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5 Examples of Employee Development Plans to Level Up Your Team

Investing in professional development is one of the best ways to keep team members engaged and motivated. Employee development also helps you create a culture of learning and growth to attract and retain top talent.

Almost half (48 percent) of workers agree that employee training opportunities were a factor in choosing their current company, according to a research report from SHRM. The report also revealed that 76 percent of employees say they’re more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.

By creating excellent employee development plans, you give team members a chance to reach their full potential—and show them their success is a priority in your organization. 

Here are some examples of employee development plans you can use to unleash your team’s potential, hit your goals, and improve your bottom line.

Examples of employee development plans

These employee development plan examples can be used to help team members pursue their personal and professional aspirations.

Developing skills within a current role

Some employees aren’t interested in moving out of their current role—or perhaps, aren’t ready to. So instead, focus on helping them identify and improve their skills within their current position.

How to make a development plan for developing skills in the current role

You can create an online or printed worksheet with basic information (employee name, number, manager, and current date.) 

From there, list the skills employees need and rate them on a proficiency scale. You can test team members or combine self-assessments with management assessments. 

Finally, pick a maximum of three skills to focus on improving. Then, you can include a training plan for developing those skills, including in-house resources, specific reading, coaching, and more. Encourage team members to set a target date for completing the action plan for each skill.

Factors to consider when developing skills in a current role

It’s essential to be honest about employees’ proficiencies without discouraging them. Then, once you have the proficiency ratings, you can focus on the areas where they have the most potential to improve. 

Don’t choose too many skills simultaneously—we recommend three or fewer. However, three skills per quarter add up to 12 improved skills yearly.

Pay attention to the importance of practice, as well. Assigning projects or tasks focusing on employees’ targeted skills can solidify them in real-life scenarios.

Desired results

Ideally, the individuals will improve their proficiency in the targeted skills and overall performance. At that point, they can continue with other skills necessary for their role. 

This may allow them to win promotions, such as going from Engineer I to Engineer II. If the employee decides to change their goals or pursue another role within the organization, you can use one of the other development plans in this guide.

Developing skills for a new role in the organization

Many employees have a professional goal that involves moving into a different role in the organization, and they may need help developing the necessary skills. Managers can support them by creating a professional development plan specific to their aspirations.

Read More: 6 Effective Ways to Support Employee Career Growth

How to create a development plan for a new role

This development plan focuses on the core skills for a specific position. Like the first plan, you’ll want to list the necessary skills and assess your team members’ proficiencies.

Remember, choose up to three skills to focus on, and create action steps so they can gain experience. 

You’ll also want to create opportunities for team members to experience the role indirectly so they can understand the day-to-day work. For example, work with the manager in the target department to set up shadowing opportunities, informational interviews, or other opportunities for employees to get first-hand experience. 

Factors to consider in development opportunities for new roles

Taking on a new role involves two factors: 

  • The necessary skills
  • The right fit

Skill development is generally straightforward, but assessing fit can take more work.

Allowing team members to interview or shadow people in desired roles can help determine fit. Managers can also candidly discuss work styles and how well employees’ strengths match particular positions.

Consider hard and soft skills when creating career development plans. Hard skills, like software or processes, are often easier to master than soft skills like communication, motivating others, and strategic planning. 

Desired results

There are two ideal outcomes for an employee development plan. The first is that the team member develops the skills, learns about the new role and responsibilities, and takes on the new position.

The second outcome is also positive, although it may not seem like it. In this case, an employee may realize they’re not a good fit for the role and instead set their sights on something else. 

Still, this is better than having someone in a position they don’t enjoy and may not excel in.

Developing leadership skills

Employee development plans are helpful for new and existing leaders. But, shockingly, 59 percent of those managing one or two people and 41 percent managing up to five employees have yet to receive leadership training.

Read More: What is Leadership Development and Why is it Important?

How to create an employee development plan for leadership skills

Leadership roles are unique because they involve more soft skills like communication and motivation. Unfortunately, this often means leadership skills can take more work to develop and measure.

To create an employee development plan for leadership, list skills, and assess employees’ proficiency.

Which skills are most important? Be sure to consider:

  • Performance management and corrective action
  • Having tough conversations
  • Coaching & employee growth
  • Motivating teams and employees
  • Conflict resolution
  • Delegation and time management
  • Communication, both written and verbal
  • Promoting teamwork

Once employees choose skills to focus on, you can use various learning methods like coaching, role-playing, shadowing, and more to help them improve. 

Factors to consider when creating leadership development plans

One of the things that makes an employee development plan for leadership different is that you rely less on traditional books or online learning. Many of these skills are relational, which means they require practice. 

Shadowing managers, interviewing leaders, practicing challenging conversations, and more help develop leadership skills. Of course, reading and eLearning are useful too, but only with the other elements.

Read More: Proven Strategies to Design Leadership Development Training That Works

Desired results

The desired result is that employees improve their leadership skills and demonstrate stronger leadership abilities. 

Alternatively, employees may decide the required skills differ from their strengths or prefer doing hands-on work rather than leading others. These learnings are valuable to ensure employees are in the correct positions for their skills and interests. 

Discovering a career goal or focus

Any manager who has worked on employee development knows some team members may need clarification on their career goals or aspirations. That doesn’t mean you can’t create employee development plans; it just means the focus will be more exploratory.

How to create a development plan to discover a career goal

This type of employee growth plan aims to help employees understand their options while also uncovering their strengths and talents. 

Start with self-discovery. You may assign one or more assessments, such as Clifton StrengthsFinder, an emotional intelligence assessment, personality tests, and more. You can also have team members ask colleagues what strengths they observe in their work.

Next, assign action steps to help employees understand available opportunities. These could include meetings with managers in other departments, job shadowing opportunities, informational interviews, and reviewing your company’s career tracks. 

Through this process, employees can find a match based on their skills and interests and set their sights on advancement.

Factors to consider when creating a development plan to discover a career direction

As a manager, keeping this development plan focused on the end goal—choosing a career path within your organization–is essential. 

You can set specific deadlines to complete assessments and have meetings to discuss the results. Ensure to follow up regularly to learn what employees liked and what wasn’t a great fit. 

Desired results

Ultimately, you want team members to choose a career path to work toward within your organization. 

Once they choose a goal, you can use the appropriate employee development plan to help them achieve the desired outcome.

Job enrichment development plan

This employee development plan focuses on re-engaging and motivating employees who may be flagging or interested in expanding their roles. 

Job enrichment adds variety and meaning to existing positions while continuing to focus on the organization’s needs, which can improve employee retention and engagement.

How to create an employee development plan for job enrichment

Creating an enrichment plan starts with understanding what employees like and dislike in their current roles. Ask them to make a list so you can see which aspects cause problems and which ones are enjoyable.

Separately, list department and/or team goals. Think about how these goals tie into your organization’s mission.

Finally, work with team members to determine changes to improve motivation and their sense of meaning and belonging. Some employees benefit from increased autonomy, and others from variety. Everyone enjoys feeling like their work is connected to a greater purpose, so aligning their role to the company’s business goals is essential.

Read More: 7 Things Employees Want From Employers

The employee development plan will include the necessary steps for job enrichment and the date it will be completed. In addition, there may be substeps where employees can gain skills or certifications to take on different types of work. 

Things to consider when creating a development plan for job enrichment

It’s vital to focus on enrichment that will motivate employees and help them enjoy their roles. Adding more work to employees’ plates is not enrichment. Instead, enrichment is intentional and focused. 

Desired results

An employee development plan focusing on job enrichment can increase employee engagement and morale, reduce turnover, and boost job satisfaction. 

 Employee development is a win-win

There’s no doubt that employee development benefits team members and your organization. It’s the perfect win-win—you get better-qualified workers, and employees can advance their careers. 

Creating a solid employee development program requires the proper foundation. An All-in-One Learning Platform like WorkRamp can help you develop a culture of learning and deliver effective, engaging learning and development programs to help your team members thrive.

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Anna Spooner

Freelance Writer

Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action. 

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