Should Your Employer Cover Professional Development? WIA Says Yes!

The Impact of Workshops and Masterclasses on Companies

According to a recent LinkedIn Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees would stay at a company longer by simply feeling more invested in their careers. Helping employees feel invested, oftentimes boils down to providing avenues for training and professional development. Sadly, only 41% of employers offer such opportunities.

So why does professional development matter? Short answer: No one should ever stop learning. Professional development opens us up to new possibilities, strategies, knowledge, and skillsets to employees at every level--from just graduated to CEO.

As you can see below, learning is just one benefit of embracing, encouraging and making professional development, such as workshops or masterclasses, accessible to your employees. 

Keep Employees’ Skills Sharp

The majority of businesses today are becoming less siloed - meaning departments are less isolated from one another. Employees sharpening skills through cross-departmental training or workshops can lead to increased productivity, team building and efficiency. In addition to learning hard skills, continued education allows employees to develop soft skills such as leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management.  

Attract and Retain the Best Talent

When searching for new hires, companies often put too much emphasis on what the new hire might be able to offer the company. However, to attract and retain the best talent, companies should also be concerned with what they have to offer new hires. Below are a few companies who understand the value of professional development - and because they do, top talent can be found there.


According to Glassdoor, professional development isn’t just a perk when working for AmeriCorps — it’s a job requirement. AmeriCorps employs an 80/20 rule, stating that “up to 20 percent of AmeriCorps members’ time should be spent on personal and professional development.”

General Assembly

Full-time employees at General Assembly can participate in part-time courses or workshops for free. There is also ample opportunity for employees to teach their own classes. Per the Muse, with General Assembly’s “social, friendly culture, employees play the roles of both students and instructors in the classroom.”


According to Monster, Amazon offers “an intensive, month-long training and leadership program prior to hire. Amazon prepays 95% of tuition for employees at fulfillment centers to take courses in in-demand fields. A “Virtual Contact Center” trains employees to work from home.”

Improve Employee Morale

Glassdoor reports that “Employee growth initiatives and skill-development programs are two long-term strategies that provide the foundation for improved employee experiences.” Understanding what type of professional development goals your employees have (instead of selecting workshops or masterclasses on their behalf) will also lead to greater satisfaction. This particular approach also shows that leadership and management are recognizing the employee as an individual.

How Professional Development Affects Careers of Women and Minorities

Professional development in the workplace is particularly impactful as it relates to empowering women and minorities and many companies are examining their hiring practices to reflect this. 

Some of the more important benefits of providing learning and development opportunities to women and minorities include the following: 

  • Advancing their skillset
  • Giving them opportunities to grow
  • Providing leadership opportunities

Workshops Available at the Women in Analytics Conference

Workshops at the Women in Analytics (WIA) are led by women experts in the data and analytics space. These workshops are part of WIA’s efforts to meet the needs of both companies investing in employees’ professional development but ensuring that the perspectives and expertise of women and minorities in the field are heard. 

WIA’s goal of supporting women in the analytics space has grown into a global community, focused on bringing visibility to women in the field while delivering top-notch analytics content. The WIA Conference kicks off on June 3, 2020, with the following workshops:

4-Hour Storytelling Workshop with Ruth Milligan & Sandy Steiger

While this class will not address data visualization, it will focus on how to take a basic data set and turn it into a compelling story that will resonate with your business partners. Ruth Milligan, the Founder of Articulation, will lead this workshop and her “passion is to help organizations of all sizes create storytelling cultures that elevate the opportunities for associates and executives to practice and deliver great presentations.”

4-Hour Intro Data Science in R Workshop with Ezgi Karaesmen & Katie Sasso-Schafer 

If you’re interested in learning and taking advantage of one of the most popular (and free) data science programming languages out there - this workshop is for you. WIA's Introduction to R workshop will “provide a complete crash course on the full data science workflow from cleaning and wrangling to visualization, modeling, and repeatable reporting.” Ezgi Karaesmen, a genomic data scientist, an R-Certified Instructor, and Ph.D. candidate at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, will lead this workshop. 

4-Hour AI and Marketing Attribution Analysis with Katie Robbert

Prioritizing your digital channels is essential for marketers to understand where leads are coming from while also staying within company budgets. In this workshop, Katie Robbert, CEO of True Insights, will talk about the attribution analysis that can be attained ‘out of the box’ and the benefits of building your own. 

6-Hour Data Visualization and Storytelling Masterclass with Lea Pica

Presenting to your audience in a way that they understand will increase the likelihood that they are receptive to your message. This intermediate workshop, lead by Lea Pica, an Analytics Presentation & Data Visualization consultant, will cover conceptualization to presentation. This includes an introduction into Lea's proprietary PICA Protocol™, her prescription for healthy, actionable data stories. 

Professional development in the form of in-person or online training, workshops and masterclasses greatly benefit both employees and companies - and that benefit outweighs any cost involved. If businesses want to scale and reach their goals in 2020 (and beyond), they should first look at what opportunities they have to invest in their employees’ continued education.

Ready to take the next steps? Register for WIA and sign up for a workshop!


WIA Team