The world is always in a constant process of change, and new developments are experienced every day. While change is good and exciting, it creates new challenges that people must learn to address. So, change gives people a chance to enhance their abilities hence building confidence and adding to the individual’s credibility. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) can be used as a tool to enable individuals to adapt to change faster hence enhancing efficiency. However, most people think that professional development ends with earning your degree and completing the practical experience required (Genoni, 2005 p.226). These people are not aware that without CPD, they will lag behind their colleagues in the workplace. Most people are now recognizing that continuing professional development is crucial to the improvement of skills as well as standards set by a company. The following paper is a report on the usage of CPD within organizations and the evidence required to measure the effectiveness of CPD.
Before exploring how to use and measure CPD, it is important to understand why CPD exists as well as its primary purpose. CPD exists to ascertain that professionals continuously improve their skills once they have qualified for employment. Usually, CPD begins when an individual has already completed their academic qualifications and is now working in a certain industry performing a specific function. The CPD input guarantees that further learning is delivered in a structured manner so that the employee gains relevant information that can be applied efficiently to improve services by the organization. The employee also gains practical knowledge that they can use to advance their careers further (Genoni, 2005 p.227). CPD gives individuals a chance to focus on a specific set of skills over a short period; in turn, the employee becomes more confident since there is a significant improvement in their proficiency.
As mentioned previously, the importance of CPD goes without saying given the ever-changing nature of the world. Furthermore, the world has become more competitive thus continuous improvement is the only way to survive and remain relevant. CPD helps companies as well as individuals to focus on important areas where the industry is experiencing change or development; this helps the company and the employees to avoid a shortfall in knowledge obtained. The employee can view CPD as a way to remain competitive among peers and also as an opportunity to differentiate himself from his peers in situations when this may be necessary, such as in a promotion or a job interview. Furthermore, people are increasingly becoming professionally qualified with similar sets of qualifications. Thus CPD is important to separate individuals from the pack.
The approach to CPD delivery should be properly planned to ensure that individuals are in charge and control of their career development. The individual can focus on his ambitions hence increasing his confidence and capabilities in different working environments. A well-planned approach also helps employers to focus on areas that the company needs improvement (Scales, 2011 p.61). The company can, for instance, focus CPD efforts on improving the employee’s capabilities to handle customers effectively to facilitate customer satisfaction.
The task of completing CPD lies with the individual; however, employers need to be proactive and support employees in CPD. The employer will reap numerous benefits from having a skilled workforce; also. Employees are more motivated and committed to working for the company knowing that they are also advancing the knowledge and their career. However, most employers have a misconception that CPD consumes time hence resulting from more time spent ‘away from the business.’ Such an assumption leads most employers to ignore CPD. Thus there is a need to identify effective measurement methods to determine how efficient CPD is in helping employees and employers to attain their goals while using their time and resources effectively.
Organizations should note that input-based measurement strategies are not as efficient as output-based strategies in determining the effectiveness of CPD. For instance, logging the hours used to conduct CPD activities does not accurately tell if learning has taken place. Measuring input does not also tell us whether there was any impact on practice. Companies should, therefore, use output measures to determine the effectiveness of CPD.
There are several output measures that companies can use to evaluate how effective CPD efforts were. One such variable is increased amount of knowledge; the company can use a knowledge test to establish if CPD had an impact on the amount of knowledge an employee has. Client feedback is another source of evidence that companies can utilize to evaluate the effectiveness of CPD. The company can randomly ask clients to comment on the services delivered (Genoni, 2005 p.100). An improvement in service will signify that CPD was effective. Finally, the company can use their financial records as evidence to indicate how effective CPD was. Improved financial gains show that CPD was effective.
In conclusion, CPD is vital for employees and companies to improve their competency and efficiency. However, the approach to CPD should be well planned to ensure that company time and resources are used effectively. For instance, companies should use efficient measuring methods that save time. Output-based measures are more efficient than Input-based measures since they help the company save precious time.
Genoni, P. (2005). Continuing professional development preparing for new roles in libraries; a voyage of discovery; sixth World Conference on Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning for the Library and Information Professions.
Scales, P., Pickering, J., & Senior, L. (2011). Continuing Professional Development in the Lifelong Learning Sector. Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill International (UK) Ltd. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=635371.
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