From the Blog

Creating an employee development plan

All of us will be asked to do something during our careers that we’re not sure how to do. What happens next defines the kind of workplace we work in and the type of workplace we want to be a part of.

Employees are often asked to magically learn new skills without guidance, coaching or on-the-job development. Some leaders simply don’t see people development as a priority. It takes second place to the many other administrative and operational tasks a leader faces daily. A team without a people development framework sets a course for disaster, with no support or plan to help identify and address capability gaps or drive organisational goals. Employees learn 90% of what they know on the job, so it stands to reason structured learning interventions and a people development process that guides development on the job is non-negotiable.


Why create a development plan?

Employees are motivated by self-development. Having personal or career development plans in place for employees that are aligned to organisational goals will assist in improving employee satisfaction and drive business results.

Employee development plans that include action plans for training and development also address an organisation’s future needs, reduce recruitment costs and improve negative attrition.


How do I create a development plan?

The most successful development plans are created between a manager and their employee. This kind of collaboration ensures that the employee is realistic about what they can achieve, while the business gains clarity on employee aspirations.

Create an effective development plan with these steps:

  1. Assess capability
    • Self and leader assessments are a great way to determine a baseline of current capability.
  2. Identify career and organisational goals
    • Define employee career goals and align them with organisational goals to ensure the team member is on a development journey that helps them and the organisation.
  3. Develop an action plan
    • Identify development opportunities and activities to help bridge the gap between current and desired capabilities. Ensure the plan includes activities from the 70:20:20 principle (70% learned on the job, 20% from peers and leaders and 10% from formal training programs).
  4. Map the plan to a timeline
    • Adding a time frame to key activities maximises the chance of success. Be clear about when key activities should be completed.
  5. Identify resourcing
    • A great development plan won’t work if you don’t have the resources or time to implement them. Ensure you have a plan for addressing any potential issues that may impact the success of the development plan.
  6. Document and track Progress
    • Development plans can often end up as a ‘set and forget activity’. The reality is they are a fluid document that should be reviewed, adjusted, and reflected on regularly.


What are development opportunities?

Development opportunities can be any kind of activity that helps employees build capability in the areas you have identified. This can include:

  • On-the-job observation and coaching
  • Self-paced e-learning
  • Learning journeys
  • Mentoring
  • Joining professional organisations
  • Formal training and certifications
  • Networking
  • Attending conferences, webinars and workshops
  • Taking on more responsibilities in your current role
  • Stepping up to act in a more senior position temporarily
  • Leading or contributing to a special project
  • Opportunities to demonstrate specific behaviours while engaged in day-to-day activities


What are the risks in creating a development plan?

The biggest risk to an employee development plan is apathy. Too often great plans are created …then forgotten as everyday priorities take over. Don’t let your organisation’s development plans gather cobwebs!

Make sure you are regularly tracking progress of your own and your team members’ development plans. To do this effectively, a people development system that points leaders to the right actions and frequency to support a development plan is necessary.


YakTrak can help

YakTrak’s people development software can help get your development programs on track, by:

  • Motivating with regular goal setting and feedback
  • Tracking and monitoring coaching progress and speed to competency
  • Providing nudges when actions are almost due
  • Establishing a consistent operating rhythm and cadence
  • Embedding learning and coaching into the daily routine of your workforce
  • Improving visibility over people development activities

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you.


Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash