9th August 2016


 Issue No.  2016/18




Ensuring employees work performance meets the needs of their employer is a key part of a manger’s daily routine.  We are regularly called to advise on how to deal with poor performance with a common outcome being the implementation of an ongoing review process, with or without, formal disciplinary action running in parallel. 

In jobs which are task based and which have limited training requirements, it is often easy to know when an individual is incapable of improvement or is just swinging the lead a bit. Where it gets more difficult, is when the ability of a job holder to do a job is based on their ability to keep pace with advancements and change. This is especially so when the job role is one that would be considered to have “professional” status. Once, this might have just meant medical, legal, education or accounting activities, but now embraces many jobs in IT, sales, engineering, manufacturing, marketing and so on.

Performance management at this level needs to embrace a variety of approaches – appraisals, key performance indicators, ongoing reviews, training and where necessary formal disciplinary procedures. When discussing concerns with professionals it would make sense to ask “where are you with your CPD?” But just what is CPD? 

What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to the process of tracking and documenting the acquisition of skills, knowledge and experience that contributes to an individual’s effectiveness. It is a record of a person’s development through a number of events such as formal training, on the job activities or experiences. 

CPD is not simply a case of taking a refresher course every year or two, but recognises that learning is a lifelong process and does not stop once a formal qualification is achieved, since such knowledge can rapidly become outdated. If your key members of your team are struggling to keep up to date, push them on their CPD and make it part of your review process. 

Why is CPD Important
CPD is very much focussed on the individual and requires their personal commitment to improving capability and keeping professional knowledge up to date. It can also bring many benefits to the employer, so should be encouraged. 

One such benefit is that promotion of CPD opportunities can be linked to your corporate goals and business strategy helping to maintain competitive advantage. It ensures that standards keep pace with other organisations in the same field and also helps ensure staff keep up to date with changing technology, legislation and health and safety directives. 

A workforce engaged in CPD is more likely to share best practice which helps improve moral, staff retention and strengthens your reputation as a quality employer. It can also provide a framework to manage your employee’s work performance, professional development and should feature in staff appraisals. 

As for the employee, CPD may be a mandatory requirement for membership of a professional body or to maintain a standard or qualification. Currently there are over 450 professional organisations requiring members to complete CPD with some bodies setting targets for individuals. 

What is eligible CPD activity?
CPD activity can take a variety of forms; it is not a fixed process and can be adapted for the profession and the individual’s needs. It broadly falls into 3 categories:

Structured learning. This includes full or part time education, distance learning, online courses, attending workshops or seminars or completing a formal research project.

Career based CPD events. These can include on the job training, attending networking events such as conferences and professional meetings. It also includes any training, coaching or mentoring that the individual completes.

Informal CPD activity. This can be as simple as keeping up to date with current affairs in the profession or industry by reading journals, magazines or websites or attendance at relevant exhibitions. A log of the time spent will be required. 

Sentient would encourage all employers to foster a culture of CPD. Not least since legislation and consumer demand has driven the professionalism required of organisations to levels greater than previously met by standard qualifications. 

Whilst we get called usually when it is the “stick” question of the “carrot and stick” alternative, please don’t forget that during the preceding informal performance review you encourage your employees to make the most of CPD. It might just mean you can avoid bringing the “stick” out of the cupboard!

Sentient have recently launched a suite of online courses. These cover our traditional areas of expertise in health and safety, food hygiene and HR, in addition to a range of digital marketing courses. Competitively priced, each online course has been approved by CPD Accreditation Office who award independent CPD accreditation to training and learning activities across all professions and sectors. Each online course offer up to 3 CPD hours credits. Please click here for more details.





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