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Q&A Forum

The value of professional development

From reading Proformative one could make the following statement:

"It is almost universally agreed that encouraging professional development is extremely beneficial to both the company and the employee."

If this is true, how many of you provide your employees with
a) encouragement
b) time-off
c) financial support
d) merit increases for some types of advancement


(Financial Analyst) |

Encouragement and time-off are the difficulties but the other two depends on policy of the company.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

With the exception of merit increases, you can't really support professional development and expect them to occur 100% of the time during non-work hours.

Obviously moderation is always relevant and a factor in how much monetary contribution a company can and will provide.

With the exception of possibly merit increases, the question still begs to be answered: does your (will your) company provide financial support to permit its employees to develop professionally?

David Smith
Title: Manager
Company: Private
(Manager, Private) |

This might sound like complaining, but that's only because it is.

The company I work for would probably say that they are all for professional development. That is really only mouth music. To say otherwise would be like saying, "I am squarely opposed to good parenting in all its hideous forms."

Let's take them one at a time:

- Encouragement. Can't say anyone has ever brought it up. Unless it was encrypted or spoken in code, I've never heard anyone say anything about the value of continuing education. Although, I probably would have noticed wind talkers speaking Cherokee over radios in the office.

However, you can't say that management is guilty of a lack of encouragement for continuing education. It's more like they are opposed to encouragement.

- Time Off. Wayne, you have got to be kidding... time off for professional development? No, hasn't come up, unless you are counting using vacation time.

- Financial Support. I pay for my own education and thank god it has become so inexpensive. I have a $25 a month subscription to Lynda and a $99 one year subscription to the Proformative learning platform. I may drop the Lynda thing, but they have some courses that are great for non-work endeavors.

- Merit increases for some type of advancement. There are potentially merit increases for accomplishing big goals or taking on new responsibilities, but not for possessing more knowledge or becoming more capable. That makes merit increases kind of a bank shot here... gain more knowledge, accomplish more, get merit increase.

Of course, god help you if you don't know something that causes problems. This will be forensically analyzed like an episode of CSI Office. The inquiry will never point to a lack of continuing education. In fairness, if you accomplish something noteworthy, continuing education will never get the credit either.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

I know from whence you live... I had to fight to go to seminars, but had an unlimited budget to talk to my network of friends....

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

David, you're brilliant to take your own professional development matters into your own hands.

We frequently have conversations with companies who buy multiple seat licenses (dozens to hundreds at a time for whole departments). The smartest have developed ways of calculating the ROI of professional development, so it's a more cost/benefit analysis.

Here's a white paper on that very subject:

"How To Calculate The ROI Of Professional Development"

Best... Sarah

(Accounting Manager) |

The last company I worked for encouraged and provided opportunities for development as the budget allowed; utilizing subject matter experts as teachers/trainers when appropriate. Our company also provided education reimbursement for degree plans related to our jobs. It was a win-win if you could make time in your schedule to get it all done.
My current employer encourages us to develop; but you have to justify the course in order for the company to pay for your time to take the class/seminar. We try to do free-online short term classes in my department. Operations is allotted more training time and some travel time for their employees based on the type of work being done.
All in all, it is really up to the individual to make sure they are developing and keeping skills up-to-date. You never know when you will have to change jobs.

Dan Kardatzke
Title: CFO
Company: Solstice Mobile
(CFO, Solstice Mobile) |

We provide a $5,000 a year training allowance for employee's to determine where they want to invest in their own professional development. We also run our own internal University to provide specific career growth training based on your role in the company.

Merit increases and promotions are earned based on performance and of course how you take advantage of the above will impact how successful you are but they are not a requirement (nor are they tracked) when considering whether someone has earned a promotion or merit increase.

We feel that this investment in our employee's professional development has allowed us to maintain very high employee retention rates and high levels of customer service to our clients as well. All costs that need to be weighed against not investing in professional development of your team.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

The problem with professional development of existing employees is that they are still existing employees post development.

If I go to night school and earn an MBA, my employer will not suddenly find me more desirable, promote me or pay me more. They will see the same person they've seen day in and day out for years and hold the same opinions of me that they had before.

However, if I shop myself on the market, that MBA just might be the ticket to a more lucrative compensation package......elsewhere.

I see this from a hiring mangers perspective as well as an employee's.

The other problem I've seen so many times is, employees go to some training or development seminars and come back enthused and excited. But, anything they now suggest is met with absolute resistance (statists are everywhere!) or, is supported and encouraged but soon dies out due to the day to day drudgery of the work that must get done in order for the entity to survive.

Topic Expert
Stephen Roulac
Title: CEO
Company: Roulac Global LLC
(CEO, Roulac Global LLC) |

Attitudes by companies and individuals concerning professional development range from prioritizing to benign neglect, which are influenced by their objectives, aspirations, commitment to excellence. Those who are most motivated recognize that investments in professional development can have extraordinary ROI.

The PROFORMATIVE program at only $99/year is an extraordinary value proposition. Arguably, any finance professional not availing herself/.himself of this is less than serious about her/his career. Indeed, this might be the basis for a most illuminating performance assessment and/or interview question

ArLyne Diamond
Title: Owner - President
Company: Diamond Associates
LinkedIn Profile
(Owner - President, Diamond Associates) |

It's the smart people who ask questions in class. It's the smart people who know they don't know it all. It's the smart people who know that they can't see themselves or their behavior from the outside in. It's the smart people who get their private consultant/coach/mentor (whatever word you want to put on it.)

These same smart people create an environment in their companies dedicated to enabling professional growth to their employees.

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