Many of the companies and teams I know see career development as a good thing ... for one person. Not every member of a team can afford to go to a conference or other career development event or cares to. The few people who take career development opportunities reap the benefits, the argument goes, while those who stay at home stagnate or fizzle out. Sound harsh?
To be sure, marketing events and other career development opportunities have the potential to profoundly change those who take the chance to go. But career development doesn't just benefit those who engage with it directly. Here are some important ways career development's positive effects ripple through an entire organization or focused team.
Sometimes employees at a company can have a hard time gaining perspective on the rest of the industry or specialization they're in. It's not uncommon in companies to have people who are worker bees - you know the type. They put their heads down and work on their own projects, killing it day after day. When they come up for air, or for another cup of coffee, they might be lucky to remember there's a team or a company outside their own cubicles or spaces. They often aren't accustomed to looking beyond the boundaries of their own company, into the broader industry.
Employees and managers need to remember they're part of a broader industry as well, even if they never interact with people outside their own company. A professional development event like a conference, or even a more general development opportunity like Leighton Interactive's event One Squared, helps employees and managers understand the corporate world outside of their company. Even just a single day of rubbing shoulders with other professionals gives valuable perspective, which people bring back to their companies.
Of course, most people don't just stop at sitting in on a keynote or participating in a Q+A panel. People who talk or casually get to know employees from different companies at seminars or conferences network by trading business cards and contact information.
Even if networking isn't the purpose of marketing seminars, it's bound to happen. We're social animals. People, especially in related industries, love to get to know each other and find out what they have to offer each other.
The most obvious purpose for that kind of interaction is individual professional advancement. But teams and companies can network, too. A business connection made at a professional development event may bear fruit down the line, in terms of a contract or other partnership opportunties.
Learn New Things
Perhaps the most obvious purpose of a professional development opportunity is to learn new things,whether that's new skills, refreshers, or just a paradigm shift. If a company's employees are professionally licensed, they may require professional development in the form of continuing education on a regular schedule. Otherwise, this instruction just makes them more valuable employees.
It's obvious that an employee with these skills is more valuable to their organization. They may be able to use new technology, or they may have a brand new skillset, or exposure to tools that can change their professional game. They can apply that knowledge to make their whole team better. It doesn't matter if they have the knowledge or "authority" needed to professionally impact other members of their team, they'll spread these ideas broadly, and everyone will pick up a little of their knowledge.
Revitalize The Organization
So when even one employee goes to a professional development opportunity, they bring back knowledge, skills, connections, and a broadened perspective they share with the rest of their company. But most importantly, they bring new energy. If even one employee has attended a professional development opportunity, they'll feel freshly enthused about their job and their work. That kind of attitude is infectious and can breathe fresh life into a whole team.
So, the morale of this story is this. Don't hesitate to send employees to professional networking opportunities: Everyone benefits. And while the company's waiting for the next perfect event, be sure to check out our Leighton Interactive's blog for more valuable insights about how to take a marketing team to the next level.