Why Both Personal and Professional Development are Important

Mental Health

Colleagues discussing personal and professional development during a meeting in the office.

In today’s workplace, professional and personal development go hand in hand. One without the other doesn’t lead to the same level of success. Find out why it’s important to offer employees both professional and personal development options.

What is Professional Development?

Professional development is gaining skills and experience necessary to progress your career. In many cases, professional development can help workers avoid feelings of complacency in the workplace. The newly acquired skills may assist you in your current role or help you secure your next role.

How Professional Development Can Help Your Career

Professional development can give a worker the skills and experience they need to take on more tasks and higher duties. Sometimes the experience is enough to boost their confidence and encourage them to progress their career. Having a plan on what to do next in your professional development can help keep your career progression from stalling.

A professional development plan is a list of steps you need to take to achieve your career goals. The plan can categorise goals as short term (within the next 12 months), mid-term (within the next two years) and long term (within the next three to five years). A detailed plan will usually include a variety of learning types from experiential learning (hands-on), education, reflection on past learnings and exposure (watching others). The plan may include a variety of tasks that help progress your career such as:

  • Completing a qualification.

  • Undertaking a course that will fill a gap in your skills.

  • Taking on a role that will give you the experience you need for the next role.

  • Finding a mentor who can provide advice.

  • Joining a public speaking group to improve your skills.

  • Becoming a mentor to advise someone else on developing their career.

  • Volunteering in an industry you’re interested in.

  • Networking, reaching out to professional contacts.

  • Taking on more responsibilities at your current role.

  • Practising interviews.

Your plan shouldn’t be set in stone, rather it should change slightly as you see new opportunities, or significantly if you decide to change your career direction.

What is Personal Development?

Personal development are activities that improve your skills, talent, and potential to improve your quality of life. Personal growth allows individuals to be the best versions of themselves with the confidence and maturity necessary to be successful in most situations they may find themselves in. Personal development improves personal aspects of life but also helps increase your knowledge and furthers your career because you're a productive employee.

How Personal Development Can Help Your Career

When thinking about their personal development, many people will complete a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis while others may only concentrate on listing their strengths and weaknesses.

Personal development goals can have an impact on your personal life and professional life. Personal development helps you stay motivated, rather than just going through the motions at work and home. It gives you goals to strive for. Personal development can help uncover the skills and talents you have but aren't aware of. You can decide to focus on these so you can excel in an area or you may decide to work on the gaps.

Common personal development goals include:

  • Stop procrastinating.

  • Get organised.

  • Becoming more proactive. 

  • Manage stress levels better.

  • Be more resilient.

  • Be more mindful/present in the moment. 

  • Improve willpower.

  • Practice gratitude.

  • Give up bad habits.

Reasons Why Organisations Invest in Personal and Professional Development

There are a number of reasons why organisations invest in the personal and professional development of their employees.

#1 Reduce Staff Turnover

Staff stay with an employer longer if they feel they’re valued and the organisation is willing to invest in developing their skills and experience.

#2 Increase Employees’ Confidence

A course or extra training can give an employee the boost of confidence they need to do a task in their current role or to apply for a new role. Better skills and confidence can reduce procrastination and increase engagement.

#3 Provides Career Direction 

Writing out the steps of a professional development plan can give employees a sense of purpose and direction with their career.

Learning About Personal and Professional Development

Some people started personal development from a very young age and then worked on their professional development as a teenager or young adult. For others, it doesn’t come as naturally or they’ve lost interest in the development of their future self. A manager can help them find that spark of interest and point them in the right direction.  

For managers that would like to learn more about encouraging personal and professional development in the workplace, our workplace wellbeing programs can provide assistance. Call 1800 258 487 or contact us online to learn more. 

Category: Mental Health