Professional Developments Stipends: What’s Typical?

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Q: One thing that came up in an engagement survey we recently conducted was a concern about growth. In response to this concern, we are considering a professional development stipend. What’s typical?

A: Offering a professional development stipend is a great way to address your employees’ desire for training and development, especially since most companies don’t have anything resembling a “career ladder” anymore. We all want to grow and develop. Providing a stipend like this tells your team, “We see your potential.”

And this is not purely altruistic. As management expert Peter Drucker once said, “When a cynic asks: ‘What if we train them and they leave?’ winning organizations respond: ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’” 

Offering a professional development stipend can make your company stand out as a top choice for talented candidates, as well as boosting morale, engagement, and retention. With newfound skills and knowledge, your team members can take their performance to the next level — which benefits everyone.  

If you have the budget for it, my suggestion is to go for it, but with a well-thought-out policy. Your team will thank you, and your company will reap the rewards.  

Here’s what you should keep in mind: 

Budget: Calculate how much you can allocate to this stipend to make it meaningful but sustainable. We’ve helped craft policy with budgets that are discretionary, or that give a range of $500-$2500 per year. 

Fair Play: Ensure that all employees, regardless of their role or department, have access to this benefit.  

Craft a Policy: Develop a clear policy that outlines who’s eligible, how to apply, and what expenses the stipend can cover. Clarity prevents confusion! Typically, professional development is designated for things that are work- or career-related. Without a clear policy, you might see requests for stipends for yoga retreats or art classes — areas that aren’t necessarily related to a role. You can add language that allows for some discretion, but typically professional development stipends are used for certifications, conferences, classes, or continuing education credits.  

Spread the Word: Communicate this exciting new benefit effectively. Make sure everyone knows about it and understands what’s offered — and how to take advantage of it.  

If you’d like additional help creating a policy tailored to your organization’s needs, our HR Consulting team can provide support. Reach out! 

Do you need more HR support? Boly:Welch HR Consulting can help your team go farther with budget-friendly human resources consulting, tailored for your success.


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