In today's business environment, companies must go beyond the products and services they provide. Quality and value are necessary for businesses to compete and prosper. How can companies achieve a competitive advantage? Having employees who are professionally certified has increasingly become a symbol of quality that can provide companies with a competitive advantage.
More and more industries are establishing certification and accreditation programs to distinguish professionals. Hundreds of professional fields have a certification process. Some common certifications which most people are familiar with are Certified Public Accountants (CPA), Professional Engineers (PE) and Certified Financial Planners (CFP).
Certification programs consist of rigorous study and testing, usually requiring substantial experience in the respective field. Programs usually also include recertification testing to ensure that a professional stays current and continues to meet high performance standards.
During economic downturns, companies search for ways to reduce costs, and support of accreditation and certification programs becomes an easy target. Even though employees who strongly believe in increasing their level of professionalism can certainly opt to pay for these programs themselves, businesses do benefit from funding employees' efforts to obtain certification. The costs to companies are usually small, but could be a hardship for a promising employee. The paybacks to businesses are enormous.
* It affirms to employees that their expertise is valued and recognized. It sends the message that the company will do everything to enhance that expertise.
* It motivates employees to rise to the top of their profession--certification is the benchmark of professionalism. When employees know that their efforts are supported by their employers, they are more likely to be passionate about their careers and perform at their highest level. Professional certification by a reputable organization assures everyone doing business in a particular field that the professionals with whom they are dealing have achieved a certain level of proficiency. Generically, certification attests that a person has achieved and demonstrated a certain standard of excellence in a particular field. Certification initials on a business card tell clients, customers and the public that the professional is serious about what they do for a profession. …