Does your farm team value professional development?

More engaged learning leads to better employees and a better business.

There are varying levels of appreciation when we talk ‘staff development’ -- some team members are ecstatic about the opportunity to learn, while others sigh with dread. The truth is that those who dislike the thought of professional development may only be looking at the opportunity at face value and not the bigger picture. 

We don’t have to spell out the benefits to of professional development to the operation! Of course the goal of staff development is to learn and become a better employee.  However, there are many other facets to be gained by participating in development opportunities that often go unrecognized and can lead to more engaged learning. 

Here are seven underlying benefits gained beyond building knowledge that you can point out to staff undertaking professional development opportunities:

1. Confidence and credibility. The phrase, ‘knowledge is power’ rings true. The act of learning provides new perspective and increased expertise in your field.

2. Efficiency. The goal of most staff development activities, if not all, is to teach how to do something better.  By being better, efficiencies are recognized.

3. Ability to influence and lead. By using the knowledge learned with the confidence and credibility gained, the ability to influence and lead becomes less subjective and more about the facts and figures brought to the table.  These opportunities provide a tool for more meaningful contributions to the team. 

4. Network. Professional development opportunities that are conducted in group settings provide an added benefit of building your network.  They also provide an outlet of individuals to brainstorm with and seek feedback from.

5. Keep current. It is easy to become complacent and keep things status quo.  Employee development opportunities can shed light on new approaches and tips and how to navigate through them.

6. Achieve career goals. For many, professional development is just a part of moving up the career ladder.  Whether necessary for advancement or not, encourage it as a motivator for your team.

7. Become a better employee. Enlighten staff that development opportunities are about getting more out of their staff.  Being the best they can be for the operation hopefully is reciprocated in things like better compensation, flexibility, perks, advancement and more!

Remember, the more professional the approach the more well received!  Employee development opportunities that are planned and executed in a professional manner show your employees that this is important and should be taken seriously.  Consider an annual employee development plan.  This can be developed in conjunction with staff and communicates to your team that staff development is important.  Having a plan also helps make sure these opportunities don’t get pushed to the back burner.

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