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Updated: December 8, 2021 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: Why should I invest in a professional development program?

Q: Why should I invest in a professional development program?

ACE advises: Many employers base training decisions only on cost.  What they do not consider is the cost to the organization if they do not train — and the bulk of that expense can be employee turnover. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost to replace a salaried worker is six to nine months of that person’s salary plus 16% … for a lower-level worker.  A 2014 Gallup Report found as many as 70% of the frontline employees in the United States do not feel engaged in their work, a situation related to their immediate supervisors. The 2019 “Retention Report” by the Work Institute says more than three in four employees who quit could have been retained, and 11% of them left because of manager behavior.

Because of this, an ongoing professional development program for all levels is a must in most organizations.

The soft skills critical for leadership include building relationships, communication, team dynamics, listening, feedback and self-awareness, just to name a few. Using these skills attends to the needs of your team members and makes them feel valued Other skills, such as recruiting, interview and selection are important in finding the right employees and making good hires. As a result, employees enjoy their work and stay longer.

To uncover behaviors that are not working, I often use a Leadership 360 workplace-survey process with clients. Then coaching sessions help my clients improve their leadership effectiveness.

For more on this topic, see Tom’s ACE blog post “Why You Need a Coaching Culture” at

Tom Renehan, an ACE board member and principal at Yarmouth-based Tom Renehan Coaching and Leadership Development, is a Certified Professional Coach and certified in Leadership Effectiveness 360, an assessment measuring 22 leadership behaviors. He can be reached at

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