Top 10 for 2023: The Most Requested Professional Development Topics
One of the most common inquiries we receive from clients who are looking for training ideas for their employees is, “What are the most popular professional development topics?”
So we thought we’d share a run-down of the most popular training topics our clients are planning for 2023.
1. Performance Management
Leadership has always been one of our most consistently requested professional development topics, but more specifically this category, performance management, leads the pack.
For organizations to achieve their goals, managers need to create a work environment that helps employees succeed to the best of their abilities. Managing employees’ performance effectively ensures that the right work gets done in the right way; reduces turnover; increases productivity; improves morale, commitment, and motivation; and minimizes challenges within the organization. This workshop helps organizations achieve those goals.
2. Communication Skills for Professionals
According to research, engaging in effective communication and building strong workplace relationships are both critical for career success. That is especially true for professionals in today’s work environment, where more and more work is completed by matrixed, cross-functional teams that must communicate effectively to succeed.
Our communication skills workshop is usually paired with our foundational leadership workshop, since they nicely complement each other and provide a strong basis of essential skills for new and evolving leaders.
3. Building High-Performance Teams
Research consistently shows the amount of time individuals spend working in teams continues to increase. Unfortunately, so do the levels of dissatisfaction and frustration among those team members. But the situation is not hopeless – the research also provides guidance on how to build more effective workplace teams.
Clients also often ask for The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ (quickly becoming a popular professional development topic), which has a simple goal: To help people discover how to build a truly cohesive and effective team. Based on Patrick Lencioni’s internationally best-selling leadership fable, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, this assessment-based program focuses on putting The Five Behaviors™ Model of Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results into practice.
4. DiSC® Training
There are, of course, many different assessment tools that rate behavior, preference, styles, attitudes, etc. and provide a framework for understanding the way in which you see the world and the differing ways in which others may approach the same set of facts or circumstances. Myers-Briggs/MBTI, Emergenetics, Lominger, Insights, StrengthsFinder, and many others remain popular, but the most common tool we see clients utilizing is the DiSC. The DiSC framework is easily learned and flexible enough to apply to a variety of individual and team learning needs – communication, teamwork, conflict resolution, decision making, and others.
5. Time Management / Productivity
In today’s busy world it is important for workers to be as effective as they can with the limited hours of time during the day. If the unexpected interruptions and crises are affecting your employees’ productivity, then it is time to take control of the workday! Efficiency training can include topics such as practical and specific time management skills to increase effectiveness and reduce time-wasted activities; effectively managing Outlook and email; managing calendar and to-do list; how to prioritize and plan your day using your natural energy cycle; the basics of important decision-making of action items; and action steps to reduce interruptions and procrastination.
6. Business Writing
Many experts estimate that as much as 90 percent of human communication comes from non-verbal clues such as voice inflection and body language. In business writing, however, you have only the words to get your meaning across, so the way the writer uses those words becomes more important. On-the-job writing matters – from RFPs to planning documents to client emails, your employees represent your organization every time they craft a document. This means they must be both effective and efficient with their writing skills and process.
7. Conflict Resolution
Conflict is a naturally occurring consequence in the workplace brought about by human factors, but lately it most certainly has become a byproduct of the upheavals due to unprecedented events of 2020 and continue to follow us into 2023. Even prior to this year, conflict management has been another consistently requested professional development training topic (if not the most requested every single year), along with managing change. Since we can never completely eliminate workplace conflict, the most practical solution to properly dealing with it is to teach team members how to apply specific conflict-resolution strategies so they develop the necessary skills over time to handle it in any situation.
8. Emotional Intelligence / EQ
All managers can relate horror stories about employees or team members who were intelligent, technically capable, and able to perform the duties their job demanded…and who wreaked havoc on their teams because their social skills or self-management capability was lacking. When it comes to individual and team success, IQ is not enough; in fact, the skill set known as Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has consistently proven to be a better indicator of individual and team workplace success. Cultivating and using the five components of EQ can have a profound positive effect on you individually as well as the people you work with. As time goes on, we're seeing this becoming one of the most important professional development topics we offer.
9. Managing Change
The year 2020 became symbolic for seemingly unending tumultuous change involving every aspect of our lives, especially the workplace, and circumstances and events leading into 2023 show us we will need to continue to make change management a priority. The unexpected upheavals we have so far endured by recent external forces require putting in place new organization-wide systems and procedures to help overcome any resultant workplace challenges. Even before 2020, this particular workplace training topic has consistently been one of the most requested. Organizations understand that to effectively execute workplace change it needs to be led and implemented by those most impacted by any company-wide change program. Our change management workshops give participants the opportunity to learn, practice, and apply effective communication and employee-engagement techniques and strategies to generate support for – and improve implementation of – change initiatives.
10. Cultural Competency
Celebrating diversity is one thing; cultural competency is something different. Developing cultural competence includes examining our own worldview and biases and developing the willingness to learn and be educated from a different point of view. In addition, it involves examining our societal rituals, roles, and values with the acknowledgment that other people have diverse ways of thinking, doing, and believing. In this fun, practical presentation participants cultivate their ability to understand, communicate with, and interact with clients and co-workers across cultures and styles, increasing their ability to be successful in a variety of situations.