While employers are interviewing a potential job candidate to determine if they are the right fit for the company, the interviewee is likely doing the same thing. Smart candidates work to assess organizations thoughout the interview process, deciding whether the business offers a satisfactory salary, a welcoming work environment and excellent benefits. A professional development program is another perk that is a big draw for a job candidate.
Many organizations find that offering a professional development program is an excellent way to retain quality employees. One such business, Sun Microsystems, offers a professional development track that requires its employees to spend various amounts of time working in all areas of the company. Whether an employee of the IT firm desires to be an operations specialist or a company vice president someday, he is likely to spend time working in every job position from software developer and network architect to sales and financial roles. This gives employees broader perspective in regards to how individual positions contribute to the overall success of the company, as well as experience in a wide range of jobs.
Professional development offers benefits to both the employee and the employer. Sun's CIO, Bill Vass, explains that the company's professional development program creates well-rounded employees that understand all facets of the IT world. Vass explains that employees are better able to understand how all positions in the company interrelate, and the company maintains a skilled pool of knowledgeable employees ready to step in when a particular area is shorthanded. There are plenty of benefits for employees as well, including the development of invaluable career skills and professional goals and the opportunity to feel out various job categories to determine where the employee's career interests lie.
Professional development also has the advantage of being a key factor in employee retention, which is an advantage for both employers and employees. Aside from professional development that focuses on job-related qualifications, some employers want their employees to develop professional skill sets that help them in their day-to-day interaction with co-workers and clients. Business leader Richard Zahn explains that employees benefit greatly from psychological training on subjects such as crisis management. He argues that this type of professional development enables employees to cope better with stressful situations and teaches them "the fundamentals of life" that can be applied to a business setting. Zahn also believes that this type of training creates more flexible employees who are stronger leaders. He explains that employees who learn these traits are less likely to become dissatisfied with their employers and seek out a new job, which is a win-win for both employee and employer.
Professional development is an important part of today's business environment. Whether employees are being taught important job skills or invaluable life skills, they are better equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead in their careers. An employer that offers a professional development program is more attractive to job seekers and reaps the benefits of gaining employees that are likely to stick around longer and be assets to the company.
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