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10 tips for top professional development

10 tips for top professional development
IPA CPD consultant Gwyn March underlines how your agency can boost productivity and well-being as well as target our coveted awards.

The effect of good Professional Development on businesses is remarkable; the IPA’s recent publication Why CPD is good for your business reveals that IPA CPD gold accredited agencies report, on average, 98% client retention, business growth in the region of 10% year-on-year and an average of eight new business wins a year.

Here are 10 top tips to achieving great CPD for a more engaged and productive workforce, and a more successful agency.


Start as you mean to go on. Woolley Pau Gyro have an excellent welcome programme with lovely touches like a big bag of sweets for the newbie to share, and a chart showing exactly how everyone likes their tea.


Like Starcom MediaVest Group, give everyone a personal professional development plan. This helps enormously with commitment to the agency, and is one of the reasons CPD Gold agencies have far higher staff retention rates.


Make sure your people have their ‘moment in the sun’. Hunterlodge are trailblazers on appraisals, running a monthly ‘1-2-1 rev counter’ which allows for continuous consideration of how things are moving, individually, towards achieving business objectives.

According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters, Gen Y in particular "see learning as a personal investment in their career and they want a pay off from it... They respect honest and genuine feedback…”  To learn more visit our free Effective Appraisals modules.


The right training programme can transform careers and save money. For example, McCann Manchester has had great success training their studio people to become creative designers. 


Your people will be far keener to complete the training if you incentivise them. For example, JWT hold a hard core study group involving pizza and beer when studying for the IPA’s LegRegs qualification. Set a good example by getting senior people to take part too.


Never be afraid to test that the learning has gone in and is used. 23red check that the inductions have paid off with a 50-question test on their people, their values and the industry. Add a question to your appraisal form such as; ‘how have you used the learning we provided?’ Ask managers how they have encouraged training be put to practical use.


Ensure you measure the effectiveness of a training programme your people have undertaken. Budgets are always tight so proof of effectiveness is a great tool in your arsenal. The IPA’s free online modules on Evaluating Training are here to help you find out what worked, and if it didn’t, why not.  Total Media use these tools so they can optimally plan for the future.


Get some practical work benefits out of your CPD. For example, if your graduates are going to pitch to the senior team at the end of their training, make sure they shadow a live pitch. MediaCom Edinburgh has a clever ‘submersion’ technique to get their people up to speed with the latest media so that they can confidently write a thought piece of interest to clients.


Be aware of how little from training is retained. You can increase the rate by getting people to put the learning into practice, by involving a live brief or problem to solve and – as the CPD Manager at MediaCom London knows – use the principle of ‘just in time’ training.  For example, running a session on motivational feedback the day before appraisals.


Thank your people for their CPD efforts. It may be that they gave a talk, or ran a mentoring programme, it may just be that they filled in their CPD Diary, but they all deserve acknowledgement. FCB Inferno gives their people a Lindt gold chocolate bunny to say thanks for helping them be awarded CPD Gold.

The IPA has recently awarded member agencies with Gold and Platinum accreditation for their outstanding CPD programmes in 2013. Find out more about Gold accreditation.

2014 marks the 10th year of IPA qualifications and the 10,000th certificate will be awarded in this year. View available courses and qualifications here.

Gwyn March is CPD Consultant at The IPA.

Last updated 12/06/2014

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