Professional Development Shows a Big Return on Investment

By Rachel Cain, Senior Associate

At Hatcher, our People Pillar is dedicated to strengthening initiatives that empower staff through best practices in the workplace. Team discussions and projects cover a variety of topics, from time management strategies to employee satisfaction surveys. Recently, we’ve focused on how staff can take advantage of professional development opportunities.

We believe it’s important to devote some of our valuable work hours to professional development. By investing time and energy in cultivating skills, talents, and capabilities, we help keep staff fully engaged in the kind of work that energizes them.

By encouraging staff to professionally network, join associations, attend workshops and symposiums, obtain certifications, and pursue other training opportunities, we seek to broaden their interests, promote thought leadership, and expand their creativity, passion, and curiosity. We want those qualities to remain strong throughout their tenure here, so Hatcher invests annually in each staff member to participate in a professional development opportunity of their choosing. These learning opportunities help keep the spark of enthusiasm lit.

And that’s our intention, especially when employees devote their PD dollars to complement their career achievements, as did one staff member who pursued and obtained her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Others have engaged in Web UX development, joined professional interest groups like Women in Film and the Design Justice Network. Our people also share upcoming opportunities, such as voter data insight webinars, government and political communications panels, and virtual events on building social justice power through best practices.

For staff needing inspiration about how they want to spend their PD dollars, Hatcher curated a professional development opportunities list — by sector and capability — with information about the time commitment, location, and cost. Engaging in these helps staff keep their skills up to date as the industry evolves.

It’s also important to be intentional about each person’s professional development journey. This way, each staff member can focus on the skill sets they hope to cultivate, as well as create tangible steps to accomplish these goals. Every year, Hatcher staff create several SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) goals for the year ahead. For instance, if a staff member hopes to become more competent in public speaking, a goal may entail participating in a few workshops before the end of the year. As Hatcher staff learn these skills, they’ll recognize the direct impact professional development has on their work and how it benefits them and their clients, creating a sense of ownership.

Professional development keeps us committed to working for our clients. It’s not something that’s just “nice to have” — it’s essential for our future-oriented staff. At Hatcher, we seek to create a better world. And investing time and energy in cultivating new skills, talents, and capabilities helps each of us rise to that challenge as we create the best deliverables we can for our clients.