Preparing for National Career Development Month

Coast to coast, professionals across North America will be celebrating their careers as they participate in National Career Development Month. In synchrony with this event, your organization has an opportunity to create something meaningful and support your people’s development! Interested in learning how you could create a great month dedicated to your employee’s career? Here are some points to consider and ideas we are using at Tucows to help create a month full of fun and learning!

Align all initiatives to your company’s objectives

When thinking about how to create initiatives that support career development, consider how your events can align and boost your organization’s vision. Increasing wellness, engagement, and providing opportunities for professional development are all presently important goals across our organization. With that in mind, we created a theme for each week that reflects those goals, and planned events that would help engage those areas.

For example, we have a full of the week dedicated to wellness, where we will be holding sessions with a mindfulness coach, a seminar on stress reduction from a Psychologist, and a workshop on ergonomics in the workplace. For our week dedicated engagement, we built our very own escape room and other fun team building activities. For our week dedicated to professional development, we have different workshops and talks dedicated to leadership, coaching, and feedback.

If you’re able to tie each event directly back to an organizational objective, it will be much easier to get by in across the board.

[Related: Guide to Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace]

Keep costs low by leveraging existing partnerships and internal talent

The cost of training and development can be quite high, with corporations in the U.S. spending nearly $70.6 billion in 2015/2016. However, there is no need to break the bank when trying to think of unique ways to engage your population.

One way to do this is by leveraging your existing vendors and partnerships. If you’re already using a training and development vendor, or considering signing with a new one, try and sample new courses with them at a low cost without committing to purchasing the full package. If you’re working with a benefits or employee assistance program, consider reaching out to them and asking what kinds of workshops or partnerships they can provide you access to.

Though attending team building events can run your budget high, homemade escape rooms, scavenger hunts, and other activities can all be made in-house with some creativity and dedication of resources.

To help build up leadership skills, consider tapping into Google’s re:Work for free workshops spanning many topics.

Reaching out to different larger institutions for lunch and learn style speakers is another great way to get access to free or inexpensive opportunities for learning, that often may only require an honorarium!

[Related: A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Activities]

Think outside the box

According to the 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, “providing a robust suite of well-being programs focused on physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health is becoming a corporate responsibility and a strategy to drive employee productivity, engagement, and retention.” Organizations can succeed by offering sessions that help their employees perform well on the job, but also helps them outside of work. This is an important part of offering a workplace that supports their work-life balance.

For example, you could work with your company’s financial institution and offer workshops on financial literacy. While this may not have a direct impact on skills needed for the job, it’s an opportunity to help people live a well-informed life.

Another initiative we are running is having volunteer photographers across each office set up and take headshots for whoever is interested. This is something that most people need, but don’t often have the opportunity to do on their own time. Finding ways to help improve people’s lives will only help you win as an organization!

Add some incentive

Of course, people should always want to take the time to grow and develop, but the intrinsic motivation to leave one’s desk might not always have such a strong pull. In cases like this, offering up some extrinsic motivation can really help increase attendance and make your events more successful.

At Tucows, our organization loves cool company swag. When learners complete a course, they earn points towards swag. For our learning month, we created unique swag that will only be given out for events attended during this month. If you’re going to drop money on swag, make sure it’s something that people will actually use, and not just collect dust on your desk! Offering up some free food is another way to get people more involved.

43 percent of organizations believe that providing opportunities for overall well-being, including health, social, and emotional well-being, reinforces their organization’s mission and vision. Of course, Learning and Development should be an ongoing strategy throughout the year, but carving out a full month where people are encouraged to take care and invest in themselves is a great way to boost your company’s mission and vision!

Learn More & Download

Employee Engagement Checklist & Calendar