Why continued professional development matters – and how to incorporate it

Developing yourself professionally does not end with a college degree. Human resource professionals rate continuing professional development as a positive attribute in employees.

Globally, women are outpacing their male counterparts when it comes to higher education and even entrepreneurship. In the last year, we have seen women rise to hold at least one senior position in 87% of global businesses.

In the United States,  40% of entrepreneurs are women, with the state of  Texas leading the way for female entrepreneurship. While there is no denying that females are on the hunt for career satisfaction and progression, not many of us are acutely aware of how continued professional development (CPD) can help them achieve these goals and make their business an even greater success.

Why continued professional development remains important

With technology rapidly changing the world of business, keeping abreast of innovations and how it can apply to your business ensures that you not only have an efficient and profitable venture but an employee-focused business.

Studies have shown that workplaces, where continued development is supported and encouraged, are viewed as more favorably in the eyes of their employees. It helps to maintain high levels of employee motivation, retention, and overall productivity.

As a business owner, continuing professional development benefits your management and entrepreneurial abilities by constantly updating your skill set, ready to meet new challenges your business may face.

Then there are the cost benefits. Even taking a professional course in computerized accounting software such as Quickbooks can  help business owners better manage their finances and identify opportunities for cost reduction such as automation.

Pursuing continuing professional development is advantageous all around, and not just as an employee in the corporate world.

Carve out an hour each day for self-improvement

Start a business is time-consuming and hectic. However, taking time out to relax and rejuvenate yourself is just as important. Small business owners face multiple stress triggers daily from managing their bottom line to keeping employees happy and coming up with new marketing strategies.

Instead, make a commitment to an hour of self-care each day whether it is the first thing you do in the morning or bedtime reading every night. 

A common misconception is that continuing professional development needs to take the form of certified courses to be valid. Self-help and improvement books are just as impactful and easily fit into your daily schedule. They also cover every aspect of professional development in your industry and others including human resource management, business budgeting, and customer relations.

Another idea is opting for the audiobook version on your daily transport or drive to work. 

Take advantage of distance or e-learning courses

The internet is filled with e-learning platforms now such as Coursera and Udemy which offer a range of CPD certificates in partnership with some of the world’s leading universities and educational bodies.

Alternatively, speak to your university of choice about distance learning. Many schools now allow you to pursue a  doctorate degree online no dissertation and offer the option to watch the learning videos at your own convenience.

With no final assessment requirements for completion, the impact on your time is reduced. If you are worried about finances as a new business owner, there are  free online courses offered by colleges around the country.

Promote a culture of continuing development in your business

Finally, be sure to make the journey of continuing professional development an inclusive one in your business. Make employee training and development workshops a regular feature on the rota- and get involved in them yourself.

Approach your local community college or community center for classes on public speaking, employee management, and even financial literacy classes.

For employees, including an educational piece in regular employee newsletters can improve their knowledge or introduce them to new areas. Alternatively, you can collaborate with  local organizations or networks supporting women in business, like the Women Who Start Up platform.

If you want your business to succeed, you have to be willing to update and innovate. This means constantly assessing and improving the capacity of not only your machinery and workforce but also your capacity as a business owner and an entrepreneur.

The only way to do this is by pursuing continuing professional development.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez