January 23, 2018
Training and Development 24 November 2017
Creating effective Employee Development Plans
Hannah Son
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Nothing ever stands still, especially business. New plans, products, technology, and strategies are constantly appearing. If your employees are not being trained on these, you are putting your organization at risk. 

This is where a good employee training and development plan will help your organization grow and facilitate greater employee engagement. But how do you create the ideal employee development plan

Let’s start by considering the benefits of employee training and development. A well-thought-out plan provides your employees with growth opportunities and a clear pathway to advance their careers. It’s a win-win for the employee and employer. Here are some steps to help make sure your employees’ development plans are on point:


Have clear goals: 

Any good plan starts with clear goals. Your organization must have clear and concrete outcomes in order to make sure you also have the correct training and development materials that add value. According to the Huffington Post, here are some factors that might play into your company’s current needs — and therefore shape your goals and outcomes for the training program.

  • Stage of business. What stage is your business is in? Are you a growing business that’s adding multiple employees every month or are you a more established organization with low turnover? These are two highly different situations and no training program is a one-size-fits-all solution.

  • Employee roles and responsibilities. When it comes to training specific groups of employees, you have to consider their roles. What will they be doing, and what won’t they be doing? Without a clear understanding of everyone’s responsibilities, training efforts could be misguided.

  • Industry requirements. Depending on the various organizations your business is involved in and the licensing or oversight groups that have jurisdiction over it, certain types of training could be mandatory to stay in business.

  • Firsthand knowledge. You can’t always quantify what your employees need. Sometimes, you have to simply observe what’s going on to recognize a shortcoming that needs addressing.

Once you’ve identified your business goals, you can identify the necessary skills and knowledge that support those goals.


Provide opportunities: 

Training and development programs don’t always equal classrooms and teachers. There are numerous ways to provide your employees with training. Most people need to have interest in order to be engaged in learning a new skill or growing within a position. That is why other types of development such as special projects, working with a mentor or networking groups may be even better than a course. 

Implementing pathways and taking on parts of a superior’s job is a particularly great way to grow within a position. By utilizing this strategy, less experienced employees are given the chance to grow and build their skill sets so that they can be promoted from within

To keep your employees engaged, your materials and a curriculum should come down to three options: 

  • Develop your own resources. In 2016 and beyond, it’s now possible for your business to create cost-effective training programs in-house by leveraging new technologies that allow you to combine content, develop visuals, and build courses without any preexisting knowledge of training program development.

  • Bring in an outside party. While you can save a lot of money developing your own resources, it takes a fair amount of time. If you want to streamline the process, you may choose to outsource training to another firm.

  • Use generic industry resources. Finally, you can turn to generic industry resources such as books, guides, online videos, manuals, etc., if you’re looking for cheap and easy. This is pretty much guaranteed to be the least effective method, however.

Make sure you provide your employees with options that you weigh together.


Personalize plans: 

The first step in creating an employee development plan is to sit down with the employee and discuss motivation factors like individual interests and career goals. This is a necessary conversation that will identify the development activities that the employee should focus on. No two employees are the same and not everyone shares the same career goals. 

The development plan should act as a roadmap with necessary skills, timeframes, deadlines and personalized career goals. By creating an employee development plan, you nurture talent and turn them into key employees in the company.

Don’t assume you know your employees’ skill level and career aspirations. Talk with each of your team members to get a better understanding, one employee could be open to many positions while the other is dead set on one goal. Ask them to discuss any challenges they’re having in their current position, have them assess their own performance and help them understand what role your business can play in their plans as well as what opportunities you can offer them.


Furthermore, although you’ll have the final say over your training program, don’t leave your employees uninvolved. There’s a lot of potential value in their input! Ask them for their feedback and work together with them to create something great.

A great employee training and development plan takes careful consideration of many factors but at the end of the day, it will motivate your employees, create personalized growth, more opportunities and higher engagement. Ultimately, it benefits your business more than any other party by saving time and money on recruiting, onboarding and training outsiders.

For more tips on how to improve your employee training and help them achieve their full potential, check out the Training and Development section of ProSky's blog to read some more great articles with helpful tips and advice.