The Cost of Not Investing in Professional Development

Julie Checknita, Employer Services | September-21-11



Professional development is critical to both the careers of employees and, more importantly, to the organizations that employ them and rely on their skills, knowledge and expertise. Similar to how an employee increases their competence and value through continued development, organizations can improve their productivity, marketability, profitability and retention by supporting and fostering their most valuable assets – their employees.

As a means to cut costs during the recession, many organizations cut what they considered to be nonessential benefits and attributes. Unfortunately, what many of these organizations failed to consider was that in the long-run, cutting professional development can actually do more harm than good. Without an ongoing commitment and investment to professional development, organizations put themselves at risk of being left in the dust by competitors, and literally being left by staff.

Other consequences include:

  • Being ill-equipped to  face the changes that occur due to volatile external factors
  • Losing  that competitive edge
  • Using out-of-date tools and techniques
  • Running the risk of losing key employees and knowledge to the competition
  • Low staff morale resulting in lower productivity
  • Inability to develop robust succession plans

On the flip side, organizations who invest in professional development create a highly satisfying work environment, and thus attract and retain exceptional staff. By developing the skills and knowledge of their employees, they also increase their own intellectual capital and the overall organizational knowledge bank to draw on for the good of the organization.

Other benefits include:

  • Providing cost-effective training while giving employees the autonomy to select the areas they wish to develop.      
  • Developing a more adaptable and skilled workforce to respond to a constantly evolving industry.    
  • Increasing the odds of attracting high caliber employees that are more likely to stay.    
  • Communicating the organization’s commitment to employees and in turn increasing loyalty, motivation and ultimately retention.     
  • Fostering a better skilled, more informed and more efficient workforce.

Because of this, it is crucial that organizations play an active role in the development of their workforce. With a clear professional development strategy in place, organizations can have access to a skilled and adaptable workforce that will help contribute to the continued viability and long-term success of the organization.

To help support organizations in their efforts to build a staff of engaged employees and increase their human capital, ECO Canada offers the following professional development training courses for environmental professionals:

The Harvard Stepping up to Management online training program, which is designed to assist your employees develop transferable people management skills. This program focuses on new managers, but can be of benefit to any employee that is or may eventually become a leader of as little as one employee or as many as a hundred.

The Canadian Centre for Environmental Education’s Certificate and Master in Environmental Practice, which have been developed through a partnership between ECO Canada and Royal Roads University. These programs present an opportunity for your employees to obtain not only professional development for themselves, but also provides endless benefits and prestige for a company through developing a staff of accredited professionals who are trained on the latest environmental practices and standards across the country.

Both the Certificate and Master Program are distance-based programs that are flexible and up-to-date with what is happening in the environmental industry.

For more information on these or any other HR solutions that you may need, please contact: