The 6 Essential Steps of Creating Employee Development Plans

Would you launch a new product or business investment without first creating a strategic plan?

The answer to that question is more than likely no.

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Yet so many organizations do just that when it comes to their most important resource: their people. It’s vital to be just as strategic with your employees, including their training and development, as you are with everything else in your organization. Once you’re strategic with the management of your employees other areas of your business will see improvement as a result.

Employee development plans are an individualized way to look at present employee performance, gauge where gaps exist, develop targeted training and build and strengthen your employees’ skills and knowledge levels. Creating a comprehensive development plan is much less overwhelming or intimidating than it may seem, and in the process you’re likely to uncover new areas of talent on the part of your employees, as well as overall organizational weaknesses that can be addressed to strengthen the performance of not only your employees but your entire business.

Step One: Look at Needs

Begin the process of creating employee plans by looking at your organizational needs both on a small and large scale. Think about the roles employees are expected to fill and how these positions fit into a larger and more globalized business strategy.

This step of the planning process will let you create a baseline for what’s needed for success amongst your employees, which you can then use to make comparisons with step two, which involves analyzing your employees.

Step Two: Analyze Employees

You can’t possibly know the best way to develop your employees without assessing where they currently stand.

This is often a multi-faceted process which includes a diagnostic assessment of overall skills and knowledge and the identification of gaps, but also within the analysis process it’s important to think about how employees view themselves within the organization and where they see their strengths and weaknesses.

During this part of the process it’s important to gather measurable data, which provides a way to demonstrate growth or a lack thereof during the development process.

Step Three: Plan and Set Goals

Step three, much like step two, requires you to look at not only employees on an individual level but also your business as a whole.

Start by assessing your strategic business goals, and then develop personalized employee development goals that center around these strategies.

During step three outline how success and failure will be measured, and how performance will be assessed.

Create a plan of action for your business and your employees, and outline steps that show how these actions will be undertaken.

Step Four: Implement Training

Training is an imperative part of creating employee development plans. Once you’ve assessed your needs, the needs of employees and any gaps that may exist it’s time to create targeted training and development addressing each of these areas.

e-Learning is a valuable tool for implementing individualized employee development paths because it’s an inexpensive and effective way to personalize the training process, particularly when compared with in-person and classroom training, which often takes a one-size-fits-all approach to the process.

Step Five: Assess Changes in Performance

Before you can assess changes in employee performance you should assess how well they comprehend and retain training information. Include quizzes and other methods of assessment within e-Learning training modules, and then develop standards for measuring actual performance based on that training.

Provide feedback at two levels: first at the training level and then at the on-the-job performance level. Without providing feedback employees aren’t going to have the tools they need to alter or maintain their performance level.

Step Six: Reassess

Now, once the first five steps of creating an employee development plan are implemented it’s the time to be reassessing.

Look at how changes in training and development have impacted your business performance as well as individual employee performance and make adjustments where needed.

It’s worth noting that employee development and training are an on-going process and should be treated as something that’s continually occurring within your workplace. These six steps don’t happen once—they happen again and again as your business grows and becomes more streamlined and competitive.

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