How to create employee development plans that really work

How to create employee development plans that really work

I was chatting with a client last week, they are spending lots of money on training and not really sure about the actual effectiveness of their spend; this conversation ended up with us spending a lot of time dissecting how to create employee development plans that really works.

Employee Development Plans

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) suggests that organizations are investing more money into employee training than ever before. In their most recent State of the Industry Report they found that companies spend an average of $1,273 per employee on direct learning courses and employee development plans.

It’s easy to see why this rise in learning expenditure is the case though. According to research by PwC, the rise in learning and development costs has been spurred on by the expectations of millennials in the workplace. Apparently 35% of millennials claim that they’ll prefer an employer who offers training and employee development programs.

Deloitte agree with PwC, suggesting that if an organization doesn’t offer professional development opportunities they’ll have a hard time retaining their younger talent. Millenials are the most highly educated generation to date, and they’ve grown up accustomed to operating in a fast-moving world. Oh, and don’t forget that everyday they’re exposed to a workplace with lower job security than ever.

Learning is crucial, not just for employees, but the organizations who employee those people. So that begs the question; how can you create employee development plans that actually work?


Creating employee development plans that work well

We’ve decided to highlight five things your company can do to create effective employee development plans and ensure that they’re as effective at helping your employees learn as you need them to be.

1. Encourage senior employees to get involved (their knowledge is priceless)

Your junior employees and trainees can learn from nobody better than someone who’s been there and done their role in the past. Incentivising managers to lead employee development programs and share their knowledge is not only beneficial for the trainee but also for the manager as it’s a prime opportunity for them to further their leadership and management skills.

2. Enable junior employees to take ownership over their own plans

While it’s a good idea to put a structure in place for employee development plans, it can also be wise to allow younger employees the capacity to shape their own development plans based on their interests and career aspirations.

For example, if someone on your marketing team wants to learn more about coding, your initial reaction might be to suggest they focus on marketing-related courses. However, if the marketer was interested in learning code so that they could become a UX designer in the future that might be of interest to the organization in the long term as well.

3. Provide flexible working options

Asking employees to do intense professional development on top of their already busy schedule might not be the wisest of ideas, particularly if you require the employee to be situated on-site or have to do their training with other. By offering on-demand and mobile courses, companies can make development plans more accessible and enjoyable.

That point stands true for remote-based workers too, or even people who prefer to learn entirely outside of the office.  To learn more about setting up your employees remotely check out this blog: Solving The 6 Major Challenges Of Managing Remote Teams

4. Align different learning options with different learning styles

The way the that Baby Boomers learned their trade is quite different from the way that some Millennials approached it. Couple that with the fact that some people prefer to learn by reading while other choose to listen, or taken in more through visual learning, and you have a small conundrum!

Creating employee development plans which offer people the chance to choose which learning style they prefer is a great way to not only increase the effectiveness of the plan, but also make the entire process more enjoyable and rewarding for the participants.

5. Track the progress of your trainees

Use employee training tracking software to measure and monitor the employee development plans from start to end. Why? Well, you can manage and track how each employee is progressing through their plan, e.g., are they on schedule? Are they struggling on certain sections?

What’s more, you can use the software to link documents and information to particular employees, as well as generating reports on performance.

How to Apply This to Your Business

Any software you choose to manage employee development plans should be easy and quick for your employee to engage with.

I hope that by sharing our own experiences cracking the code for effective employee development plans that make the team and skills stronger, this post helps you have better training’s, become more productive and develop a better culture as a result.

Employee Training Tracking Software: 3 Steps to a Successful Implementation

Employee Training Tracking Software: 3 Steps to Ensure a Successful Implementation

Every month during client calls, we get dozens of questions about best practices for creating a successful training program. Employee Training Tracking Software implementations make up a large part of this number. In this article I will give you some tips for implementing a training tracking system with the best possible outcome.

In 2017, there was a reported 32.5 percent increase to $90.6 billion on training expenditure by US-based organizations. Employee Training Tracking Software implementations make up a large part of this number.  It’s a figure that is being driven higher every year by several factors, but two of the most important are:

Employee Training Tracking SoftwareA desire from millenials for more learning opportunities: 59 percent of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important when they’re applying for new jobs

Employee retention rates increase: Research shows that new employees who experience a well-structured onboarding program are 69 percent more likely to remain at that company for at least three years.

Considering millenials are going to comprise the bulk of the workforce by 2030, and that the cost of employee turnover is ever-increasing, it’s important that your business has a thorough employee training program in place.

Let’s takes a look at the steps involved in building out a successful training program and implementing tracking software to measure its performance.

Building an effective employee training program

Identify what training your employees need

Before you even begin design your training program you should figure out exactly what training your employees needs in order to have the most impact upon your business. Starting with a skills gap analysis will help you identify areas where the business may be currently lacking.

It’s also helpful to ask your employees what they would like to learn about. While you might have a high-level overview and understanding of your business, your employees can offer a fresh perspective and help you determine which skills or traits could be useful for current, and future, employees to have. Asking questions such as the following might be a great place to start:

What do you think you struggle with the most at work?

What way do you learn best?

How could we help your team improve its performance?

Are there any interests you have outside of work that you’d like to learn more about?

Once the needs and desired skills have been identified it’s time to begin planning your employee training program and set your program objectives. If you want to learn more about how to define Skill Gaps check out this blog post:

Setting objectives based on your business and employee needs

It’s crucial to define the goals and objectives of your training program before you actually take any strides. Training new employees without any real direction will inevitably result in unimpressive outcomes. You can use a series of criteria or parameters to formulate your questions, such as:

  • How will team performance improve after the completion of the program?
    • Example: “The customer success team will be able to respond to questions X% faster using (x) tool”
  • Why will employees be in a better position to hit their targets after the program?
    • Example: “The sales teams will be able to use (x) platform to target our ideal customers”
  • How will the training prepare employees for future leadership roles?
    • Example: “X employee will be able to implement constructive performance reviews for his/her team”
  • How will this program improve employee retention rates?
    • Example: “Our turnover rate next year will decrease by X% after we plan team-building activities that boost employee morale and retention


Now that you’ve determined what you need from your training and what your objectives are, it’s time to put in place the process of measuring your training’s performance.

Using employee training tracking software to measure the success of your program

In the same way that you assess your employees and their team performance, you should put in place the appropriate measures to track the performance of your employee training programs.  You can use two methods to help paint a picture of how successful your training program has been:

  1. Conduct employee interviews and use feedback to help you inform the process in the future. This might include questions such as:
  • What new (e.g. task, tool, skill) did you learn from the program?
  • How will (or did) you apply this newly-acquired knowledge on the job?
  • What did you like about the program and what should we improve (e.g. topic, methodology, instructor, material)?


  1. Use employee training tracking software to measure and monitor the training process from start to end. The benefits of using employee training tracking software include:
  • The ability to manage and track employee training events through the use of employee profiles and requirements
  • Set up links to documents and control which employees see certain records
  • Generate reports on training performance including updates on submissions and progress


Over time you’ll be able to use both of these methods in tandem to help you gauge the effectiveness of your training programs.

What Training Questions Do You Still Have?
What did I miss? What are you still wondering?
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