Team discussing the benefits of professional development in the workplace

Benefits of Professional Development Programs

Professional development programs offer multiple benefits to organizations and their employees, with multiple benefits for both. Employees gain opportunities to grow professionally and personally, while companies gain workers with higher skill levels, a robust leadership pipeline, and stronger employee engagement, productivity and retention. These programs represent a win-win for any organization.

What is Professional Development?

Professional development is an employer-sponsored program in which employees deepen their knowledge, expand their skills and gain valuable experience and confidence. Employee development programs offer opportunities for employees to learn through in-person or virtual courses, hands-on training, skill development, job shadowing, mentoring, and more. These are offered in tandem with career planning to help employees establish short and long-term goals and define career paths.

Benefits of professional development in the workplace

Why is Professional Development Important?

Due to the ever-evolving business environment, organizations and employees must constantly adapt to stay ahead of the curve. Professional development offers a structured way to achieve this evolution with opportunities to learn, grow and innovate. And it’s a priority for employees: 96% of workers surveyed say it’s important for them to continuously develop their skills, according to The Conference Board. With effective professional development programs, the company and employees work together to stay at the forefront of their industry and build an agile organization. Below you will find six reasons why professional development matters to employees.

Skill Development

Employee development provides the means to improve existing skills and learn new ones in areas that will benefit the organization. This learning goes beyond just gaining the skills necessary to do the job; it boosts employee confidence, creates leadership opportunities and contributes to a more effective, well-rounded workforce.

Career Planning

Career planning is a critical part of professional development. Collaborating with employees to shape their future helps them develop a clear vision and motivates them to achieve more. They’ll know exactly what they need to do to reach their goals and management will have clear and realistic expectations of where employees are and where they want to go. Organizations can help employees stay on track with regular check-ins and guidance.

Employee Retention

Professional development programs help employees navigate their careers with ease and also show employees that the company is invested in their success. This contributes to a positive, supportive culture and improves retention because employees want to stay to take advantage of opportunities rather than seeking them elsewhere. Employee retention rose 58% in organizations that invested in employee development, according to a report from HR Digest. Higher retention saves an organization time and money on hiring and training costs and improves overall morale within the workplace.

Benefits of professional development

Succession Planning

Succession planning is closely related to career planning but focuses on the organization’s leadership needs. Companies can leverage professional development programs to identify potential leaders and help them prepare for future leadership roles. This helps organizations promote from within to maintain stronger institutional knowledge. It also sets the stage for smoother leadership transitions and allows the company to be more strategic about its leadership.


One of the biggest advantages of professional development for employees is it provides them more opportunities to advance in their careers. With more skills, employees have more options to go up a level, find a new position and earn more. Around a third of people surveyed believe job training is a factor in helping them earn more, according to Survey Monkey. Learning new skills can also help them discover new areas of professional interest and develop a clearer vision of the direction they want to take in their careers.


Professional development also increases networking opportunities. Whether employees are taking a course, developing mentoring relationships or job shadowing, professional development entails working with other people to learn. This is a great way for employees to get to know colleagues and contacts outside the organization for mutually beneficial professional relationships.

Types of Professional Development Programs

There is no one-size-fits-all for professional development programs since resources and goals can vary widely from company to company. Basic programs may consist of a few training programs administered manually, while more complex programs leverage specialized platforms to optimize program success.

Leaders need to identify the needs of both the organization and employees and build a program to maximize benefits for both. Planners should have an overarching vision to bring together crucial elements, including content, career guidance and administrative structure, to achieve the organization’s professional development goals.

Some common examples of professional development programs include:

Skills Training

Professional skills building via training, courses and workshops are essential to professional development. Skills training can be offered in many formats to suit any learner, from quick online courses to multi-day on-location conferences. Topics run the gamut of nuts-and-bolts professional skills that employees will use on the job daily. Workers can also get training to expand academic knowledge or improve soft skills such as sales techniques, negotiation or leadership development.

Benefits of professional development


Mentoring offers opportunities for employees to receive personal guidance from their more experienced colleagues. These relationships take various forms, including one-on-one mentoring, reverse mentoring where a less experienced employee offers insights to a more senior colleague, group mentoring, diversity mentoring, job shadowing, and more.

One aspect of group mentoring growing in popularity is the employee resource group (ERG). ERGs offer employees with common interests or identities an opportunity to come together for community-building and support. Often centered around underrepresented groups such as women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA and more, ERGs can help increase employee morale, engagement and a sense of belonging.

Workplace mentoring programs offer a myriad of benefits, including higher levels of engagement, retention and productivity. For example, an automotive company mentoring program powered by Chronus increased the retention of program participants to 79 percent over two years (compared to the average company retention of 67 percent).

Career Pathing

Career pathing involves creating a professional development plan for an individual employee, aligning their goals and interests with the organization’s. Often, this starts with a formal plan, complete with SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals and timelines. But effective career pathing isn’t a one-and-done effort—the organization should have a formal process to help employees continually evaluate and evolve their career paths.

How to Work Professional Development Into Your Mentorship Program

Mentoring and professional development go hand in hand. Mentorship represents one of the most effective ways for employees to develop, and almost any type of professional development involves some kind of mentoring. However, both types of programs need the right structure to succeed. Programs that are complicated, confusing or time-consuming for administrators and participants get in the way of reaping full benefits.

Chronus Software is a powerful tool to help organizations reach their mentoring and professional development goals. It simplifies customized program implementation and streamlines administration across the employee experience, from enrollment to evaluation. It provides an integrated platform for functions ranging from mentorship matching to guided workflows, with seamless integrations. It offers analytics to help leaders evaluate their professional development programs and can easily be scaled to increase professional development opportunities across the business.

Chronus offers the support organizations need to create robust professional development programs that can make a real difference for businesses and employees alike.

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