How valuable is an employee development plan?



As the need for more in-depth HR analytics increases to properly design effective development programs, the use of data-driven technology is rapidly growing - according to the Society of Human Resource Management. In this week’s blog, we discuss the importance of an employee development plan and what should transpire after an assessment to ensure success.



Why is employee development important?


Savvy leadership within an organization knows that ongoing employee development should be made a priority, as it’s key in driving your business forward. This not only provides learning opportunities for the individual, but it’s essential in helping the business stay competitive, run effectively and when properly aligned to the priorities and goals, it has a direct influence on the company’s bottom line.


There are endless benefits to invest in people, below are some of the key reasons why you should:



  • Attract new and retain existing talent

  • Keep up with industry changes

  • Keep up with the latest technology

  • Stay ahead of competitors

  • Be able to see weaknesses and skill gaps

  • Advance employee skills

  • Increase job satisfaction levels

  • Provide internal promotion opportunities


A report by research powerhouse, PwC also confirms the first bullet point is a real challenge for businesses - especially when it comes to millennials. This generation is changing the world of work with new priorities, values and their obssession with technology. By 2020, they will form 50% of the global workforce and employee development opportunities are the most influential factor when they accept a job. They expect rapid progression, a varied and interesting career and constant feedback.



After the assessment is over…


So you've decided that development is a worthy investment for your business and you’ve rolled out assessments to your leaders and staff. Now that the assessment process is complete, feedback received and reports debriefed – what’s next?


The process after an assessment should focus on outlining and implementing a post-assessment employee development plan. It should result in frequent conversations with the manager or mentor and be tracked with clear, measurable outcomes where the effects can be debriefed and used to determine next steps. 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

  • Visits to institutions that offer specific development opportunities




Next you’ll want to review the assessment report. This is where you will receive your insights into individual strengths and development opportunities. After reviewing, it’s recommended that you set clear objectives and ensure those objectives are focused enough so they can be measured over time - this way they can be broken into bite-sized chunks and actually achieved.


At this point, you need to start thinking what it’s going to take to put your employee development plan into action:



  • Is there any prep work that needs to be done?

  • Is anyone else involved?

  • Will employees need to take time away from work?

  • Will someone else need cover for them while they’re training?


After you have all the details sorted out, it can be helpful to create a schedule so that employees keep moving forward and continue to pursue their goals.



Why does frequency matter?


Over the years, one major mistake I’ve seen is when organizations try to combine development action plans with the annual or bi-annual performance review. With these reviews only taking place once or twice a year, this is too long to wait to determine if your development actions are achieving the desired outcomes.


I recommend quarterly reviews of development. This offers enough frequency to determine if they are achieving results, and long enough to allow for meaningful development without giving participants more work than is absolutely necessary.


The review of the development should focus on what’s working, what’s not working, what could be improved and what options are available to assist with this.


Great milestone questions to keep in mind are:



  • What am I doing?

  • Is it producing the desired outcome?

  • What are my next steps?

  • What do I need to achieve those next steps and by when?




If you include norms or benchmarks in your competency framework, this can also assist in development. This allows an understanding of where an organization can stretch to and how they can develop in both a measurable and meaningful manner.


If you are the Head of Talent within a global enterprise and you would like to get more information on how to design and implement a successful competency assessment program, then we encourage you to download our complimentary eBook.


You can also subscribe to the Insights Blog to receive similar thought-leadership content straight to your inbox each week.


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