An essential element for employee motivation, engagement and job satisfaction is career growth and progression. Encouraging and facilitating your staff development requires thought, communication and planning, but will reward your business with employees who are productive, happy and inspired.
Preparing for employee development
There is certain information that should be clear and noted in order for your development plan to be successful. It’s the job of management to know, or be in a position to obtain, the employee’s development needs. The better the relationship an employee has with their manager and the business, the easier the process will be to plan, create, review and complete.
Any development plan should be the result of discussion between the business and the employee, to ensure all parties are in agreement and happy with their responsibilities. Each employee is an individual and, as such, will suit different techniques of learning. Where one employee may prefer an external training course, another may prefer working with a colleague in the office to acquire new skills.
Providing a self assessment form will encourage the employee to detail any areas that they feel they require additional training.
The following should be included in your development plan:
- What additional skills are required by the employee?
- What are the goals of the employee’s development?
- Are these goals aligned with those of the business?
- What are the milestones and timescales?
- What resources (material, tools or other employees) are required by the employee to complete the plan?
The business must also allow the employee to complete their development and put their new skills into practical use. Allowing them time to attend courses, work with a mentor or practice newly learned proficiencies, will enable employees to complete milestones in the planned timescales.
There are a number of different methods to develop an employee. These include:
- Traditional training course (either initiated by the business or by the employee)
- On the job training (promotion or additional responsibilities)
Whichever method(s) you choose to employ, it’s imperative that you have a plan in order to properly prepare and track the progress of an employee’s development.
During the process
The business has an investment in any employee’s development, as such you need to support and encourage development throughout the learning process. Regular reviews should be held to discuss progress and identify any additional help or resources required. Regular meetings are also important in order to give positive feedback, which in turn motivates the employee.
It’s not just during scheduled meetings that the business should be seen to be involved in the employee development process, constant monitoring and encouragement should be a standard part of the employee’s development cycle.
Review and improve
For every plan you create, monitor and complete, you’ll be better prepared for the next. Learning what works and what doesn’t will enable you to optimise future development plans and streamline the process. Asking for and acting upon employee feedback is also important to continue improving your development program in general.