CPD, or Continuous Professional Development, is essential for employees to stay current in their field and advance their careers.
How to evidence continued professional development (CPD)
Whether you have an existing continued professional development (CPD) scheme, or are thinking of implementing one, being able to provide a structure for evidencing CPD activities is a key consideration.
Licensing bodies, and professional organisations often require evidence of CPD as part of their certification or licensing processes. Helping your staff track their CPD progress effectively is therefore an important factor in the overall success of any Continued Professional Development scheme. In this blog we will explore the steps you can take to assist your staff in documenting and evidencing their CPD.
Start by clearly communicating your organisation's expectations regarding CPD. Explain why it's important and what types of activities are considered valid for CPD. Ensure that the activities selected are recognised or accredited by relevant professional bodies if this applies to your industry. Encourage your team to set their own individual goals and objectives so that they have a clear understanding of what skills or knowledge they need to develop.
Offer access to resources such as courses, workshops, conferences, and online learning platforms. Ensure that staff have easy access to these resources. If these facilities aren’t readily available for your industry, consider setting up your own online training programme so that you can ensure the right resources are still available.
Develop a CPD Policy
Establish a CPD policy or framework that outlines the requirements, including the number of hours or credits needed, reporting deadlines, and any specific guidelines for documenting CPD. It is often the case that CPD activities get pushed to the back of the queue when daily work pressures take over, so introducing deadlines can really help bring them back into focus.
Create a Tracking System
All CPD documentation should be organised into a structured portfolio alongside a system whereby staff can log their CPD activities, hours and credits. This could be a spreadsheet, software, or an online platform designed for CPD tracking. Whatever system you choose it is important to ensure that it is as user friendly as possible and that all staff receive guidelines as to how to use it correctly.
Offer templates or forms for staff to use when documenting their CPD activities. These templates can include fields for activity titles & descriptions, dates, duration (in hour or days), location or source (e.g. conference name, course provider) and learning outcomes. Again this can be a lot easier if you implement CPD tracking software as this functionality can be built into the overall online process.
Document CPD Activities
Make sure staff keep records of all their CPD activities, even if they didn’t take place in a formal setting. Different types of CPD activities such as mentoring, volunteering, or self-directed learning can be just as valid and still require documenting. Remind staff to include any certificates, transcripts, or receipts as proof of participation. Safeguard all CPD records in a secure location, and take regular backups of digital files, as they may need to be produced for audits or verifications.
Emphasise the importance of reflecting on learning experiences. Encourage staff to jot down what they learned after each CPD activity, how it has benefited their professional development and how they plan to apply it to their work. Where possible provide an area for this as part of your overall CPD tracking system so that thoughts and reflections can be captured in a structured manner.
Review and Feedback
Regularly review and provide constructive feedback on your staff's CPD documentation. This can help them improve their records and identify areas for further development. Be available to answer questions and provide guidance on CPD documentation. Ensure that staff know who to reach out to for assistance.
Incorporate into Reviews
Incorporate CPD documentation into the performance review process. This ensures that professional development is a central part of career progression discussions. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with staff to discuss their CPD progress. This provides an opportunity to address any challenges or obstacles they may face.
Adapt and Update
Periodically review and update your organisation's CPD policy and processes to ensure they remain relevant and effective. It is important to keep abreast of industry developments and trends as these can often have an impact on CPD requirements and objectives going forward.
By taking these steps, you can help your staff effectively evidence their CPD, fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional growth within your organisation. Although evidence can be collected using paper records and spreadsheets, increasingly organisations are finding that dedicated CPD tracking software is the easiest way of ensuring standards are adhered to. If you would like to find out more about how to evidence CPD with an online tracking system, then get in touch with our team.