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Professional Development – Getting your money’s worth!

Professional Development – Getting your money’s worth!

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If you are spending money on opportunities to develop knowledge, skills and competencies, either your own or those of your staff, are you sure that it will result in improved client outcomes?

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Working backwards from the improved client outcomes you would like to achieve:

  • Will the service that is delivered to clients improve?
  • Will staff retention improve?
  • Will staff have the opportunity to change their work practices and improve their performance?
  • Will staff gain increased skills, confidence and motivation?

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You can help to ensure that these outcomes are more likely by taking a systematic approach to professional development.

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Conduct a needs assessment for your organisation

Using your strategic plan and identifying client outcomes, clearly articulate the organisation, team and worker actions that are required to achieve these outcomes, and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies (KSAC) needed to effectively achieve these goals.

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Then undertake an audit of these KSAC – identifying, for each KSAC, who needs them, who has them and who needs further development in them.

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Set goals for professional development

With each staff member, set specific, challenging, achievable targets

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Develop a professional development plan

Documentation should include the program’s aims and objectives, the performance standards required of staff and the resources required

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Identify and implement professional development activities

These can include not only formal education and training but also a range of in-house activities such as mentoring, clinical supervision, study groups, site visits, online learning and work placements which utilise the skills and knowledge already within the organisation.

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Evaluate the outcomes

Identify whether goals have been achieved; whether the program has had impact on work practice and delivery of client services.

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Enhancing work practice changes

Since the aim of professional development is for workers to transfer their new knowledge and skills to the workplace, it is important to recognise the factors that will impact upon this

  • Supportive supervisors
  • Supportive co-workers
  • An organisational culture with flexible procedures which support changes in work practice
  • Managers and supervisors provide support, recognition, incentives and reward for implementing positive changes
  • Organisational goals and strategies are supported by procedures that support training and training transfer

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Well planned and supported professional development has the capacity to improve worker performance, wellbeing and retention and implement more effective organisational change.  Are you using it well?

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For more information and resources and tools to support professional development, download NCETA’s Theory into Practice: Professional Development

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