How HR Can Use CPD to Boost Employee Retention Rate

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HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Professional development can be an important part of encouraging employees to stay loyal to your company, helping them feel fulfilled in their current role instead of looking elsewhere.

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How HR Can Use CPD to Boost Employee Retention Rat
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Continued professional development (CPD) can be important for getting the most from your employees, helping them to broaden their skillsets and add more value to the business. However, it can also be a key element in employee retention and reducing your turnover.

Why is CPD important?

There are many reasons why CPD should be a priority for any HR department, one of the most compelling of which is compliance. If you operate in an industry where keeping up with evolving rules and regulations is essential - financial services or healthcare, for example - you need to know that your people have the necessary knowledge to ensure the business is complying with the law.

Investing in CPD is a good way to give your workforce the time and resources they need to study and stay up to date with the latest legislation.

Furthermore, it's important to support your people in their efforts to grow and develop professionally if you want to keep up with the breakneck pace of technological advancement. The digital revolution has already transformed countless industries, and this will continue to be the case throughout the 2020s, as technologies like AI, blockchain and automation become more influential.

To stay relevant at this time of rapid change, you need to invest in your people and their capabilities.

The benefits of CPD (for employer and employee)

Businesses need the right knowledge and abilities in their workforce to succeed. Gartner research has highlighted the global talent shortage as the top emerging risk facing organizations, while Korn Ferry has warned that, by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because of skills gaps.

Committing to CPD will help you build a stronger talent pipeline so you're well-positioned to overcome current challenges and seize opportunities, but also prepared for what the future could hold for your industry.

Furthermore, showing that you're ready to support people's professional development will boost your employer brand and contribute to a stronger employee experience. This will fuel productivity and reduce staff turnover.

For employees, they’ll be more likely to gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from their work if they feel like they're constantly developing and learning new things.

As well as making them a more valuable asset to their current organization (which puts them in a better position to negotiate higher pay), CPD will enhance workers' long-term employability and future career prospects.

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What's the difference between CPD and CPE?

Continuing professional education (CPE) is an American term, while CPD is generally used in other English-speaking countries like the UK, Australia and Canada.

But there are deeper differences than this. CPE often refers to ongoing professional education in fields where it's important for professionals to keep up with the latest knowledge and keep their licenses and accreditations up to date, such as accounting.

However, CPD relates to general developments in professional standards, skills and practices. It's relevant in most industries and therefore holds value for all employers, regardless of your size or budget.

How CPD differs from training and development

Where workplace training and development tends to be more formal, structured and led by the employer, CPD can be more fluid and personalized to the individual.

By bringing together different methods, ideas and learning techniques that work for them, employees can play an active role in managing their own professional growth and evolution. Effective CPD recognizes that one approach won't work for all, so people should be given a level of control over how they learn and expand their skill sets.

The focus of CPD is very much on outcomes - as opposed to the methods used and time taken to achieve them - and how the process can deliver results that link directly to the individual's work and performance.

But how can human resources (HR) use CPD to boost employee retention?

1. Ensure its implementation

As HR, you have a responsibility to ensure that company policies are consistently enforced across the business. It's important that CPD is treated as high a priority as any other policy. Whenever there is a new hire who comes on board, you should ensure that they get the standard amount of training needed as they start their role. This allows them to not only comply with any workplace regulations you may have, but also makes them feel part of the company.

It's also essential that you follow this CPD in the onboarding process by making training available and accessible to other professionals. This shouldn't just be to update employees on any change of company policies or regulations, though this is important, but should also be used to help employees further their career.

2. Make it accessible

Any training program you have in place should be easy to access for all employees. Not only does this mean you need to consider the different abilities of staff, such as those with hearing or eyesight problems, but you should make it as simple as possible. Employees are much more likely to engage with CPD if accessing it is a streamlined process.

For many companies, utilizing the intranet has become an effective way of allowing employees - regardless of their location - to access training resources. If this is a foundation of your CPD, then you need to make sure it works as it's needed and that the user experience is as good as possible.

3. Personalize it wherever possible

One of the core benefits of CPD is that it allows employees to diversify their skills where they see fit. Of course, there are likely to be mandatory training elements that you need everyone to complete from time to time, but anything career-focused should be left up to individuals.

This doesn't mean that you should leave it completely in their hands, as employees will also want to be supported throughout any training. A good way to solve this is to give staff CPD credits to be used over X amount of time. This pushes them to prioritize training but also allows them to choose from a variety of skills to develop.

4. Include peer-to-peer training

Often, HR think about external resources or sessions to upskill their employees but there's a lot of value in peer-to-peer training too. This isn't just a cost-effective way of delivering training but can also work to improve company culture and teamwork within a department or the wider business.

There's the added benefit of peer-to-peer sessions, meaning you can ensure that employees are being shaped in a way that aligns with your own company practices and vision. Going outside the business can definitely add value to your employees but there's a risk that they may be taught something that isn't how your company wants to do it. Internal training means you don't run this risk and can have more control over what is delivered.

5. Involve managers

Managers should be at the heart of every CPD program. They have a big responsibility in engaging individuals in training so getting them onboard from the start is essential. Development plans should be created for each employee, where their training and skillshare activity can be tracked, as well as goals for the future.

Having someone who understands the pain points and motivations of individuals involved in the process can also help match up the right sessions to the most appropriate employees.

Boosting retention

All of these factors should help your employees to engage with your CPD program, helping them to feel more fulfilled in their role. This boosts your company's employee retention rate, as well as making people more valuable in their positions.

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