The Value of an Employee Development Plan



Employees who are encouraged to develop skills, in a way that gently identifies the areas in which they may need improvement, are more able to focus on their career development, as added value has been gained by determining how important those capabilities are to their current or future roles. The development plan aids in this discovery for both employee and manager, becoming a road map to the employee’s future. Pulse surveys set up along the path of the year ahead, become a cohesive implanted tool for the employee, thereby assisting in their career development.


Global leadership Development experts DDI, define engagement as, “the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do and feel valued for doing it.”


Unhappy employees are often less-motivated than employees who feel valued in their workplace. The cost of not training your employees can translate to a much higher cost in the hiring process, and subsequent training of a new employee. High turnover of staff can be prohibitively costly for an organisation. Employee development opportunities can lead to happier, more motivated and thus more efficient employees who feel valued.


Happy employees most often equate to a successful business. No one has spoken more often about this than Sir Richard Branson who has notably said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”

Strong leaders know that ongoing employee development should be a priority, as it is essential in helping the business stay competitive, run effectively and when properly aligned to the priorities and goals, has a direct influence on the company’s bottom line. It is key in driving your business forward. There are endless benefits to developing employees:


  • Attract new and retain existing talent

  • Keep up with industry changes

  • Keep up with the latest technology

  • Stay ahead of competitors

  • Understand strengths and opportunities for development

  • 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 and values holstered with a natural fluency and thirst for technology. By 2030, they will form 50% of the global workforce and they consider the opportunity for career progression and employee development opportunities as the most influential factors when they accept a job.


So you’ve rolled out your capability assessments, and analysed the valuable data provided by your interactive online reports – 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 will want to review the assessment report. This is where you will receive your insights into individual strengths and development opportunities. After reviewing, it is 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 is 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? If reviews only take place once or twice a year, it can be difficult to determine

if your development actions are achieving the desired outcomes, compared to quarterly reviews which offer 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 is 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?


How do you ensure successful development and positive increase in capability? You “pulse” your development. Short, sharp, tailored pulses that are scheduled at regular intervals between assessments to coach, mould and measure your chosen behaviour over time.


"If you believe that training is expensive, it is because you do not know what ignorance costs. Companies that have the loyalty of their employees invest heavily in permanent training programs and promotion systems. " ~ Michael Leboeuf

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