A Fresh Look at Professional Development Funds

by Productivity

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Professional Development funds are common among larger companies but are archaic in some of their use policies. Continuing education or professional development funds aren't as common in small businesses. Yet, they could be a make or break in loyalty and engagement in your company, as well as improving your team member's skills to your advantage. For corporate employees, paying for their development personally is almost unheard of, to the point some are just being….well, cheap. 

Marcey and Janet

Professional Development as Personal Development

Professional Development funds should also be considered personal development. Don't you think that investing in someone's personal development may make them happier, give them a creative or learning outlet, and see your company as caring about them as a whole person?

You could even check into something like Coursera and take a course for free or low cost to receive the certificate, but give your staff time during work hours to complete it. I took the Science of Well-Being course through Yale and loved it!

Professional Development at Large Companies

Old school professional development funds allocate money for each employee (often requiring a tenure) to further their education or attend a conference. The average is $500 – $2000+ depending on the role. I often work with companies that allocate $5-10k a year.  

The policies are sometimes archaic because they often require spending for a university or college course. We've discovered in the last couple of years that not only are fewer people interested in getting degrees, but a university course isn't always practical.

Consider how much you spend on meetings. If you add up the time and money spent in an hour-long meeting, you could buy an entire course for a team member that would give exponential returns.

What if your team member wanted to take a course on public speaking and hire a speaking coach to help them feel confident on Zoom and present to the board of directors?What if they wanted to advocate for diversity and inclusion at the workplace and wanted to participate in a program that gave them steps to implement? Or what if they wanted to get their inbox under control, manage their focus and attention, and be able to prioritize effectively?

These don't fall under typical professional development but may go a lot farther than a university course in less time required.

Case in point, one of our clients works at a national law firm. She's in a six-month program with a primary productivity coach. We've brought in two additional Team Specialists. One is working with her on her brand, which is sometimes misunderstood due to cultural differences. Another Specialist will work with her on her presentation and speaking skills to be taken seriously and deliver her message with confidence.

Professional Development for Small Businesses

For smaller businesses that don't have a program, you could allocate a certain percentage every year to development that could help your business. I have purchased email marketing, Google Analytics, and SEO courses for my Technical Specialist that gave her skills that she took with her to start her own business (with my encouragement) while helping RaderCo tremendously for ours. 

Professional Development as Self-Pay

And what if you don't get any professional development funds? I'm often shocked at the number of people in high-paying corporate jobs who will not pay for a course or coach to advance them if their company doesn't cover it. We have a continuation program for people who have gone through 3 or 6 months of coaching that provides one session per month and app access. A former client who makes well over six figures felt that $399 a month for continued coaching was steep. I pay more than that per hour for my coach. In all fairness, when I worked for corporate, I wasn't encouraged to use my funds, nor did it ever occur. Still, I had never heard of a coach until I hired a life coach to get me out of severe work burnout.

Professional Development for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

The funny thing is that with business owners, it's completely different. We will invest our entire paycheck if we think it will bring us ROI. In my first year of business, I paid my business coach more than I paid myself because it was an investment in my future. I've spent over $50,000 in eight years on coaches and programs. I attribute that to why we have grown into Rader Co and how I have grown as a person.

Now, here's my shameless plug. At Rader Co, companies hire us for three or 6-month coaching packages. These companies don't just hire us for their leaders. We've had coordinators and executive assistants because the innovative companies know that if the people supporting the leaders aren't able to prioritize and get out of overwhelm, they can't assist their managers or supervisors. Exec assistants to CEOs are on our roster.

For less expensive options, we have our Work Well Play More Masterclass, a self-paced program in health, productivity, and physical and digital clutter. We drip out 3-4 webinars a month for a year with habits covered in novice, pro, and master levels. Once a quarter, I host a live, virtual Ask Me Anything session where participants can ask me anything related to their new habits. For companies putting in ten or more people, you get eight additional private Ask me Anything sessions just for your company. If someone needs 1:1 along with it, we have the Masterclass Accelerator. 

Several options fit your budget.

Whether you choose to invest with RaderCo or with another company through live coaching, a self-paced course, or something else, revisit your professional development fund policy and update it to reflect our current state of education. What can help the company that can help them as leaders, improve their competencies and skills sets, and become better humans?

And if you're paying for it? Find something you are interested in as an investment in yourself. Don't wait for a company to tell you that you are important. You are. And if they don't see what you are doing as valuable, maybe it's time to find another company that will.

Are you interested in learning more about working with RaderCo in a private coaching experience or enrolling people in our very-affordable masterclass program? Book a training connection call to learn more about how we work with companies. If you're interested in the masterclass at $970 per year, go to www.workwellplaymore.com/masterclass.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects