The development of your employees is one of the more valuable things that you can do as a business. Your employees make your business better, interact with customers, and bring your company value. When you can develop employees over time, you can turn loyalty into better skills and more productive personnel. A development plan helps employees externalize and realize career goals, which are essential to long-term job happiness. In this post we’ll talk about how to create an employee development plan template.
Still, that great development and training won’t just happen on its own. It is important to identify different types of employees and different trajectories, working with these different people to develop invaluable ways. With the right development plan, average employees become good employees and good employees become leaders.
Why Create a Development Plan?
Growth is better when it’s intentional. Like a trellis in a garden, a development plan helps an employee channel all that energy and learning into directions that matter for their own life and for your company. Growth will be somewhat random if it isn’t a bit planned. Help employees develop through a variety of different ways, including a development plan. The wrong development plan creates the wrong development. Let’s look at how to create an employee development plan template.
Creating a development plan can also help you and your employee tell when the plan is going well. Once you’ve got goals that you’re trying to measure, you can tell when those goals are or are not met. You’ve got something to measure and track progress. This is great to affirm and reward employees who meet and exceed those expectations and it helps you adjust expectations and encourage employees that don’t meet them.
Training is critical for the success of your leaders as well as your entry-level employees. One in four leaders report that training was critical to their success. Training leaders can be hard. It’s best to involve leaders in their own training so that they can begin to develop their own style of leadership which will help and serve them in your company.
Every Company is Different
Every company has different needs and will work with employees in different ways. There is no single right way to approach employee development and every company will do it according to their own leadership and culture. Recent years have seen the rise of charismatic business leaders who make bold decisions and front page news for their innovative strides in tech, personel, and management styles.
It can be difficult to get what you pay for when hiring, but continuing to develop employees after they’re working for you is a great way to make sure that happens. When crafting a development plan, you’re always considering two things. First, consider the nature of the person and their values and beliefs about the world. The development plan must meet them where they’re at as a person distinct from your company. Second, consider the nature of your company. What will you need 5 years from now that you could start training for today? What skills do your employees lack that you could get through training instead of hiring?
Every Employee is Different
People have a variety of different learning styles. Every employee is different. Sometimes, employees won’t learn something that you’d love them to learn until they just happen to be ready for it. Sometimes when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
If you fail to make employees agents in their own development plan writing, they won’t take ownership over it. They’ll see it as an imposition of the company or as a disinterested way to maximize profits and productivity. If you make it a conversation with your employees, they’ll realize that not only do you care about the success of your business but you also care about them as people. They’ll be able to develop goals that work for them and for you, and will take a greater amount of responsibility over those goals that they’ve set.
Still, employees need guidance. They’ll need your leadership to help them have vision and dreams for their own development. Great leaders can see potential in people before those people can see it themselves, and they can give words and vision to potential that people are just grasping at. Employee development plans are an area where employees really will need the advice and input of a trusted leader.
If your company doesn’t provide strategies or plans for your growth as an employee, it might be time to look for a new job.
Development Plan Template
Setting good goals can be difficult, so focus on things that are realistic and attainable. If you focus too much on the short term goals you can lose focus on the long game, and the development plan becomes useless. Set career goals that are both short term and long term. Here’s how to how to create an employee development plan template:
Types of Goals
Make three columns of boxes to represent the distance and vision of a goal:
- Immediate: These are the types of goals and activities which will be immediately put in place by the employee and employer. They are changes that are simple, easy, and effective.
- Mid-range: Mid-range goals are things that can be achieved in a year to a few years. They’re skills, changes in attitude, things that must be achieved by more steps.
- Long-term: A five-year plan. Where are each of these categories in five years? How do the immediate and mid-range goals help add up to a successful completion of the five-year plan?
Things to Develop
Here are a few different things to consider when forming the horizontal rows of types of things for the employees to work on.
- Hard skills: This will depend on your profession. While you can certainly leverage the gig economy to grow your business, you can also develop those skills in your employees. If someone expresses an interest in a skill and clearly has some background and talent, it might be a good investment for the company to help get them some training.
- Soft skills: They aren’t just for interviews. How does the employee hope to develop in their interactions with others, including superiors, other employees, clients, customers, friends, and family?
- Performance: Job numbers, efficiency, and sales. Any measurable thing that you and your employees think should be improved upon relates to performance.
- Lifestyle and health: Should they workout more? Drink more water? Meditate more? Sleep more? Don’t suggest health and lifestyle goals to employees, but brainstorm with them to help them discover those things for themselves.
At the bottom of the paper, note any obstacles that the employee or employer sees that might prevent the completion of any of those types of goals. It may be hard to walk a line between intimacy and professionalism in this case, as sometimes the most personal things about ourselves can represent obstacles to our professional growth and success. Without the right amount of challenge, employees may be encouraged to job hop. And without the right amount of challenge and personal engagement, it might be the right move.
The Process Moving Forward
Have a Discussion
Challenges help people grow, and greater challenges can help people grow even more. Have a conversation with your employee about things that they find challenging or scary at work and talk about ways that they can face those things in ways that are comfortable for them.
Have the Employee Fill Out the Plan
After your initial conversation, have them fill out the plan and continue to brainstorm how they want to grow.
Have More Discussions
The employee is not meant to serve the plan, the plan is meant to serve the employee. If the plan isn’t working, things need to change. The plan should be evaluated by the employer and employee on a monthly basis to make sure that it is still helpful. Don’t be afraid of making adjustments or empowering the employee to make adjustments. It’s written in ink, not stone.
A good staffing agency can help you find great employees, but only a great company can grow those employees further to their full potential. Take the time to invest in the growth and success of those around you!