Last week our team attended a professional development session hosted by the North Carolina chapter of Public Relations Society of America. With live and local association events, webinars, screencasts, podcasts and annual conferences, there’s an abundance of professional development opportunities.
My advice to managers — designate a professional development program and budget. Some companies invest more in top performers, while others allocate resources based on job level. For Clairemont’s approach, see the video below shot by the Start-Thinking team last year when I joined them in Kansas City for a Social: IRL conference featuring Sarah Evans.
My advice to those seeking professional growth — start with the local chapter of your industry associations. Smart employers encourage development opportunities, and most managers are receptive to the time and financial commitment. However, many want to see that you’re committed at a local/smaller scale first. Attending a national conference that includes travel might be a longer term goal and will require you to do your research to show the expected ROI.
Lastly, keep in mind that professional development doesn’t have to be expensive or take time away from the office. If you are truly sincere about wanting to expand your knowledge, be willing to make a personal commitment which might involve doing it during non-office hours.
I’ve started downloading books and podcasts through iTunes so that I can listen and learn on my iPhone while I’m running, driving or walking to get a cup of coffee. What have you found that works for you and your team?