Employee Development Plan: The Ultimate Guide

All employers want their employees to participate in the life of their company, both in individual assignments and organization-scale objectives. When it comes to employee engagement, there are more things involved in it, than just making sure your team members have each other’s backs or take one or two courses online.

If you have a properly developed strategy in place, your employees will have a better understanding of their jobs and, thus, will be able to advance quicker and more confidently in their respective fields.

The more they understand how to handle their job and how the company works, the more tools they have to help it move on to the new heights. Considering all of the above, there is one thing you can say about an employee development plan for sure: it should be made off-hand. Let’s take a look at some of the valuable tips that will help you make a plan that works.

First: Consider Your Company’s General Objectives

When starting to work on a development plan for your employees, it’s best to first focus on your business, rather than on individual employees. Take time to define your company’s short-term and long-term objectives.

After getting a clear idea of what you want for your business and what it needs, you can move on to considering the talents and skills of your workers and how they can contribute to what has to be done.

Second: Analyze Preparedness of Your Workers

Prior to making notes, evaluate each of your team members and their preparedness to contribute to the cause. This can be done via private interviews, skills matrixes, or employee appraisals.

But don’t mistake general potential for preparedness. Potential is about abilities and capabilities, whereas preparedness accounts for a wide range of factors, including experience, willingness, and various individual aspects.

For example, Dave can be able and capable of moving up into management, but his personal goals right now, such as wedding, house purchase, and planning for a child, don’t actually play in favor of taking on a new position.

Third: Talk to the Team Members

This is the exact point at which you have to talk to your employees regarding a development plan. Prior to assuming what each of your workers wants to develop, you should discuss their professional goals with them.

It may happen that some of them are absolutely happy working in their current positions. So, before moving someone to a higher position, you should make certain that they are willing to take on the role and have the skills necessary for the accomplishment of new duties.

Doing some work and managing other people are two very different abilities. Normally, people understand quite well, if they are ready to make a move or not. And, if you’ve performed preparedness analysis described in the previous tip, you will have a better idea of the goals of each of your employees.

Four: Focus on the Abilities Required by Each Worker

Considering your company’s objectives, as well as your team members’ preparedness and their conviction in helping the organization advance in its success, you will need to identify the abilities that each of them needs.

Individual approach is the key. So, if someone from your staff decides that they want to move to a management position, you will have to make sure they possess all the necessary abilities and skills.

Five: Focus on Business Goals

Before you set objectives for your team members, you should focus on aligning their development requirements with your business’s requirements. This is, when you have to take your company’s short-term and long-term goals into account.

Do you need a sales department employee to move up to the position of a district supervisor? Do you need to get someone to explain an accounting department employee how to use brand new application?

By knowing your company’s precise goals, you will have a clear perspective of the abilities, proficiencies, and understanding that are required for their achievement.

In case your company is going to have a development explosion, you might also want to have some additional leaders among your staff. Alright, but what are the abilities that these leaders should have?

Could it be that some of your team members have them and would be willing to take on a leadership role? In reality, having prospects within your staff for bridging the space between current employee capability and that what is required for future goals is the best case scenario for your company.

By putting time and effort in your current employees’ development will help you save money and time you would’ve otherwise spent on recruiting, training, and hiring new workers.

And while training and advancement courses are a good thing, you should also ask your employees to look into their own work and consider any hardships in their current positions. This will help them and you likewise understand what they struggle with the most and where extra training is applicable.

Sixth: Consider Your Training and Development Perspectives

After defining your goals, you should focus on the ways to make sure your employees develop the brand new capabilities required for your business’s further growth.

Development programs shouldn’t necessarily be expensive and could be executed in various forms. Official online courses are just one of the many ways of helping your team enrich their skill sets.

Most employees have to be truly engaged in the development process to discover a new talent or comprehension. This is why considering other ways of development is worth your time. They include:

  • Unique tasks and stretch tasks
  • Working directly with a subject specialist
  • Individual mentorship and training
  • Regional networking teams
  • Breaking a task into pieces to allow less experienced workers to develop new skills and understanding

Seventh: Develop an Operational Strategy with Particular Objectives

Develop a strategy that has immediate and specific goals, when you have an understanding of what your team is potentially and currently capable of.

It is much harder to identify an employee’s progression, if you don’t have goals that are clear, precise and that should be achieved until a particular date.

When you’re done with that and right before you start the training process, make sure your team members understand why you’re asking them to discover the new abilities, what you expect them to discover and how this will affect the company and their positions, respectively.

When they finally do reveal these new abilities, you will have to help them put these to use in the work process.

You are going to spend a good deal of your time and money on helping your employees improve their skills. And if you want to get the highest possible return on investment, your workers must be able to put their newly gained and improved skills to use in your company.

Provide your team members with an environment in which they can quickly apply the new skills and get immediate feedback, which will help to improve and fine-tune them. If they can’t use them, the chances are high that the entire development plan will simply go out the window.

Eighth: Tend to Your Employees Before, During and After Training

Having clear objectives, deadlines, and strategy, it is time for you to define how exactly you can set your development plan in motion.

As you might’ve already assumed, employee development plan doesn’t stop at the end of training. Like we’ve already said in the previous part, you need to create an environment that will help your workers to unfold their newly acquired skills and understanding.

This will allow them to conserve the new abilities and will provide new perspective to your company. The more they get to execute these fresh skills, the more proficient they become in them and the more chances your company gets to excel in its business niche.

As the leader above leaders you have to tend to your employees throughout the entire process. It’s necessary to not just monitor the progress or regress, but as well be encouraging, caring, and teaching, when they have trouble with something.

Maybe you’ll need to bring in a third-party specialist once in a while – for a workshop, seminar, or lecture. Your employee development plan will not just provide you with a framework for future advancement, but will create a special bond between you and your team, if you do everything right.

Ninth: Go Vectorly

While all of the above is very important, valuable, and will definitely bear fruit in due time, there are techniques that can help you make your employee development plan more effective and actual.

Vectorly is a novel system that helps you monitor your team’s efficiency, productivity, and overall performance. You can adjust it as you like to match the needs of your team. The system can be integrated with project-managing software, including Trello and Jira to automate the process and make it more effective.

What’s even more important is that Vectorly allows creating skillboards that will help you see the skills and their levels of each of your team members. And this is one of the best things that you can use in your employee development plan.

Vectorly isn’t just focused on task progression and completion monitoring. It’s a complex tool that provides at the same time a wider and deeper perspective of what your staff can achieve and how to get there.

At the end of the day, the whole purpose of an employee development plan is getting your business to the new heights, while providing your workers with an opportunity to improve their current skills and develop new ones. 

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