There are few things that slow productivity as much as feeling stuck professionally.
Without opportunity for career growth, it is only a matter of time before employees will become bored and disengaged. Your best talent won’t stick around forever waiting for that promotion.
As employers, it is in our best interests to invest in empowering employees
and drive and growth from within the organization.
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Why Use an Employee Development Plan?
When employees are actively learning
and improving in their field, they will be more engaged and productive. An employee development plan is a recruitment
and retention tool that offers a structured approach to professional growth.
According to a 2016 study by The Society for Human Resource Management, employees who participate in a development program are more satisfied and feel that their employers are recognizing them for their value. With additional learning opportunities, they are better prepared to take on more challenging projects and roles. This also sets them on a track toward leadership positions within the company.
However, these plans do not simply fall into our laps; they take time and maintenance to create and implement. Typically, the human resources department handles the planning while managers and leaders play secondary roles. It is important that everyone is on board to make the plan and employees successful.
Here are a few examples of tried and true employee development plans to get you started.
Types of Employee Development Plans
#1 Performance-based plan
This plan uses the logic of a grade school report card. Students who work hard and are awarded A’s are the ones that make honor roll for the semester. At the very least, students study to get passing grades. Similarly, in a workplace setting, employees are more focused when they are working toward a goal each quarter.
However, success in the workplace is not always quantitative. For salespeople, it is simple to set and work toward a certain numerical target. The outcome is either yes or no. But the numbers are not the whole picture.
If you are using a performance-based professional development plan, consider other aspects of employees’ experience
, such as professional growth throughout the quarter and motivation. This type of thinking leads into something called the feedforward review, where the review focuses on the employee’s best moments and how they can implement what they’ve learned in future projects.
#2 Management by Objectives
This employee development plan is similar to the performance-based one, but relies on shorter-term goals. Rather than following goals dictated down from management, employees set their own individual milestones. Those milestones then work together toward the overall organizational goal.
This plan is more proactive than reactive. Instead of looking back at performance and evaluating backwards, employees can modify goals as time goes on as they see fit. This plan makes it so employees are constantly self-evaluating and improving their performance
#3 Succession Planning
Many organizations already have a career ladder in place, this employee development plan called succession planning. With succession planning, employees are placed somewhere on the ladder and work toward a promotion or more senior role as time goes on.
This longer-term type of planning caters well to mentorship programs, whether they are cross-departmental or with someone a few steps up on the same ladder. Mentorship can be a beneficial development tool for both the mentor and mentee, adding value to this option.
Mentors are typically further along in their careers and can give advice on how they’ve gotten to where they are as well as general wisdom of the industry.
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#4 Ad-Hoc Improvement
This plan is highly individualized and works best on sole employees rather than with groups. It is based on a mentorship program, similar to the succession plan, but focusing more on the mentee’s individual needs.
Timing is extremely important for this type of employee development. It is important to be responsive when an employee expresses desire to learn more — they may lose interest if you wait too long.
While this plan is more informal, it is great for employees who want to improve on specific skills that will help their careers advance.
Employee development plans are not plug and play
, but it is well worth the time spent implementing and facilitating growth. Employee development plans drive value for the organization, reduce employee churn and improve overall productivity.