Jessica joined RWA in 2018, having graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Film Studies. Prior to this, she worked in a photography studio as a wedding album editor and also attended work experience at a local library.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a regulatory requirement for staff at all levels in the insurance distribution chain. CPD is personal endeavour and it is generally the responsibility of the individual to improve their job performance and productivity through professional development.
However, it is also the responsibility of organisations to ensure that they are scheduling CPD-related activities for all their employees. A common problem is that most organisations tend to be ‘too busy’ for CPD to be implemented systematically; it is often perceived as an additional burden, that may seem less important than more pressing day-to-day tasks. In failing to properly address CPD, opportunities are missed for employees to either learn new skills or build on their existing knowledge of key subjects.
So, what can you do to make sure your team is making the most of the CPD they are undertaking?
Sitting down with members of your team is a good starting point to establish where they are in their training. Evaluate whether their learning needs are being met or if there are specific areas that they want to improve in. Users of the Aviva Development Zone will be aware of the gap analysis model it uses which can help firms pinpoint gaps in a team’s knowledge and give an outline of how to structure CPD.
CPD topics should be selected carefully and to suit the needs of the individual - not to just to fill in the required hours of training. These will usually be specific to an individual’s role and career development – but there are also regulatory requirements to consider regarding CPD.
The Insurance Distribution Directive (IDD), for example, requires insurance intermediaries to record 15 hours’ CPD each year across eight core knowledge areas, which are:
Furthermore, as part of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SM&CR), which comes into effect on the 9th of December, all financial services staff will also require training on the FCA’s Conduct Rules and how they apply to individual roles. Senior Managers and staff caught by the Certification Regime must also be able to show, on an annual basis, that they remain ‘fit and proper’ to carry out their roles, including having the competence and capability necessary for the role. Firms with a positive and proactive attitude towards CPD should be well prepared for this.
Putting an action plan in place to work out where a team should be in terms of development may also be useful in getting the most out of CPD. Most teams would benefit from an action plan tailored to each individual, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach, therefore giving more focus to learning new skills as well as consolidating and developing existing ones.
In some cases, it can be more effective to let your team assign their own action plans rather than having it all assigned for them. Set out any compulsory activities as a baseline for them to complete alongside their own selected courses that they wish to undertake. By giving team members some freedom to decide their own development goals, they will feel more motivated to learn and be more engaged in their professional development.
Make sure that they keep a record of their achievements so they can reflect on what they have learned. Reflection is crucial in ensuring that CPD is meaningful. The Aviva Development Zone also awards badges as a clear record of what has been accomplished.
Recording CPD is not just a regulatory responsibility – it should also motivate individuals to want to improve themselves and become a valuable asset to the team. Having all members of the team working toward this shared goal is likely to result in a more positive attitude to work. This in turn strengthens how a team functions well together and benefits the business as a whole.
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