Why professional development matters so much

Finding areas of growth for team members can increase advisor retention.

Why professional development matters so much

No team member ever wants to feel stuck, especially as they are exposed to a constant stream of information that demonstrates the world around them is changing. Offering continuing education is a great way to scratch the itch of needing to grow while remaining fixed in a current role. The benefits afforded to both the individual and the organization can more than make up the investment, including:

  • Improving knowledge and skills: Advisors can keep up-to-date with the latest industry trends, sales training and technology.

  • Meeting industry requirements: Many advisors need to stay current on their professional certifications or cannot expand into new realms without completing additional coursework, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) certifications.

  • Career advancement: Leadership and management programs can be a step on the path toward becoming a junior leader.

By encouraging continual learning, you create an environment where people feel confident trying out new things and expanding their skills and knowledge. Team leaders can make professional development a priority in their workplace in several ways. Here are a few suggestions from Harvard ManageMentor®:

1. Encourage people to set goals

Tout the benefits of learning new skills and help team members understand how achieving their goals can help them grow professionally, increase their job satisfaction and advance their careers. Then invite them to give an overview of what they’ve learned during a team meeting.

2. Authorize time for learning

Let it be known that you are willing to accommodate team members who pursue learning opportunities. You can also offer suggestions of when professional development can happen, such as blocking off an hour each week.

3. Incentivize team members to meet their goals

Recognize and celebrate when team members achieve their learning goals. This can include bonuses, promotions or simply public recognition. Those actions create a positive feedback loop and encourage others to set and achieve goals.

4. Be a model

As a team leader, you should prioritize your own professional development and make it visible to your team. Attend workshops, conferences and training sessions, and share what you learn with your team. This can help create a culture of learning and inspire others to follow your lead.

If someone on your team tries something new that doesn’t work out, recognize their effort and prompt them to share what they learned with the team. Experiences like this are valuable learning and development opportunities.

Adapted from the Harvard ManageMentor® training course Attracting and Cultivating Talent, Module 4. Earn a certification in this course.

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