I want to train my firm's staff, but I don't want to take away from work time. What should I do?

If done correctly, professional development is one of the wisest investments a company can make.

If done correctly, professional development is one of the wisest investments a company can make. It acts as a retention tool by helping your staff grow professionally and ensures that your team stays current on the latest skills.

It doesn't have to be expensive, but the program needs to be relevant and actionable. Too often, professional development is disregarded because of one bad session that wasn't on target, was too theoretical, or simply wasn't presented well.

In order to make professional development work, it should be viewed as an on-going element of your business rather than a one-time event. Assess how your business is changing and what skills you want your staff to learn. For example, does your team understand Web 2.0 and how to use new technology? If not, you may want to schedule some digital workshops. Could your employees strengthen their press release writing skills? Try some writing workshops to shore up experience.

In the end, professional development can go a long way toward strengthening and retaining your team.

Kim Skeltis is SVP, MD, and partner at Stratacomm.

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