Professional Development of All Shapes and Sizes
As organizations work to build and organize their staff structure, it’s becoming important to offer professional development opportunities. Just as health insurance and retirement plans have become common components of benefit packages, employees look to have avenues that allow improvement in their careers. Historically, the most common forms of professional development have come in the form of continuing education offered at local universities or community colleges. Single-day workshops, certificate programs, or even full degrees have been examples of what organizations might offer, particularly to tenured employees.
However, these types of programs can be very expensive to nonprofits, and might not be a feasible option to smaller organizations. There are other valuable opportunities that can be offered to staff members, equally beneficial to the employee and the organization alike.
Mentoring: This form of professional development can be offered to individuals who are new to your organization, to their job function, or new to the nonprofit environment as a whole. Whether pairing an employee with a senior staff member in your organization or with another trusted member of a similar organization, it will allow the employee to learn best practices and how they can excel at their job.
Reflective Supervision: This approach can allow employees and supervisors alike to meet on a regular basis to set both quantitative and qualitative goals, while being able to reflect and analyze the progress and performance of the individual. While many organizations set meetings once or twice per year for reviews, it will help to schedule meetings more frequently, whether on a quarterly or monthly basis. These meetings will help the employee improve and allow for the organization to meet their goals.
Coaching: Coaching is important to enhance a person’s competencies in a specific skill area by providing a process of observation, reflection, and action. This type of training is best suited to be done by a third party consultant, as they can provide an outsider’s prospective to a single member of the staff or to the entire staff.