The Competitive Edge of Professional Development

Two young, professional women working at a computer in an office room; one is sitting, the other is standing.

It’s no surprise that having a high turnover rate among your employees is bad for business: morale sinks and institutional knowledge leaks out the door. While compensation remains the main reason newer entrants to the workforce leave their jobs, opportunities for professional development follows a close second.  

In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, employees need to feel like they’re able to keep pace. Professional development then not only outfits them with the tools to perform specific tasks, but provides a source of comfort and security. Workers who feel a greater sense of agency in both their daily jobs, and their long-term career, are more likely to stick around. 

But what should we be teaching them? 

An interesting facet of several recent studies into Millennials’ dissatisfaction in the workplace (like this LinkedIn report) is the feeling on the part of employees that they’re on their own. Either they feel the company isn’t providing enough training, or their manager isn’t involved enough, or that they aren’t given enough time at work to learn. 

This in and of itself points to a lack of Real-time Learning skills: situational awareness, adaptability, and critical thinking. Not coincidentally, these are the exact skills necessary to thrive in the knowledge economy where circumstances and technology change the market every day. 

We’ve seen this first hand through our Real-Time Learning for Professionals program, in which we’ve combined courseware and human coaching to teach new employees the habits that will help them succeed. One of the first things we noticed was the discomfort young professionals felt at charting their own course, and how that translated into confidence once they were given the right tools.

By offering development in these areas, and by creating a culture of curiosity in the face of ambiguity, employers can simultaneously improve performance and retention.