Article: Steps to ensure a perfect Employee Development Plan

Learning & Development

Steps to ensure a perfect Employee Development Plan

A well-thought-out plan provides employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers. And with a more expanded skill set, they have more tools to help business forge ahead. But an employee development plan or program shouldnt be created off-the-cuff.
Steps to ensure a perfect Employee Development Plan

Most organizations today follow a definite Employee Development Plan to review performance and development of an employee from the person's first day of joining. These are usually training modules that are drafted in such a way that The Employee Performance Evaluation and Development Plans get implemented to ensure realistic and regular review of performance. 

The Employee Performance Evaluation and Development Plan form provides the basis for a uniform appraisal system by standardizing and categorizing appropriate performance factors with a conciseness that reduces subjective evaluation, but it specifically allows each individual’s role to be clarified. This standardization is not meant to deter personal initiative or creativity. When employees understand what is expected of them, they can use individual capabilities and talents in meeting job responsibilities.

When employees understand what is expected of them, they can use individual capabilities and talents in meeting job responsibilities. Managing the performance of employees can be one of the most challenging aspects of operating a business. There are many reasons why an employee may need a development plan; however, it is generally the performance appraisal results that generate discussion about an employee development plan, also referred to as a performance improvement plan.

A well-thought-out plan provides employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers. And with a more expanded skill set, they have more tools to help business forge ahead. But an employee development plan or program shouldn’t be created off-the-cuff. Follow these steps to help make sure your employee development plan is spot on.

Components of an Employee Development Plan

Training Modules

This is the very popular culture in almost all MNC’s and corporate to train people from the first day of joining till few months on a strict module decided by the team leader.

Set Targets

Development can take place only with focus and determination to achieve set targets. These are usually monthly targets that every team member needs to achieve towards the end of the month

Incentives

With the achievement of targets comes the incentives. These added perks helps and motivates the employee to give their best at their jobs and derive the benefits of their hard work from it.

In house Meetings

When a Trainee or an Employee is working on a module, it is imperative for them to get acquainted with in-house strategic meetings in order to understand their company and evaluate their personal growth.

Faced with a difficult economy, some organizations may be tempted to shift their focus away from training and career-development activities. But doing so would be a big mistake. Researches based on employee-opinion surveys in hundreds of organizations across industries, confirms that opportunities for personal development and growth are among the most important factors influencing employees' engagement and commitment.

The relationship between getting ahead and getting motivated should not be surprising. Today's employees recognize that they are responsible for managing their own careers and that their futures depend on continuous elevation of their skills. If employees are not expanding their capabilities, they risk compromising their employability -- within their current organizations or elsewhere.

But development isn't just an employee concern. It's also a strategic imperative for organizational leaders.

Factors that hurt the EDP 

Employee development may be a priority for employees and organizational leaders, but a host of challenges come along with it. Training budgets are constrained. Time-pressured managers struggle to devote adequate time to coaching and developing their teams.

Why We Need to Create a Development Plan?

Development Plans help the organization…

  1. Build a global, diverse talent pipeline for leaders and individual contributors for targeted talent – attracting, developing, and retaining the best and the brightest
  2. Build required capabilities of our employees through development and learning
  3. Keep strong performers within the organization by constantly challenging them either in their current role or desired future role
  4. Address generation issue in a more straightforward way

Organization’s talent pool is the most important asset and in order to build on our skill sets and desires to be successful our company has to make sure that they are doing all they can as an organization and leadership team to build the bridge between where an employee is currently and where the business needs us to be…what are the business goals and how does current talent pool line up to the business and customer needs.

Strategies for Success

  • Connect training to business goals. Ensure that all learning activities contribute to achieving business goals. Supervisors should help employees understand the business plan and deliverables, and how their work impacts organizational performance.
  • Create SMART development goals. The SMART acronym stands for specific, measurable or observable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-oriented. Goals that meet these criteria will be clearly understood by both the supervisor and employee. SMART goals clearly outline:
  • Key developmental objectives for increasing an employee’s current or future performance.
  • Specific actions that the employee should take to accomplish those objectives.
  • A timeline for completion of each objective.
  • Ways to measure successful achievement of each goal.
  • Focus on a few key development areas. Select two or three areas of knowledge and skill the employee should concentrate on building.
  • Focus on both the current job and career development. Develop knowledge and skills that are relevant to current job requirements, anticipated future assignments, and possible promotions. If a succession program exists, integrate related training and competency development with those of the program.
  • Focus on training that can be immediately applied. Adults are experiential learners by nature. Employees should have the opportunity to put training to use before the new knowledge or skill fades.
  • Include a variety of development opportunities. Both training and experiential learning should be included on the IDP. Use a mix of formal classroom training, job shadowing, mentoring, e-learning, assignment to a project team, cross-training, temporary supervisory assignments, and rotational assignments.
  • Provide supervisor training. Teach supervisors how to identify and/or create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills. This is especially important for new supervisors.
  • Monitor and review performance plans. Monitor the completion of IDPs, and report to senior management. Provide feedback and coaching to supervisors on the quality of IDPs. Take corrective action against supervisors who don’t meet expectations.
  • Use 360 degree tools. Consider soliciting input from peers, managers, customers and other stakeholders about an employee’s development needs and opportunities.
  • Develop the IDP in collaboration with the employee. Employees should have a vested interest in their own development. They also have unique insights into their personal developmental needs and career aspirations.

Potential Challenges for EDP

  • Poorly developed EDPs. When employees think their development plans are vague, unrealistic, or unsupported, they disengage and grow skeptical.
  • Lack of executive commitment. Senior executives who openly commit to employee development foster growth and generate huge returns in employee engagement. Conversely, senior executives who ignore or fail to support individual plans generate apathy and disengagement.
  • Failure of supervisor follow-through. Chronic failure to make time for agreed-upon learning opportunities breeds cynicism and reduces employee potential.

Consider the business goals and align plans accordingly

First of all, leaders need to be clear about organization’s long term and short term objectives and  align them with the employee development plan to make help employees contribute to business productivity. Only then can they successfully identify the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies that support those objectives. Before setting objectives for employees, make sure their skill set and knowledge is in accordance with organizational needs.

For example, if any business is expected to experience a growth spurt, manager has to check the need for additional leaders. What skills do these leaders need to have? Do any of the current employees have the skills – or capability to learn the skills – needed to fulfill these roles?If not, developing a plan to bridge the gap between current employee skill sets and needed skill sets would be of great value. Developing internal candidates can save time and money on recruiting, onboarding and training outsiders.

Communication with employees

Be up to date with your employees’ needs and understanding of their respective work profiles. If possible, have a face-to-face discussion with each of the team members to get a better understanding of what their career goals are and how they think they can accomplish them.

Some of the employees working in an organization may already have a career path in mind. But getting started might become a problem By talking to them, as a leader one can work together to figure out what role business plays in this plan as well as what opportunities can be  offered to employees.

Create an action plan

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, and visits to institutions that offer specific development opportunities. Once the particulars of task assignment are allocated to each team member as per their development plan, it can be helpful to create a schedule or time table so that employees keep moving forward and continue to pursue their goals.

Apply the new skills in the workplace

During the whole process of training a considerable amount of time and possibly money is put on stake to help employees improve their skills. To get greatest possible return on investment, very manager should lay out strict guidelines for employees to be able to put those new skills to work in the company.To make for an effective work culture that is driven by goals, there must be healthy competition and proactive participation by each and every member of the team including employees managers, supervisors and HR. To make an employee development a huge success companies should meet certain challenges:

Deal with the short-shelf life of learning and development needs. The development in this fast paced global age is so rapid that every day we learn a new thing about the same work we perform everyday. The same skill set that we develop in months can become obsolete after some years or perhaps months. This makes the need to learn rapidly and regularly more important than ever. This requires organizations to rethink how they must respond by adopting on-demand and mobile solutions that make learning opportunities more readily accessible for their people.

Serve the learning needs of more virtual teams. While most organizations have more people working remotely and virtually, without physical interaction it does require more thought and creativity in how to train this unique segment of the workforce. This includes formal types of learning through courses, but also the informal mentoring and coaching channels. Just because employees are out of sight doesn’t mean they get to be out-of-mind when it comes to learning and development.

Build trust in organizational leadership. Gaining the trust of each member is imperative for any organization and its people. Unfortunately, business leaders continue to face issues of trust. If managers want employees to engage in learning and development, then they need to show that they are actively pursuing their own personal learning journeys as well.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Employee Engagement

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