4imprint, LLC
Photo of man training employees.

| Updated: January 26, 2021


Learning opportunities and professional-development gifts drive employee engagement

Posted: April 01, 2019 | Updated: January 26, 2021 | Joshua Grover-David Patterson

Sometimes a simple idea can sound like a high school story problem:

If it costs an average of $15,000 to replace an employee, and 93 percent of employees will stay at a company that invests in their careers, why don’t more companies encourage employee personal and professional development?

The fact is businesses that invest in employee development have 24 percent higher profit margins.

That’s a story with a happy ending!

Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center knows the value of employee development. They recently combined a motivational speaker and in-house discussion to help employees with their personal development.

“The topic was ‘Reconnecting to our joy in work,’” said Melba Valentine, a human resources assistant. “People in the healthcare field get burned out a lot. The speaker discussed everything from random acts of kindness to topics like quality and safety.

“Each department also spent some time in breakout groups, discussing ways to help them prevent burnout and how preventing burnout could help them provide better customer service,” Valentine said.

The health center gave everyone a Folding Umbrella with Auto Open as a professional-development gift and token of thanks. It was the perfect gift for their rainy climate.Folding Umbrella with Auto Open

Thank your employees with a bold and useful professional development gift!

Professional vs. personal development

Professional and personal development can take employees’ knowledge and skills, along with your company’s productivity, to the next level. But the two terms are not the same. Let’s see how they differ.

Professional development

Employees improve how they do their job by enhancing hard skills, like taking a technology course or a class on developing a budget.

Personal development

Employees improve soft skills, which can range from leadership to communication.

Illustration of Personal vs. Professional development

Build your development plan

If you’re ready to set up your company’s development plan, Insperity® offers a step-by-step process for combining your company’s needs with employee goals:

Begin with your company goals

Decide what you need to achieve as a company. Does your team have the right skills to help you get there? By identifying opportunities for employee development using personal-development gifts, your staff will gain valuable skills while you save time and money hunting for more team members.

Talk to employees about their needs

See which skills your employees want to develop. Where possible, find places where the skills you require and the skills they want to develop intersect.

Recognize potential vs. readiness

You may have team members who want to move into management or another department. If your employees want to move into roles that will require growth and learning, take an honest assessment of which skills they will need.

Once you’ve inventoried their skills, assemble a plan of action so the transition into their new role goes smoothly.

Select the best style of training

While a formal university class or series of classes might be needed, there are multiple ways employees can learn skills:

  • Special projects or stretch assignments.
  • Working one-on-one with a mentor.
  • Learning under an internal or external subject matter expert.
  • Online learning.
  • Industry conferences.
  • Cross-training and problem-solving.
Photo of employees engaged in conversation.

For Hour Children, an all-staff training once every two years helps the team build personal and professional skills. The nonprofit helps incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children assimilate into the community. Because they offer so many services, the team uses a variety of skills to help the organization be the best it can be.

At the last staff development, Hour Children brought in a professional speaker to help with “dream team” development, said Frances McMurry, donation pickup coordinator. Development topics ranged from interpersonal skills to professionalism in the workplace. In addition to listening to the speaker and group discussions, the group participated in several fun exercises.

Everyone received a Seaside Travel Mug as a professional-development gift.

“I wanted to offer something people would use,” McMurry said.

“Everyone here drinks coffee or tea or something cold. And they can take it wherever they want.”

Seaside Travel MugReward your team with a promotional item everyone can use!

Create a timeline

Develop a timeline that can help your company and each employee achieve their goals. Think about using the following steps:

  • Create check-ins to verify the employee is learning the needed skills within the timeline.
  • Give them an opportunity to use their new skills, either by easing them into a new position or allowing them to take the reins for a short period.
  • Continue to evaluate their skills and, if needed, start the process again.

To help with their development, provide associates with personal-development gifts—like a USB drive for storing notes and training documents—and the flex-time, funds or in-house classes needed to keep moving forward.

Clicker USB Drive

Get more engaged employees

The world of business is changing rapidly. Offering employees learning opportunities, along with personal and professional-development gifts, will help your company keep up while you hold on to and attract amazing team members.

Promotional products that make great professional-development gifts!

Add a motivational learning message to branded gifts!

Buckle 15" Laptop Briefcase Bag Custom Accent Stainless Travel Mug  Mercury Notebook with Stylus Pen


Looking for more information about this topic? Email 4ideas@4imprint.com with inquiries.