With the professional world changing drastically over the last three years due to the pandemic, it is important for companies to prioritize the professional development of their employees more than ever. Many employees, especially incoming staff that are just starting their careers, may not know what the professional world was like prior to the pandemic. And these employees could find it hard to jump start or continue their professional development.
How can this be done in the 2023 post pandemic era? Here are three ways:
1. Promote continuous learning to make learning a habit.
By not only promoting but helping to fund continuing professional education (CPE) for both non-CPA and CPA employees, learning will be encouraged. In the remote/virtual world, this can easily be done via Zoom, webinars, self-study, etc. Offering compensation or partial payment for advanced certifications such as the CPA, CFE and Masters programs is an extra incentive for employees to make these a priority in their professional development plans. For in-office employees, companies can offer study hours after normal work hours to encourage employees to take time to study for their certifications/programs and work with their fellow colleagues. My firm promotes this and even offers dinner for anyone participating in study hours.
2. Host events to meet and share expertise/experience.
Hosting events in-person or virtually for internal and external individuals to attend goes a long way. For example, “Lunch and Learns” are useful. My office does a “Pizza with the Partners” every month where a partner shares their own professional development and journey of how they became a partner. The office offers pizza lunch, which is an extra incentive for staff to join. This can also be done virtually via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
3. Offer mentor or career counselor programs.
Having formal programs where mentors/career counselors are assigned to employees based on their current needs or growth plan is popular. It’s best to require frequent check-ins (both formal and informal) with these programs. Firms can also include a monthly or quarterly stipend to be used for lunch or coffee, which motivates the mentors and mentees to meet and discuss various goals and growth progress.
These are just a few tips that can help companies promote the professional development of in-office, hybrid or remote employees. More-experienced employees should also help the newer employees with their professional development to ensure continuous growth.