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How to spend professional development funds for maximum ROI

Spending professional development funds wisely is key to optimizing ROI and ensuring employees get the most valuable skills and knowledge. Here's how.
Mike Jeavons, Content Writer

Spending professional development funds wisely is key to optimizing ROI and ensuring employees get the most valuable skills and knowledge. 

Pull quote with the text: Spending professional development funds wisely is key to optimizing ROI and ensuring employees get the most valuable skills and knowledge.

The right learning and development solutions will empower individuals to grow and advance in their careers, while simultaneously becoming more efficient and effective at their jobs, supporting the continued growth of your organization.

But which solutions are right for you? Where should you invest professional development funds? That’s exactly what we’ll explore in this post.

Understanding the value of professional development

Professional development is vital for both employees and businesses. For employees, it helps them develop their skills and knowledge, which allows them to progress in their careers and feel like they’re growing professionally. For businesses, it ensures they can adapt to an ever-evolving landscape and not be left behind by competitors.

The impact of professional development on employee retention

When employees continuously develop, they’re more engaged, have better job satisfaction, and feel more valued. These benefits add up to better employee retention, which is a key factor in creating a solid working culture and avoiding the significant costs associated with high levels of turnover.

The role of professional development in business growth

Happy, engaged employees perform better. They’re more productive, and they have greater levels of innovation and creativity. When your employees perform better, they serve your clients and customers better, meaning your entire organization performs better. Therefore, a culture of learning is essential to encourage continual business growth.

Strategic planning for professional development spending

When considering how to spend professional development funds, it’s vital to align the allocation of resources to support both individual and organizational goals. 

Consider the six steps below before making your investment:

  1. Assess business needs - Understand current and future organizational needs, identifying skills and competencies required to stay competitive and hit objectives.
  2. Create personal development plans - Managers should create PDPs for all line reports, covering an employee’s aspirations and tying into the company’s needs. PDPs should outline the steps an employee should follow to progress and understand how their actions will benefit themselves and the company.
  3. Link to organizational goals - Your organization’s strategic goals must directly link to any professional development initiatives you undertake. 
  4. Allocate budget - Allocate funds to address critical skill gaps, which should be prioritized to maximize ROI. 
  5. Choose a solution with a mix of learning methods - This caters to different learning preferences and styles and could include text, image, video, quiz, audio, and in-person learning.
  6. Measure your success - You can’t understand the ROI of your spending without analyzing the impact of learning on your company. Establish KPIs to evaluate your professional development initiatives. 

Balancing cost and quality in professional development

It’s crucial to look for reputable training providers and courses for your teams. And it’s worth considering the format in which your employees will learn. For instance, will they take time out of work to attend conferences or in-person training courses? Or would you prefer to offer a more flexible online learning environment, such as the courses available at Go1

Both classroom-style and online learning offer valuable opportunities for employees to upskill, but online courses certainly offer some advantages, such as:

  • Convenient & flexible - Employees can learn at their own pace, whether they set chunks of time aside or just dip in and out of courses when time allows. 
  • Cost-effective - With no travel expenses and less time taken out of the working day, online learning is often less expensive than classroom learning. 
  • Access to experts - Employees can learn from experts around the world from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Engaging formats - Gamification, videos, simulations, and other multimedia options make online learning an engaging way to achieve professional development.
  • Continuous access - Online learning resources are always available to revisit at your leisure.
  • Personalized learning pathways - Online learning doesn't have to be generic. Employees can find courses and learning pathways tailored to their specific aspirations.

Pull quote with the text: With online learning, balancing cost and quality doesn't need to be a compromise, because quality is available in a cost-effective solution.

With online learning, balancing cost and quality doesn’t need to be a compromise, because quality is thankfully available in a cost-effective solution. It should therefore be an option you consider carefully if maximizing ROI is a priority.

Measuring the impact of professional development

You can’t evaluate ROI without having a dependable way to measure the impact of your professional development initiatives. But what are the best ways to measure their impact? Here are seven steps to consider:

  1. Do pre- and post-assessments - Before launching an initiative, assess employees’ current skills and knowledge, then compare after training.
  2. Use learning analytics - Many learning management systems (LMSs) provide analytics that track employees’ progress, assessment scores, completion rates, and other performance indicators. These metrics are a great way to analyze the effectiveness of a professional development solution, as well as engagement levels.
  3. Get employee feedback - Less high-tech but still valuable, getting feedback from employees can give you an idea of how satisfied they are with the available resources and how they feel it has affected their performance.
  4. Monitor performance improvement - Performance metrics can highlight knowledge improvements among employees in areas you’ve already highlighted, showing that your organization is progressing toward its learning objectives. These metrics also show your business is compliant with appropriate industry standards.
  5. Review time and cost savings - Has the training you’ve invested in led to tangible time or cost savings in day-to-day operations? If you’ve implemented online learning, compare your spending to what it might be with traditional learning methods to calculate time and cost savings.
  6. Consider retention and job satisfaction - Has your professional development investment affected retention and job satisfaction? Engaged employees who feel they’re progressing are more likely to stick around. 
  7. Look at long-term impact - Continue to review employees’ growth and development over time. Is training contributing to their success?

Make the most of your professional development investment with Go1

With Go1, you and your employees can gain instant access to the largest learning library in the world at a fraction of the cost of traditional, classroom-style learning.

For more insights, subscribe to the Go1 newsletter to stay on top of all the latest L&D trends. Or, you can book a demo today to find out how Go1 can help with your team’s learning needs. 

Go1 helps millions of people in thousands of organizations engage in learning that is relevant, effective and inspiring.
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