Learning and Development for the Administrative Professional

Co-written with Lindsay Taylor as part of the blog series for “what people are saying about administrators” campaign

Lindsay Taylor, Director of executive training and coaching organisation Your Excellency Limited shares her thoughts on learning and development for the administrative professional.

The Facts
According to The IAM “the value of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in today’s work environment is fundamental to excellence and success: it is essential to your continued effectiveness and development.”1

It is widely acknowledged that CPD has vast benefit and value, indeed the CPD Standards claim “the benefits can be seen from two perspectives – that of the employee and that of the employer” 2  

Giving employees access to the latest learning and best practice with technology, business thinking and strategies will allow them to bring this learning back to the workplace to implement, in turn making them more effective and efficient.

Additionally, investing in employee CPD builds loyalty. Loyal employees are more engaged and more engaged employees are more productive.

When a new learner signs up with us to undertake an administrative qualification they are immensely proud to have received “sign off” for their training request.  For some, it’s been an uphill battle to convince their management team of the value-add of completing the training especially if they are going to be out of the office attending the training sessions. 

For others whose organisations more readily support the learning and development needs of their employees, the learner’s pride is focused on being part of an organisation who value their contribution.  These learners are proud to be a part of an organisation that invests in their staff  and the resulting loyalty, commitment and engagement from these employees is evident.  

In a recent 2018 Workplace Learning Trends Report issued by LinkedIn 3 it was revealed that 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Richard Branson

A new Level 4 learner with Your Excellency Limited commented:

“I actually feel privileged to work for an organisation who value CPD”

Do you think it’s right that the learner should feel “privileged”? Shouldn’t every company invest in their staff and this be the “norm” rather than the “exception”?

The Dilemmas and the Solutions

There seems to be a disconnect emerging between employers acknowledging that CPD is both beneficial to the employer and employee and employers putting the physical options and plans in place.   Why should we feel “privileged” when our CPD is supported?  Why do administrative staff have to go out of their way to convince their organisations to sign off their training requests and to invest in their CPD?   What are the barriers?  And what will empower employers to make active suggestions of learning and development, rather than approving a CPD opportunity someone has brought to them?

Administrative staff in particular can feel un-supported in the workplace.  A reason often cited is budgetary constraints.   If you have no option but to self-fund, find out whether you can pay for training in instalments or whether the training company will offer you a discount to take this into account.  We have learners who are self-funding their CPD and we’ve agreed that they pay per course they attend – rather than having the outlay of the full qualification cost upfront.  

Whilst asking your company to fund courses and training may be a challenge for you, there are some tips and guidance provided by The IAM that will help you be more prepared. The IAM split have split the process into 3 steps (original article here):

  1. Identify Your Company’s Policy: Your company may already have a policy about training, which outlines funding parameters. Knowing this upfront will help you understand your parameters. If there isn’t an explicit policy, or, you are still unclear, find out what training other employees have attended. 
  2. Build You Case: Collect as much information as you can about the training and include training costs alongside alternative courses and costs. Another key pointer is to list the ROI for the company – what will the tangible and intangible benefits be to your manager? 
  3. Make Your Pitch: Make sure you time your proposal well and also judge the communication style of your manager. Although you may want to confirm any proposals in writing over email, would your manager be more receptive with a face-to-face conversation first?

Do recognise that CPD comes in many shapes and forms, as detailed in “The What, Why, When, Where & Who of CPD”.4  Ultimately the overriding solution to ensure your CPD is being met is to be proactive in the pursuit of your own CPD.

You can also listen to an interview from Lindsay here. Let us know your views on the administrative profession on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin 

1   http://www.instam.org/pdf/membership/cpd/IAM_CPD_Guidance.pdf


4  http://executivesecretary.com/the-what-why-when-where-and-who-of-cpd/

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