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Steps to Consider in Creating an Employee Development Plan

Author: Dave Rietsema - Matchr CEO

While the benefits of employee development are worth the cost of the investment, it’s important to have a good employee development plan. The employee development plans can be the difference between employees reaching their full potential and the company wasting money on unnecessary training. What steps should businesses’ follow to ensure that they’re creating the best possible employee development plan?

Consider Your Company’s Goals

In creating an employee development plan, it’s important to consider your business’ goals. The purpose of employee development is to provide your employees with skills they’ll need to excel and grow within your company. What skills will it most benefit your company for your employees to have? Your employees can be your most valuable asset in meeting your company’s goals if they’re developed properly.

Discuss Development with Your Employees

Before creating any kind of plan for training or employee development, talk with your employees. It’s important to know what their career goals are before developing a plan that will affect that career. You may discover that your employees have ideas for their own development or problems that they would like to correct. HR can help employees understand how the development will fit into their own career goals as well.

Recognize the Difference Between Potential and Readiness

Just because an employee has great potential doesn’t mean they’re ready for more responsibility or for a new position. Being great at their current job may mean they have potential, but doesn’t always indicate that they’d be ready to advance. The goal of your employee development program should be to ensure that employees are ready for another position before they’re actually moved into it.

Consider a Variety of Development and Training Types

Not all employees learn the same way. There are a variety of different types of training available, including online learning and classroom training. Your staff will learn the new skills better if they’re presented in a manner that works best to keep them engaged. Offering multiple types of training and employee development means that they’ll be able to learn more effectively in a way that best fits their needs.

Is Your Employee Development Program Effective?

Employee development programs are extremely important in this modern culture of frequent change. Unfortunately, a recent Deloitte study revealed that roughly 60 percent of organizations feel that their learning programs fall short in actually supporting employee development. Answering the following questions may help you to ascertain how effective your employee development program is.

Are Your Training Tools up to Par?

Employee training videos and quizzes used to be effective for several years, but now they often need to be updated more frequently to keep up with changing trends. Go through your training tools, actually watching videos and taking quizzes to evaluate how effective the learning program is at keeping employees up to snuff with current skills needs.

Additionally, review your training materials to assess how effective they are for preparing employees for real-life on the job situations. Do you feel that an employee would be adequately informed and educated in order to perform the next job that they would be promoted to after receiving the training? If not, consider revamping your training tools and making updates.

Does Your Culture Encourage Development?

If your culture doesn’t support continuous development, it can be difficult to get employees to buy-in. Employees should see other employees participating in training regularly and reaping rewards in their current positions and possibly moving up to higher positions. Managers should offer training support and be available – whether in person or through messaging – to answer questions and provide assistance.

Do Your Managers Lead by Example?

In addition to being there for employees through their training programs, managers should also be engaging in their own continuous development. If they are and they’re not talking about it, employees may be discouraged and think that managers are exempt from training. Make sure that managers are leading by example and using their training experiences to guide employees.

Can Your Employees Easily Engage?

Engagement with training is not a simple fix. While making training modules available online may accommodate digital-savvy employees, employees with less computer savvy may be reluctant to participate or may be more confused about accessing training than the training itself. Be sure to consider different employee needs when designing training programs.

Speaking with a sampling of employees from different departments may help to give you more perspective on the matter. Ask how current training programs are working for them and make changes according to given feedback.

Is Development Incentivized?

Incentives don’t have to be bonuses or raises for completing training. Having a highly visible succession plan in place in which training needs are clearly outlined as they relate to promotional opportunities can be an incentive to participate. Make sure that there is proper motivation for taking part in training, whether that’s as simple as a clear benefit from training or a consequence of not participating.

Making sure that an employee development program is effective isn’t clear-cut, but can be tremendously rewarding. Taking the time to craft a training plan that engages and prepares employees can give your company an advantage while equipping your employees to perform to the highest standards.

HR software can be extremely helpful in developing an effective employee development program and in making it accessible. If you don’t currently use HR software or if your current software could use an overhaul, we can help match you with your perfect solution. Visit our Software Match page to get started.

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