All too frequently, the organisations making this remark may have only a
lukewarm commitment to the personal development programmes that really build
employees’ skills. But change is in the air.
More and more employers are realising that to attract and retain good people,
you need to offer more than money. You also need to find the time and space to
let them build the skills that will improve their promotion prospects and make
them more valuable to the firm.
A catalyst for the changing mood has been the advent of mandatory continuous
professional development (CPD). For the legal profession, CPD has long been a
fact of life, built into schedules by employers and employees alike. For the
accounting profession, it’s a brave new world.
The accounting institutes have declared that the onus for making CPD happen
will sit with the individual. But this hasn’t stopped the more forward-thinking
HR departments from realising that the provision of meaningful CPD, which
genuinely builds employees’ capability and value, can be a key weapon in the
battle for increased staff retention.
A structured approach to CPD involves developing both hard and soft skills.
Well-rounded programmes include core technical subjects that may reap an
immediate return for the company, either through increasing the level of
expertise the firm can offer to the market, or through in-sourcing work that had
previously been outsourced.
Against the background of mandatory CPD, we can expect training budgets to be
seen increasingly as core, rather than discretionary spend.
We can also expect them to be set with greater care and greater scrutiny of
whether better staff retention and capability is achieved, meaning there will be
renewed efforts to ‘measure the impact of HR’.
Above all, employers will act more and more on the realisation that if they
don’t take CPD seriously, their competitors will and their employees will take
Si Hussain is chief executive of BPP Professional Development
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