What is employee development ?
Employee development is the process of improving employees’ skills and knowledge or helping them develop new skills or knowledge. It can be used to improve employee performance, help employees prepare for new roles or responsibilities, or simply keep employees up-to-date on changes in the workplace.
Employee development is initiated by the employer and is often led by the HR department or learning and development (L&D) team. It is put in place to meet the needs of the business and forms an important part of workforce planning.
Why does employee development matter, and how do you implement it ?
Although the focus on employee development is to improve employee skills to meet the needs of the organization, it plays an important role in supporting job satisfaction and attracting new talent. A company that offers employee development opportunities is often seen as more attractive to job seekers than one that does not.
Employee development can take many forms, from formal training programs to on-the-job learning experiences. The most important part of any employee development program is that it meets the needs of both the organization and the employees.
This combination of benefits helps create a workforce that is not only competent but is also motivated to perform strongly and support company goals.
Having first ensured wider employee development goals match the organization’s goals, managers should incorporate employee development goals into an employee’s individual objectives.
This provides a simpler way of tracking individual progress and understanding where additional support is needed. It also helps identify the success of varying methods, helping inform the broader organizational L&D strategy.
Types of employee development
Employee development goes far beyond sending employees on training courses. There are many different ways to help employees develop their skills and improve their knowledge. These include:
Training courses, whether remote or in-person, provide an opportunity to teach employees about new skills or information in a controlled environment. These courses provide an unequaled opportunity to ensure that each employee has access to exactly the same information at the same time.
Training can be used throughout an employee’s career to help them advance their knowledge and grow their skills base.
Giving an employee the opportunity to work on a new project with other employees is a great opportunity to help them learn from their new co-workers and develop additional skills.
These assignments can also help employees learn more about their own abilities and how they work best under pressure.
By providing a mentoring scheme, an organization can help improve employee confidence, communication skills, and visibility. Mentoring can help support problem solving and innovative thinking by helping ‘unlock’ the theory that has been learned elsewhere.
A mentorship program's best practices are a great way to help employees learn from more experienced colleagues. These programs can be used to help new employees transition into the organization or to help more experienced employees take on new roles or responsibilities.
Industry-wide conferences are a fantastic opportunity for employees to see new ideas and spark creative thinking. Conferences provide employees with education and the opportunity to discuss ideas with others for greater inspiration.
Attending and participating in networking events is another great way to help employees develop their skills.
By meeting new people, employees can learn about different ways of thinking and working. This type of exposure can help them think outside the box and come up with new ideas for their workplace.
Allowing employees to shadow other employees is a great way to help them learn about new roles and responsibilities. Shadowing allows employees to see how others work and how they tackle different challenges.
This type of employee development can be especially helpful for employees who are considering a career change. By shadowing someone in a role that they are interested in, they can better understand what the role entails and whether it is the right fit for them.
Employees can access various online courses that can help them develop new skills. These courses can be taken at their own pace and in their own time, making them an excellent option for employees with busy lives.
Whether a promotion or a lateral move, new roles reward employees and allow them to learn new skills. Employees who take on new roles can learn about different aspects of the business from different departments or teams.
This type of employee development can also help to build employee confidence and improve their career prospects.
What are the employee development areas ?
There are several employee development areas that companies should focus on to help their employees reach their full potential. These employee development areas include :
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Creative thinking
- Critical thinking
- Conflict resolution
Some of these employee development areas, such as communication and leadership skills, are essential for all employees. Other employee development areas, such as creative thinking and critical thinking, are more important for employees who are in roles that require them to think outside the box.
How to Create a Strong Employee Development Plan ?
Creating solid employee development plans is essential for any organization. By developing a plan, an organization can make sure that its employees have the opportunities they need to grow and succeed.
There are a number of steps that organizations can take to create strong development plans :
1. Assess employee needs
The first step in creating an employee training and development plan is to assess the needs of your employees. What skills do they need to develop? What areas do they need to improve in?
2. Choose employee development areas
Once you have assessed the needs of your employees, you need to choose the employee development areas that you want to focus on. These employee development areas should align with the needs of your employees.
3. Set goals
Once you have chosen the employee development areas, you need to set goals for each one. What do you want your employees to achieve? What skills do you want them to develop?
4. Create a plan
Once you have set goals, you need to create a plan to help your employees achieve these goals. What employee development activities will you put in place? How will you measure success?
5. Implement the plan
Once you have created your program, you need to implement it. This involves putting the employee development activities in place and monitoring employee progress.
6. Evaluate the plan
After implementing your career development plan, you need to evaluate to see how well it is working. Are employees meeting the goals that you set? What can you do to improve the employee development plan?
7. Make changes
Once you have evaluated the workforce development plan, you may need to make changes. This could involve changing the career development activities or the goals that you set.
Once you have made changes to the employee development plan, you need to repeat the process. Assess employee needs, choose team members' development areas, set goals, create a plan, and implement the plan. Then, evaluate the plan and make changes as needed.
Benefits of employee development
There are several benefits of employee development. Here are five of the most significant:
Increased job satisfaction
Learning opportunities can lead to increased job satisfaction by providing employees with the opportunity to learn new skills and progress in their careers.
It can increase staff engagement by providing employees with opportunities to connect with their colleagues and learn about the company.
Improved employee retention
Organizations that invest in their employees have better retention. Training not only creates team goodwill, but employees know that because they are being invested in, they will have the opportunity to progress within the organization. In short, businesses who train their employees are saying ‘you matter to us’.
Growth plan best practices can increase employee engagement and motivation, which can lead to decreased employee turnover.
If an organization can cultivate its own pool of top talent, it will save time and money in resourcing its team from elsewhere. This is great news for cost management.
Studies show that organizations who invest in their employees see better business results with improved profitability.
Improved employee productivity
Regular program development helps keep employees motivated in their work. As well as teaching them new skills that will make them better at their work, it can also support more creative approaches to problem-solving, which in turn improves productivity.
Employee development can lead to increased productivity by providing employees with the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs more effectively.
Organizations with a reputation for good employee development find it easier to attract external talent.
It is essential to consider how the employee has benefited from the development program when measuring employee development. Measuring employee development can help companies determine whether their employee development programs positively impact their employees.