By Emily True


Research shows that workplace performance can be improved by increasing our knowledge through learning and gaining new skills, which in turn benefits the organisation and may lead to competitive advantage (King & Lawley, 2016, pp.331-337). There are two factors of knowledge involved: knowledge at an individual level, which includes explicit knowledge that can easily be documented and shared with others and tacit knowledge, which is at a deeper level and is learned through experience and reflection. The second factor is the transference of explicit and tacit knowledge across the organisation, therefore becoming a learning organisation.


Personal Development Planning (PDP) should take place prior to Continuous Professional Development (CPD). PDP helps you to become aware of your current skills and to identify and further develop skills that you may need. PDP focuses on your own personal development and encourages reflection on your own learning and achievement, using a personal development plan (The Open University, 2022). A SWOT analysis is a helpful tool to assist your PDP, that can be applied to determine your strengths and weaknesses and to identify any potential opportunities and threats. Short and long-term goals should be considered when planning your PDP (Ebbut, 2020).


PDP helps you to plan and prioritise your CPD journey, to demonstrate how you maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills required in your current and future planned career (Ebbut, 2020). Whereas, CPD focuses on the learning and development that you undertake to develop and enhance your career (CPD, 2020). CPD comprises of the different activities available to improve your skills and capabilities and may include structured learning, such as: job shadowing, training, e-learning, workshops, learning conferences, sharing best practice; and passive or unstructured learning, such as: reading relevant literature, watching relevant podcasts and TED Talks (CPD, 2020).


There are many benefits of CPD for both the individual and the organisation, which include but are not limited to:


Benefits of CPD for self:

  • Empowers you to take a proactive approach to your own learning and development
  • Encourages you to take responsibility and accountability of your learning and development
  • Provides a bespoke record of all developmental activities undertaken (Ebbut, 2020)
  • Leads to potential career progression (Skills for Care, 2022)
  • Encourages learning at an explicit and tacit level (King and Lawley, 2016).


Benefits of CPD for organisation:

  • Improves staff retention by developing the key skills and knowledge required to maintain sustainable competitive advantage (CPD, 2020)
  • Improved job satisfaction helps to increase staff morale (Skills for Care, 2022)
  • Provides a bespoke record of all developmental activities undertaken (Ebbut, 2020)
  • Promotes Equality, Diversity and Inclusion by upskilling existing staff leading to future opportunities (Skills for Care, 2022)
  • Develops a culture of continuous improvement (Kaizen Institute, 1985-2022).


In conclusion, CPD is important for yourself, to maintain professional competency in your job role and for potential future career progression; and for your organisation to gain sustainable competitive advantage in the dynamic business that we face. CPD provides a bespoke record of all developmental activities undertaken to manage your professional development (CPD, 2020).

References and further reading:


CPD, 2020. What is Continuous Professional Development (CPD). [online] Available at: https://cpduk.co.uk/explained [Accessed: 14 February 2022].


Ebbutt, P. 2020. What does a good PDP and CPD record look like? [online] Available at: What does good CPD and PDP look like? – The PWI [Accessed: 27 February 2022].


Kaizen, 1985-2022. What is Kaizen. [online] Available at: https://www.kaizen.com/what-is-kaizen. [Accessed: 14 February 2022].


King, D and Lawley., S. 2016. Organisational Behaviour. 2nd ed. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.


Skills for Care (2022) New learning and development opportunities for 2022. [online] Available at: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/About/Blog/Article/New-learning-and-development-opportunities-for-2022.aspx [Accessed: 14 February 2022].


The Open University, 2022. Develop your career: Personal Development Plan (PDP). [online] Available at: https://help.open.ac.uk/pdp [Accessed: 14 February 2022].