Why Every Business Needs an Employee Development Plan
- October 3, 2023
What jobseekers look for in an employer has changed significantly since the pandemic, with work-life balance being the theme that has taken centre stage in job discourse amongst candidates. As the importance of employee satisfaction has grown massively in recent years – whether that be in the form of hybrid working or strong DEI practices – the value of career fulfilment has become a staple part of the modern professional’s priorities when searching for the ideal employer.
Today it’s not at all uncommon for employees to be left with a lingering sense of stagnation after spending a few years building their skills in their current role, and consequently view the option of jumping ship as the only way to experience real progress in their career, in part due to the negligence of their employers to ensure their continued growth with a long term development plan of any sort.
The resulting high turnover rate is what has brought the idea of Employee Development Plans into focus for businesses, as it provides a range of solutions that can benefit all parties on an individual, collective and corporate level. Such plans centres on work-related skill development, and is owned by both the employee and the line manager. As a continuing process that is consistently and regularly reviewed and updated, an EDP should aim to ensure ongoing employability through improving the individual’s workplace soft and hard skills, and industry knowledge. A good plan will strive to create a series of actions designed to help the individual develop and grow within the context of their career, while also developing their capabilities and meeting the needs of the employer.
EDP: Goal & Objective
As mentioned above, the goal of Employee Development Plans is not just to meet the needs of the individual – when done right it should also help employers effectively tackle the problems that are brought about by a lack of professional and career growth, the biggest of which, is replacing key skills and people your team without having to invest so heavily. The difficulty of doing so in today’s market is no secret to any Hiring Manager or Partner and while utilising the services of a specialist recruitment agency can mitigate this, it is still very much advisable to eliminate other causes of persistent turnover issues by demonstrating a genuine commitment to your employees’ professional development. This in turn will create and facilitate a productive workforce that gives back that same level of commitment across the business because it:
- Meets their career/professional needs.
- Provides that sense of security and support they need from their employer to thrive as individuals.
It also ensures your company doesn’t constantly run the risk of being hit by a skills shortage, and helps avoid additional costs involved in recruiting, onboarding and training up new staff.
With the importance of an Employee Development Plan in a businesses people strategy now established, let us look at what makes a great EDP.
How To Create A Great Employee Development Plan
There are 6 key points to consider when mapping out Employee Development Plans, and although not exhaustive, are certainly a good place to start:
1. Where does the skill gap lie?
- Begin with an audit of the individual’s skills and see how their existing skillset aligns with the demands of their current role. You’ll want to consider how your clients’ needs have changed over time, what skills the role will demand of the individual in question and how the role will develop/evolve based on this. Knowing where the employee needs to be at the end of the training will enable you to measure progress, and gauge what the next step forward will be at each stage.
2. What training and development is required?
- Leading on from the initial skills audit & your vision of the role, your next step should be to establish what the employee’s personal and professional goals are. This is important because it encourages them to develop a holistic view of their own growth. Remember that the goal at this stage is alignment between their professional goals and the business needs, and the best way to achieve this is to have employee buy-in right from the start. Having them understand their perspective on where their competencies, capabilities and flaws lie, as well as how to build a training plan that addresses all aspects of their growth makes them more likely to be invested in an EDP.
3. Building Your Action Plan:
- The next area of focus should be the training itself – what training courses, qualifications or knowledge the employee will need. The 70/20/10 rule can prove helpful in this regard – 70% of learning should come from experience on-the-job, 20% from other colleagues and 10% from training and courses. This is important as it helps the individual avoid viewing the training as separate to their daily work lives. Any training scheduled should be built into the role itself or based on already established relationships with others.
4. Why this needs to be done:
- Transparency and communication of long-term goals helps to instil a sense of belonging and ownership in the employee. Making them aware of how their learning and development will benefit not only their own career but also the wider business can provide them with clear guidelines and focus on how they can contribute in their role. It will also give them a sense of place – how they fit into the company as a whole – and help them build a sense of pride in their work. This in turn will fuel productivity and accountability for their own progress in their training.
5. When is it needed?
- It is advisable for managers and employees to have agreed achievement milestones put into place. These can reflect the overall aims of your business where appropriate. Monitor progress regularly to encourage and provide direction to the individual, and to show support on their journey.
6. How can progress be measured?
- Methods for measuring training and development can be in the form of formal appraisals, informal meetings and open discussions. The method chosen may depend on the goal(s) and the timeliness set. For short-term training it may be appropriate to have a 1:1 with the employee at an agreed time (for example, after completion of a training course). For more long-term goals, or where several employees require the same upgrading of knowledge, it might be more beneficial to have an open discussion on progress.
Staying Ahead to Stay on Course
A regular and thorough review of the latest and most relevant, procedural and practice development processes is paramount to the continuity and eventual success of the EDP. Ensure you do your due diligence in establishing where training needs to be updated, improved or changed and don’t forget to change training needs as the requirements of your company develop and expand. Encourage your employee to offer suggestions on where development needs should be considered and where the training can improve. Regular meetings to discuss and record progress, as well as reflect on what is and isn’t going well should be conducted to ensure smooth and successful progression.
EDPs present a fantastic opportunity to address longstanding needs of both employees and employers and ensure lasting success through a continuous alignment with individual and practice progression. The long-term benefits are undeniable, as the value of having employee satisfaction from a real sense of involvement, and employer commitment and satisfaction shows in the effect a that skilled, up-to-date workforce – who are committed to your business and are future-proofed – can bring .
Of course, the entire process can be made much less of a burden – and significantly more successful – by getting the right hire through the door first time. The best EDP is no substitute for effective recruitment and as a business your best shot at maximizing the value of your EDP is to recruit individuals whose career goals and aspirations run parallel to those of your business from the get-go.
That’s why our team at Clayton Recruitment are on hand – we take the stress and complications out of recruitment for your company so that you can focus on what really matters. If you feel that the time has come to make an important hiring decision regarding your team, get in touch with us here.
About Clayton Recruitment
Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.
With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, and Engineering appointments, on a permanent basis.
Whether you are looking for your next career move, or your next hire as a business owner of HR professional – we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121.