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What is personal development at Work?

5 Steps to Creating Employee Development Plans That Truly Work

A well-thought-out plan provides your employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers. And with a more expanded skill set, they have more tools to help your business forge ahead. It's a win-win for you and your staff.

But an employee development plan or program shouldn’t be created off the cuff. Follow these steps to help make sure your employees' development plans are on point.

Step 1: Consider your business goals

Before you set objectives for employees, you should try to align their development plan with your company’s needs. Otherwise, you and your employees’ efforts could be all for not.

For example, if your business will be going through a growth spurt, you may need additional leaders. What skills do these leaders need to have? Do any of your current employees have the skills – or capability to learn the skills – needed to fulfill these roles?

“If not, developing a plan to bridge the gap between current employee skill sets and needed skill sets would be of great value, ” says Lynne Klein, human resource advisor at Insperity.

“Additionally, creating a career path and demonstrating advancement and promotion opportunities through development can help you retain your top talent, ” says Klein.

Step 2: Talk to your employees

Don’t just assume you know your employees’ skill level and career aspirations.

You should also talk about any challenges they’re having in their current position. Have your employees do a self-assessment of their work. In what areas do they struggle the most? Would they benefit from additional training or mentoring?

Managers: Stop Sweating the Performance Review ProcessSome of your employees may already have a career path in mind. But many times, they don’t know how to get started. By talking to them, you can work together to figure out what role your business plays in this plan as well as what opportunities you can offer them.

Step 3: Decide what skills your employees need

Once you’ve looked at each of your employees’ abilities and experience, as well as your company’s needs, it’s time to decide exactly what skills each person needs to acquire.

Be sure to your employees’ goals are specific and timely. It’s much more difficult to measure an employee’s progress when their objectives are vague or broad.

Step 4: Create an action plan

Now that you know what the objectives are, it’s time to figure out how your employee will go about achieving them.

Developmental programs can include a combination of activities such as formal training, reading, working directly with subject matter experts, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, and visits to institutions that offer specific development opportunities.

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