have roles to play in encouraging and supporting it. Continuous learning not only benefits employees personally but also contributes to the overall success and competitiveness of the organization.

About the Author

Dr. Nancy Zentis, Ph.D.,
CEO and Founder of the Institute of Organization Development. Contact: nancy.zentis@instituteod.com. The Institute of Organization Development offers online Certification Programs on Organization Development, OD Process Consulting, Talent Management, Executive Coaching

 IOD also sponsors GIODN.org, a global OD Professional Membership Organization, offering member benefits such as a Professional Directory, OD Tools, Monthly Events, a Job Board, and Member Connect.  If you are interested in joining, click here.


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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Strategies

DE&I consulting services focus on helping organizations foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Consultants assess the organization's current DE&I initiatives, develop DE&I strategies and policies, conduct training on unconscious bias and cultural competence, establish employee resource groups, and guide leaders in creating inclusive leadership practices. They work with organizations to attract and retain diverse talent, create inclusive hiring processes, and implement programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels. DE&I consultants aim to create an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and have equal opportunities for growth.

Organizational Development Consulting

Organizational development (OD) consulting services focus on helping leaders lead change initiatives to improving organizational effectiveness and results. Consultants work closely with leaders to assess the organization's current state, identify areas for improvement, create action plans and design interventions, and implement changes to enhance employee engagement, teamwork, leadership development, and organizational culture. They facilitate strategic planning, conduct organizational assessments, and implement initiatives such as talent management, succession planning, performance management, and employee training and development programs. OD consultants aim to align people, processes, and systems to drive sustainable organizational growth and change.

Mentoring Program

Mentoring Programs involve establishing formal or informal relationships between experienced employees (mentors) and less experienced employees (mentees) within an organization. Consultants assist organizations in designing and implementing mentoring programs that facilitate knowledge transfer, skill development, and career growth. They establish mentoring guidelines, match mentors and mentees based on specific criteria, provide training and resources for mentors, and monitor the progress of the mentoring relationships. Mentoring programs aim to enhance employee development, engagement, and retention by leveraging the expertise and wisdom of experienced professionals.

Performance Management

Performance Management involves establishing systems and processes to monitor, assess, and improve employee performance. Consultants work with organizations to design and implement performance management frameworks that align with organizational goals and values. This includes setting clear performance expectations, defining key performance indicators (KPIs), establishing regular feedback and coaching mechanisms, conducting performance evaluations, and linking performance outcomes to rewards and recognition. Performance management systems aim to drive individual and team performance, align employee efforts with organizational objectives, and support employee development.

Job Redesign/Analysis

Job Redesign/Analysis is the process of reevaluating and modifying job roles and responsibilities to optimize efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Consultants analyze existing job descriptions, tasks, and workflows to identify opportunities for improvement. They may conduct job analyses to determine essential skills, competencies, and qualifications required for each role. Based on these findings, consultants provide recommendations for job redesign, such as clarifying roles and responsibilities, redistributing tasks, and implementing automation or technology solutions to streamline processes and enhance job satisfaction.

Executive Coaching, Competency Development, 360° Feedback

Executive Coaching, Competency Development, and 360 Feedback are individual-focused strategies that aim to enhance leadership and professional effectiveness. Consultants provide executive coaching services to senior leaders, offering personalized guidance, support, and feedback to help leaders develop their strengths, address developmental areas, and enhance their leadership capabilities. Competency development involves identifying and developing specific skills and competencies required for success in particular roles or functions. 360-degree feedback involves collecting feedback from multiple sources, including peers, subordinates, and superiors, to provide a comprehensive assessment of an individual's strengths and areas for improvement.

Culture Strategies

Culture Strategies focus on shaping and transforming the organizational culture to create a positive and productive work environment. Consultants assist organizations in assessing their current culture, identifying areas for improvement, and developing strategies to align the culture with the desired values, behaviors, and goals. This may involve initiatives such as defining core values, establishing cultural norms, enhancing communication and collaboration practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

Talent Management Strategies

Talent Management Strategies involve designing and implementing initiatives to attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent within an organization. Consultants work with organizations to develop comprehensive talent management strategies that encompass recruitment and selection processes, onboarding programs, performance management systems, career development frameworks, succession planning, and employee retention strategies. The goal is to ensure the organization has the right people in the right roles, with opportunities for growth and development that align with their skills and aspirations.

Career Planning/High Potentials

Career Planning/High Potentials initiatives involve designing strategies and programs to support employees in planning and advancing their careers within the organization. Consultants work with organizations to establish career development frameworks, provide guidance on career paths and progression opportunities, and assist in identifying and nurturing high-potential employees. They may offer career counseling, development planning, and training programs to enhance employees' skills, competencies, and knowledge needed for career growth. Career planning initiatives aim to engage and retain talented individuals by providing them with a clear path for advancement and professional development.

Change Management

Change management consulting services support organizations in managing and implementing significant organizational changes. Consultants help identify change management strategies and plans, assess the impact of change, and design effective communication and training programs to support employee adoption and buy-in. They work with leaders and teams to overcome resistance, address cultural and behavioral challenges, and foster a positive change culture. Change management consultants provide guidance throughout the change process, ensuring a smooth transition and successful adoption of new processes, systems, or structures.

Organization Change (OCM) Strategy

Organization Change Management (OCM) Strategy refers to the planned approach or roadmap that an organization follows to implement and manage changes within its structure, processes, technologies, or culture. OCM strategies involve identifying the need for change, setting goals, creating a plan, and executing and evaluating the change process. Organization Change Consulting involves developing and implementing effective strategies to manage and navigate organizational change. The consultant focuses on helping organizations transition smoothly from their current state to a desired future state, considering various factors such as technology advancements, market shifts, mergers and acquisitions, or internal restructuring. Consultants specializing in OCM work closely with organizational leaders to identify OCM processes and help implement a consistent approach to change management, and train internal consultants to lead change management projects and provide support throughout the change process. Consultants may develop assessments, develop communication and training programs, and provide guidance on change implementation to ensure successful organizational transitions. OCM design typically includes steps such as stakeholder analysis, communication and training plans, risk assessment, and monitoring progress to ensure a smooth transition and successful adoption of the changes.

Human Resources Strategies

Human resources (HR) consulting services assist organizations in optimizing their HR practices and processes. Consultants work with HR departments to enhance talent acquisition and retention strategies, develop compensation and benefits programs, design performance management systems, implement employee engagement initiatives, and ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations. They may also provide guidance on organizational restructuring, workforce planning, employee relations, and HR technology implementation. HR consultants help organizations align their HR practices with business objectives and create a positive and productive work environment.

Team Development Strategies

Team Development Strategies focus on improving the effectiveness and performance of teams within an organization. Consultants work with teams to enhance communication, collaboration, and decision-making processes. They facilitate team-building activities, provide training on effective teamwork and conflict resolution, and help establish clear roles and responsibilities. Team development strategies may also involve conducting assessments to identify team dynamics and strengths, and designing interventions to improve team cohesion, trust, and productivity.

Employee Engagement Strategies

Employee Engagement Strategies aim to create a work environment where employees feel motivated, committed, and connected to the organization. Consultants assist organizations in measuring employee engagement levels, identifying factors that influence engagement, and developing strategies to enhance it. These strategies may include initiatives such as fostering a positive work culture, improving communication and recognition practices, providing opportunities for growth and development, promoting work-life balance, and empowering employees to contribute their ideas and opinions. The goal is to create a work environment that fosters high employee morale, satisfaction, and productivity.

Leadership Development Strategies

Leadership Development Strategies focus on cultivating effective leaders within an organization. Consultants work with organizations to assess leadership capabilities, identify leadership gaps, and design leadership development programs that enhance leadership skills, competencies, and behaviors. These strategies may include executive education, coaching and mentoring programs, leadership training workshops, and succession planning initiatives. The aim is to build a strong leadership pipeline and foster a culture of leadership excellence throughout the organization.

Organization Design/Redesign

Organization Design or Redesign refers to the process of structuring an organization to align its structure, roles, processes, and systems with its strategic objectives. It involves reviewing and potentially revising elements such as reporting lines, departmental structure, job roles and responsibilities, decision-making processes, and overall organizational hierarchy to optimize efficiency, coordination, and effectiveness within the organization, ensuring that it is well-positioned to achieve its goals. Organization Systems Design or Redesign consulting focuses on designing or restructuring the systems and processes within an organization to optimize efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance. This service involves analyzing existing organizational systems, such as workflows, communication channels, decision-making processes, and information management systems, to identify areas for improvement. Consultants work closely with organizational leaders to redesign these systems, incorporating best practices, automation, and streamlining processes to enhance productivity and achieve organizational goals. They may also provide recommendations on implementing new technologies or software to support the redesigned systems and ensure successful integration within the organization.

Organization Culture Change/Transformation

Organization Culture Change or Transformation involves deliberately altering the beliefs, values, behaviors, and norms that define the culture of an organization. Organization Culture Change consulting involves assisting organizations in transforming their existing culture or establishing a new desired culture within the organization. The organizational culture encompasses shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and norms that shape the way people work and interact within an organization. Culture change consultants help organizations identify their current culture, define the desired culture, and create strategies to bridge the gap between the two. They may conduct cultural assessments, facilitate workshops and training programs, develop communication strategies, and provide guidance to leaders and employees on how to align their behaviors and practices with the desired culture. This change is typically aimed at aligning the organizational culture with the company's vision, mission, and strategic objectives. Culture change initiatives often require a shift in leadership style, employee engagement, communication practices, and organizational practices to create a new cultural environment that supports desired outcomes such as increased collaboration, innovation, or adaptability.

Systems Design

Systems Design refers to the process of creating or modifying the systems and processes within an organization to optimize efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. It involves analyzing the existing systems, identifying areas for improvement, and designing new systems or reconfiguring existing ones to meet organizational goals. Systems design may include aspects such as technology infrastructure, software applications, data management, workflow processes, and automation to enhance operational performance and streamline organizational activities.

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning is the process of defining an organization's direction, setting goals, and formulating action plans to achieve those goals. It involves assessing the organization's current state, identifying opportunities and challenges, and developing strategies to effectively allocate resources and achieve the desired outcomes. Strategic planning typically includes analyzing the external environment, conducting internal assessments, setting objectives, formulating strategies, and establishing a framework for monitoring and adapting to changes in the business landscape. Strategy consulting services focus on assisting organizations in formulating and implementing strategic plans to achieve their long-term objectives. Strategy consultants also help organizations align their vision, mission, values, processes, and organizational structure with the strategic goals.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is the process of identifying and developing internal talent to fill key leadership positions within an organization when they become vacant. Consultants work with organizations to create succession planning strategies that align with the organization's long-term goals. They assess the current talent pool, identify high-potential employees, and design development programs to groom them for future leadership roles. Succession planning may involve creating development plans, providing leadership training, and implementing strategies to ensure a smooth transition when key positions need to be filled.