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.  To 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 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. Furthermore, it can 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 has interest in learning code so that they can 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.