Professional Development

Not surprisingly, people sometimes single out individuals in whose professional development they want to invest. Many factors go into an individual's personal preferences about whom they want to work with, who they want to see advance within the organization, and who they decide to mentor formally or informally.

The organization's culture can also play a role in who is given opportunities to develop skills that will help them advance. Traditionally, many organizations operated with a cultural norm that looked much like "the good ol' boys' network," in which many activities related to professional development occurred informally, during social activities in which not all members of an organization were involved. Some nonprofit organizations continue to operate within this cultural framework or some variation of it.

It is often the informal opportunities that have an impact on an individual's development and enthusiasm for the work.

For example, to minimize bias that affects professional development opportunities, look at who is invited to attend meetings and represent the group at external events. Also, look at who is encouraged to take on new responsibilities that challenge them above and beyond their usual job responsibilities. A quick survey of staff to ask them what types of opportunities they feel influence their ability to advance within the organization will probably illuminate some key areas on which to work.

Organizations can also develop formal professional development policies which ensure that everyone at the same level can take advantage of training and educational opportunities equally. During the budgeting process, if you have a line-item for professional development, be sure to establish guidelines for use of professional development funds. 

See Sample Professional Development Plan.


Overview: Personnel 

Benefits of Recruiting and Retaining a Diverse Staff 

Costs of Unsuccessful Recruitment and Retention of Diverse Staff 

Setting Goals for Staff Composition 

Position Descriptions/Job Qualifications 

Announcing and Advertising Personnel Openings 

Interviewing and Selecting Candidates 

Retaining Personnel of Color 

Performance Reviews 

Exit Interview Process 

Employment Policies


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