What Is Professional Development?


Quick Answer

Professional development is growth in personal qualities, technical skills and soft skills that improve a person's performance capabilities in a workplace or career. Companies value professional development for overall growth in the capabilities of workers. Employees use professional development to enhance performance and career mobility.

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Full Answer

Professional development occurs through both internal and external processes. Internally, employees grow through training and coaching provided by supervisors, as well as through mentoring by a leader or department veteran. Developing the professional qualities of employees is a key role of a manager. Companies often have mentoring programs that allow employees to grow by observing people more experienced in a given position.

Externally, employees develop professionally by attending workshops, seminars, conferences and other training programs. Taking additional college courses is helpful as well. Some organizations pay for employees to attend external training programs. At other times, the employee foots the bill to improve his own career growth opportunities. In some fields, continuing education is required for license renewal or sustained employment.

When organizations create an environment that encourages professional development, employee morale is often higher than in organizations where growth opportunities are limited. Support of professional development may also help a company attract and retain more qualified job applicants.

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