An employee development plan helps your people acquire new skills for their current job while expanding their talents for new roles in your company.
One of the biggest issues facing employers these days is employee retention. With costs to replace employees averaging between six and nine months’ salary and the average employee changing jobs about every four years, now more than ever your company needs to figure out how to offer employees areas for growth and opportunities for advancement. An employee development plan helps your people acquire new skills for their current job while expanding their talents for new roles in your company. When done well, it can help them stay within your company, happier and longer. Here are seven steps to create your employee development plan, from roll-out to reporting.
1. Start with a skills gap analysis
The first step in creating an employee development plan is to figure out where you need to upskill employees. A training needs analysis can help you determine not only what skills are missing (or underdeveloped) but also which employees need training first.
This training needs analysis puts your organizational goals at the center of anything that comes next. By identifying what you’re already doing well (and what needs work), all training efforts can be streamlined for maximum benefit.
2. Identify employees for career and leadership growth
Identify those employees who are eager to learn and looking for growth potential. Focus your initial efforts on those employees, not only building current skills but also investing in leadership and management training when they are ready.
Another bonus? Employees who are on the fence about staying with your company may be more motivated to stay when they realize that you are committed to helping them develop their personal career goals. This helps you retain your most talented employees!
3. Align with employee and company goals
Once you have identified areas of need and employees interested in growth, make sure your goals for both are connected.
An employee development plan can only go so far if the employees aren't involved. Consider not only your employees' career goals in general but also those specific to your company to strengthen career succession plans.
Discussions are the best way to measure employee satisfaction in their job. This also works best to determine what training employees need, what they want to learn, and how they want to receive it.
4. Help them grow with you
An employee development plan shouldn't only look at growing edges within your company that are present right now. It should also consider the ways in which your company and your industry is growing.
Where is your company headed in the next five years?
Ten? Twenty? If you plan on huge growth in the next few years, how many leaders will you need to train? Are you exploring new industries or service offerings? Are there people in place now who might be ready to take your company to that next level?
Take steps today to put those wheels in motion.
5. Use employee development plan templates to help
The good news about employee development plans is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to make a good one. Once you’ve decided to move forward, there are a variety of templates that can make your job easier.
There are two main types of employee development plan templates:
- Consider an individual employee development plan template in the early stages of your organization’s process. This helps employees reflect on their personal career goals and how they might align with your organization.
- A succession planning template helps your organization look towards the future to figure out where the company needs to hire or expand. It also articulates what resources are already present (and if they need to be developed further).
Use these as a guide to help you customize both your individual employee growth plan and the plan for your company.
6. Fit the learning opportunity to the training
Now that you’ve decided to create a career development plan for employees, make sure the type of employee training fits the task. Consider different methods of delivery for different goals.
For example, leadership training might focus on the following approaches:
- Cross training
- Job shadowing
In contrast, upskilling uses different tools to expand your employees' current skills and knowledge. For these direct, skills-based learning opportunities, consider:
Once you have good data about where your company is headed and which employees are coming with you, use the right training tool for the best results.
7. Track results and use data to inform your decisions
You’ve spent ample time coming up with an employee development plan. How will you know it’s working? Take time to monitor the success of your efforts and make a plan to remedy any trouble spots.
Meet regularly with employees to see how it’s going and to get their feedback on what they would like more (or less) of. Identify what obstacles make it hard to follow through, like not enough hours in the workday or interruptions. Identify ways to make their training time available, easier, and more effective.
As a company, make sure you have a person or team dedicated to monitoring the success of the employee development plan. If you are a small company without the ability to have a full-time employee development person, HR professionals can help, as can managers when they report on productivity levels or team wins.
At EdgePoint Learning, we love to help companies grow. From ground-up training solutions to helping you revamp outdated training courses, we can help. Our learning specialists work with you to create an employee development plan that can drive company goals and employee growth.