Standard D11 Explained

Why is it important to assess the development needs of all fulltime employees and to develop plans to address any gaps? Ongoing professional development helps employees improve their performance in their roles and build the skills they need to advance.1 In a job market in which nonprofits compete with the public and private sector for qualified employees, opportunities for learning and development become an important part of employee attraction and retention strategies.2

The benefits of offering professional development opportunities include:3

  • Increased ability to meet organizational goals 
  • Increased productivity 
  • Increased motivation 
  • Decreased need for supervision in well-trained staff
  • Training employees can be part of an organization’s succession planning efforts 
  • An environment of continuous learning promotes effective responses to challenge and change 
  • Staff can more effectively contribute to new initiatives 
  • Improved attraction and retention of employees

The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector suggests that development plans address the following categories of learning:1

  • Essential – skills that are required to perform effectively in the employee’s role, including learning that addresses performance issues or that prepares a person to take on new responsibilities
  • Enhancement – learning that will benefit an employee in their current or future role within the organization
  • Career Development – learning that is desired by the staff member but that may not provide direct benefits to the organization

For level 3 organizations: Why is it essential for staff with supervisory roles to be provided with opportunities to develop these skills? Managing and supervising staff is a distinct skill set that must be actively developed.1

Management skills include:1

  • How to motivate and engage others
  • How to work together to set goals
  • How to assess an employee’s performance
  • How to delegate tasks and manage work


From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

  1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  2. “Factors Affecting Working and Learning,” Learning, Training and Development, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  3. Getting Your Organization Ready for Employee Training and Development,” Learning, Training and Development, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.


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