From the Blog

5 tips for setting employee development objectives every leader should know

Employee development plans can help reach business goals and improve employee retention while increasing job satisfaction and employee engagement. Get the most out of your employee development planning with our top 5 tips for setting objectives.

Tip 1: Set clear goals

Setting clear goals is crucial for driving performance. Employees may have their own career goals while company goals might be focused on the critical outputs related to profit and productivity. A good employee development plan aligns employee aspirations with organisational objectives.

Through a skills gap analysis, team leaders can identify where the gaps in employee behaviour are preventing employees from reaching their potential – and meeting those critical company goals and outputs. 

When goals are unclear, employees are unsure of what they should be focusing on. Clear goals provide a road map for improved performance and conversations around employee growth.

Get employees involved in their professional development plan. Discussing an employee’s career goals and career development can be a great way to get the conversation and development plan started. 

Tip 2: Focus on the behaviours that drive the outputs

When creating employee development plans and objectives it’s easy to get stuck on the outcomes that drive business growth, but focusing on what drives these outputs is what will drive real change.

A shift in sales or average handling time may be your goal, but simply telling your workforce to increase sales or reduce handling time isn’t likely to result in an ongoing change. Focusing on the behaviours that drive the outputs, rather than the outputs themselves, is essential for real employee development. Genuine changes in behaviour that engage customers are more likely to result in sustainable and successful outcomes.

In a contact centre, for example, this might mean tracking specific behaviours such as understanding a customer concern or offering a personalised solution instead of measuring the number of calls handled.

this might mean instead of measuring the number of calls handled, specific behaviours such as understanding a customer concern or offering a personalised solution might be tracked.

While team members may need to master relevant skills or learn new technical competencies, by emphasising behaviours leaders can create a culture of continuous development, which can lead to improved innovation. This culture can also increase employee satisfaction.

Tip 3: Track goals and measure progress

Does this scenario sound familiar? You work with your employee to create a development plan and you’ve set clear objectives, but then you both get busy with daily operational tasks and processes … and forget to monitor progress towards those goals. Associated employee training may even fall by the wayside.

The key here is to ensure that you track goals and progress towards them. Tracking helps to keep the focus on the behaviour that you’ve identified needs to be practised. Regular check-ins help to keep everyone focused while ensuring accountability.

Tracking, through regular check-ins, means that if there’s a problem, you’ll be able to intervene with corrective actions, adjustments and support.

As you track goals it’s important to observe and identify whether the behaviours that are being demonstrated shift capability. This ensures that behavioural goals ultimately meet organisational targets.

When goals are achieved you can then celebrate, review and adjust the development plan to adapt to evolving priorities and keep the focus on ongoing growth.

Tip 4: Provide ongoing support and encouragement

Foster a culture of continuous learning and encourage open communication between you and your teams.

An employee development plan can only go so far in reaching goals if there’s no follow-up and support. Employee coaching, where leaders check in with their teams regularly and while on the job, helps to keep people motivated. Coaching in this way also demonstrates to employees that leaders are committed to their development. It can lead to engaged employees and excitement about future projects and even future careers. 

Focusing on the behaviours (the input) rather than the numbers (the output) means coaches and leaders will need to observe their team more – using the new behaviours agreed to. So be ready to set some time aside in your calendar to make sure time is allocated.

Make sure you support your team with training programs focused on technical skills and leadership skills in addition to on-the-job opportunities. 

Tip 5: Save time with technology

Don’t lose track of your development efforts. Using software to manage and track employee development plans and goals can help people at all levels of the organisation:

  • Employees can take control over their own development goals.
  • Team leaders can save time by gaining visibility over their team’s progress towards goals.
  • HR teams can ensure processes and documentation are aligned across departments and teams.
  • Executive teams can see where employee development programs are impacting outputs.

YakTrak was designed to shift performance and capacity where it matters most – on the job. It ensures that your workforce is clear about what they need to do and makes daily learning and coaching a habit.

Ready to power up your employee development?

Get in touch and we'll show you around YakTrak

Support your goal-setting and employee development plans with YakTrak

YakTrak helps you to set, track and meet employee development goals:

  • Easily create behavioural goals. Team members and leaders can see how they’re tracking on the YakTrak dashboard.
  • Gain total visibility over team member goals.
  • Ensure accountability over goals.
  • Set reminders and notifications so people don’t forget the goals that they’re working towards.

YakTrak can support your employee development program by setting up a rhythm for on-the-job workplace coaching – inspiring people to keep improving.

Get in touch with us today to find out more.