Are your employees happy? Do you have high turnover? What can you do to keep your most important assets satisfied? Since you know it costs more time and money to hire new talent than to keep your current workforce, it’s important to focus on employee development for each member of your team. Here are some statistics that make a strong case for employee development plans according to Medium:
- ⅓ of a person’s time is spent at work
- By the age of 30, most people will have had seven or eight jobs
- 80 percent of people hate their jobs
So with these statistics in mind, it’s imperative to create an employee development plan for each of your employees. This plan is simply an action plan or working document for both employees and managers. It maps out employee growth strategies, areas for improvement, and shows how personal development will help meet overall company goals. These plans should not be confused with personal development plans. Unlike personal development, employee development is a joint plan put together by both employees and managers.
Creating a good employee development plan will make sure you retain your most valuable employees. And for employees, it will define training and a plan for career advancement within your organization. With an increased skill set, your employees will perform their jobs better, business will grow, and everyone will reap the benefits.
Key components to a people development plan
If you’ve never developed an employee development plan or need help with the process, there are a few key components to consider.
1. What are your business goals?
Before you can begin defining an employee development plan, you’ll need to examine your business goals. What are the objectives of your business? What are the objectives for each internal team and how do these relate to the overall company goals? Then figure out what skills are needed to obtain each of these objectives.
Also, take note of any major company changes. For example, will you be rolling out a new product line? And if so, does your current staff have the skills to do this? And if not, what will they need to know to be successful and how much time will this development take?
The more concrete your goals are, the better you’ll be able to tailor each employee development plan.
2. What are your employees' goals?
Remember a people development plan is a two-way communication plan between employees and managers. So make sure your next step it to talk to each employee on your team. What do your employees feel their strengths are? And what skills do they feel they need further development in, in order to be successful?
This is also a good opportunity to find out what your employees’ goals are. Do they see themselves in management or maybe switching to a different department? Workplace communication is paramount and the more empowered your employees feel to talk freely, the happier they will be to do the tasks asked of them.
3. What skills are needed?
Once you compare your company and department goals with those of your employees, you’ll need to decide what objectives are needed to achieve these goals. Make sure to write down S.M.A.R.T. objectives (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.) that way you can see when objectives are being met or missed. Then decide what type of training you’ll be giving your employees to achieve their outlined objectives. For example, will it be classroom, online or more of a blended learning program.
It’s also important to take into account your employees’ attitudes toward learning new skills. What is their readiness versus potential? In other words, readiness is their ability to learn the new skills outlined. And potential involves external factors in their lives such as desire, experience, and personal situations. Taking readiness and potential in account well help paint a clearer picture of when and if these new skills will be learned. And if objectives are missed, it’s easier to see what factors were involved.
Common pitfalls to avoid
Before you decide which employee development plan template to use, make sure you avoid these common mistakes. It will make your plans stronger, easier to achieve, and will avoid confusion as to what is expected of employees and managers.
- Plan is too rigid
When you discuss the goals for your employee development plan, explain to each employee that plans and goals can shift. For example, if you are training an employee to take the place of a manager retiring, maybe the manager stays longer than anticipated in their current position. Or a new skill is needed that was not written in the plan due to a new company-wide product launch.
- Plan is too aggressive
Although you want to achieve several learning objectives with each of your employees, there are only so many hours in the day. If an employee development plan is too complex, you’ll lose your employees’ attention to achieve it. Likewise, managers have other responsibilities and can’t adequately oversee multiple objectives and multiple team members.
- Plan achievement put on managers
Managers are meant to oversee their teams. However, whether or not training is taken and objectives achieved is ultimately up to the employees. Employee development plans need to lay out what training is needed and what skills will be learned, but employees need to understand they are responsible for executing the plan, not their team leaders.