Companies are laying off employees at a seemingly nonstop rate. According to layoffs.fyi, a staggering 148,000 tech and retail employees have been laid off this year. More employees were also laid off in other industries, including media and entertainment. And it’s only March.

Amazon, Disney, Ericsson, Google, Meta, Microsoft, PayPal, Salesforce, SAP, Wayfair, Yahoo and Zoom are some of the biggest contributors to the shrinkage. There have been more layoffs this year than last year. And according to reports, there were more layoffs last year than in the years 2020 and 2021 combined.

There are numerous factors that contribute to a company’s decision to hand out pink slips. But what could eliminate or reduce the need for a layoff? And how can employees best prepare for or protect themselves from the potentially devastating impact of losing their job? There is one factor that can benefit both employers and employees: Professional Development.

Studies show that companies that invest in the professional development of their employees see an increase in employee engagement, create a more positive work culture, and are able to retain top talent.

In fact, a survey from ClearCompany found that 94% of employees would stay at an organization longer if their employer invested in their career development. The survey also found that overall retention rates are 34% higher at organizations with career development opportunities.

ClearCompany also found that:

  • 91% of employees want personalized, relevant training
  • 74% of employees said the lack of leadership development prevents them from reaching their full potential
  • Companies that spend at least $1,500 per year on employee development report 24% higher annual profits

If you’re an employee, participating in a professional development or career coaching program can help you feel more satisfied and fulfilled in your current job, motivate you to explore other jobs or carve a new career path, enhance your marketability, guide you to rewinding your brand and defining a more visible one, and develop or build new skills that can help you succeed.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post that Meta’s management theme for 2023 is the “Year of Efficiency.” How about the rest of us call 2023 the “Year of Professional Development.”