Hiring and retaining talented staff has long been a challenge in our industry. However, with workforce trends that some are calling “The Great Resignation” currently underway, the need for advancement leaders to create an environment that attracts, nurtures, and retains talent has become urgent.

Luckily, there is clear data showing what advancement professionals are seeking in their careers, and professional development is high on that list. And investing here not only improves employee satisfaction, it also improves your results by elevating team skills, contributing toward a culture of excellence and creating a talent pipeline for your institution.

With intentionality and thoughtfulness, you can create professional development opportunities that enrich individuals and contribute building your larger team. Some of my favorite ways to do this are:

1. After a webinar, have team members debrief together and discuss next steps. Meet again in a few weeks to discuss what’s been implemented, what’s working, and what’s not.

2. Staff members who attend a conference should present key learnings to the team, and then ask the team to brainstorm how those learnings can apply to your team.

3. Invite employees interested in growth to identify roles they’d like to learn more about and have them job shadow. Afterward, ask what appealed to them and what didn’t; and discuss the skills they should develop to obtain a similar role.

4. For those who want to become managers, or strengthen their management skills, ask them to identify a monthly management topic for you two to talk through, identifying strategies and styles.

5. Most importantly: invest in your own knowledge about how to develop team members. Join me for a complimentary webinar on January 5 to explore how you can use webinars, conferences, coaching, and trainings for your staff to grow results, build performance, and increase retention. I’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t) and will provide practical and easy-to-implement advice to ensure that you and your team are getting the most out of your professional development investments.

How are you creating development opportunities, whether for your team or yourself? Share in the comments so we can learn together. And don’t forget to join me on January 5!

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