Continuing professional development in a financial services organisation: Which model is best?

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Continuing professional development in a financial services organisation: Which model is best?

Each model has its own merits and drawbacks. Williams argues that because the benefits model is voluntary, it requires the individual to be motivated and could mean that ‘CPD would become a minimum’. A survey of IPD members investigated the motivation of individuals to participate in their Institute’s scheme of CPD. The results of the survey showed 72 per cent of respondents were actively involved in CPD as learners and 60 per cent agreed that access to CPD had a motivating effect on them, while 76 per cent felt CPD was a benefit and not just another chore.

This suggests that although voluntary, participants did not suffer lack of motivation and, therefore, voluntary schemes can overcome the potential issues related to attending CPD events in order to register points or hours. A sanctions model might have created a different set of results. Williams argues that while a sanctions model may prove a useful tool to ensure that CPD is undertaken, it could result in CPD being viewed as ‘a chore, imposed by the profession’, which sends out unintended messages and becomes onerous to complete.

An alternative model put forward by Crockett and Geale is the career development model, which relates to the individual’s needs. This model includes a consideration of the individual’s need to move into a different area, to take advantage of opportunities, increase employability or even simply to avoid boredom.

Through such widely differing models it can be seen there is a potential for conflict to occur. Jones and Robinson argue that the conflict between individual and employer may be further heightened when funding for CPD activities is limited. The employer may give priority to all the activities that they see as important, which can cause tension if the individual places their own emphasis elsewhere. They argue that there is a strong case for shared responsibility and this applies to both the identification and the resolution of the training need.

However, shared responsibility contradicts the essence of CPD, which is to be self-directed. The IPD suggests that CPD should be self-directed while Lanthrope et al. argue that continuous development is not self-development, it is self-directed learning where the individual takes responsibility for decisions as to what is being learned and the means by which the learning takes place. It does not mean that all of the learning has to take place by oneself; it can and should be supported. However, the term ‘self-directed’ can be misleading and be interpreted as referring to the employer dictating what should be learned and how it is done, but leaving the timing to the individual.

Another critical point is the level of competence required in order to meet an identified client need. An example in the financial services sector is if an adviser is authorised to sell individual pensions and carries out CPD in order to be more

aware of other products in the market. While this CPD has improved the adviser’s knowledge, it is not necessarily going to be valued by the client or relevant to the business at that time. However, an approach to training which simply addressed the present needs of the job role and offered no development would be unattractive to new recruits or existing employees seeking career development.

 

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