How to Create an Employee Development Plan Sample (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee development plans can help companies upskill and train their staff. If you're pursuing a leadership position or want to improve your job performance, a development plan can provide actionable strategies. Knowing how to create and use an employee development plan can help you reach your professional goals and prepare you adequately for higher roles. In this article, we provide an employee development plan sample and explain how to create this type of plan.

How to create an employee development plan sample

Follow these steps to develop an effective and easy-to-track employee development plan sample:

1. Perform a skills gap analysis

To create a workable employee development plan, it's important to know the specific skills and competencies that can boost your productivity and performance. A skills gap analysis can help you determine the skills you don't have and those that are underdeveloped. The analysis can also show you the people who require the training and how those skills can improve operational efficiency and help achieve organisational objectives. Doing a skills gap analysis allows you to align your efforts to core deliverables that can move you towards your professional and career goals.

2. Identify the type of development plan

There are different types of employee development plans. Some plans help grow employees' careers, while others prepare them for leadership roles. Employee development plans may also be on an ad hoc basis, where you use them to gain specific skills or capabilities required to perform your role more effectively. Identifying the type of development you want to achieve allows you to determine the tools and resources required to accomplish your goals.

3. Align personal and organisational goals

The most successful employee development plans align individual goals with those of the company. Ideally, employee development plans help individuals achieve professional and career goals while helping the employer accomplish short-term and long-term business objectives. Doing this makes it easier to track results and optimise your activities for improved outcomes.

4. Create an action plan

Once you understand your goals and how they tie to organisational objectives, create an action plan to achieve them. One way to do this is to set up short-term, mid-term and long-term goals. Identify specific steps required to achieve each goal and the parameters to track your progress. Doing this can also show you the resources, training and support required to meet your goals. The most effective employee development plans tie growth activities directly to people's jobs. That way, they gain the required skills and capabilities while doing their jobs.

5. Implement action plan

After creating an action plan, start implementing it to the best of your ability. Because an employee development plan may require changing the way you work, it's important to have your manager's support. Having managerial support can help remove any established protocols that can delay your progress, making it easier to achieve your objectives.

6. Monitor your results to improve implementation

Once you implement your development plan, it's important to track performance and results. Have a feedback mechanism to monitor your progress, identify challenges, opportunities and ways to optimise your outcomes. Use information from your monitoring to improve execution, enhance your results and quickly gain the skills and capabilities required to achieve higher productivity and efficiency in your work.

Related: How to Write a Staff Development Plan (With Example)

What is an employee development plan?

An employee development plan is used to implement programmes aimed at improving the professional capabilities of a company's staff. Organisations use these plans to improve key skills and competencies of their staff to boost productivity and efficiency at work. Employee development plans are not only beneficial to the staff, but they also provide a wide range of values to organisations, including higher productivity and low turnover.

An effective employee development plan is one that helps individuals grow in their roles. This means understanding the specific areas where the person requires new skills and competencies. A good plan doesn't necessarily prepare people for higher positions. It can help diversify skill sets in the organisation and improve the operational efficiency of the staff for higher quality performance. This makes it important to know how to create and execute an effective employee development plan that can benefit the company and its staff.

Related: What is a Personal Development Plan? With Template

Why create an employee action plan?

One of the most important benefits of using an employee development plan is that it can help you achieve your professional and career goals. The tool can also improve your productivity and job performance, which can lead to higher productivity. Organisations also benefit from an efficient employee development plan because it portrays them as a good place to work. It shows a company's commitment to the development of its people, and this can motivate talented professionals to work for the business.

Related: How to Create an Individual Development Plan (With Template)

Types of employee development plans

Here are examples of employee development plans:

Performance-based development plans

These types of development plans focus on improving an employee's performance. They typically tie employee growth to the achievement of specific job objectives within a certain period. To make a performance-based employee development plan more effective, link it to professional growth for improved motivation.

Objective-based development plans

An objective-based employee development plan is used to achieve short-term goals. Here, you control your professional growth and development by assessing the attainment of short-term objectives. It gives you more control and flexibility, allowing you to dictate the pace of the development plans and adjust implementation based on key performance indicators.

Succession development plans

These employee development plans are used to groom individuals for higher positions, especially leadership roles. The development plan can include training, but it usually involves mentorship, where the target employee is paired with a senior, more experienced person. The mentor teaches the mentee valuable professional and leadership skills required to excel in the future role, preparing them to perform their duties effectively when they eventually get a promotion to the higher position.

Ad hoc development plans

These plans help individuals gain specific capabilities. For example, you can use it to train people on how to operate new machinery. You can also use this approach to enhance the skills and competencies of your team to make them more productive and efficient in their duties.

Related: Career Development Plan: Definition, Guide and Example

Tips for successful implementation of employee development plans

Here are tips to help you improve the implementation of employee development plans:

  • Make the development plans part of your team's work: Doing this can make it easier for employees to achieve professional goals that can benefit the company.

  • Standardise the process for documentation and evaluation: Having the development plans codified makes it easier to use or adapt them for other people or situations and improves progress monitoring and appraisal.

  • Set realistic goals: Consider the tools, resources and time available for achieving employee development goals. Leverage resources and ensure pursuing those goals doesn't affect people's primary job duties.

  • Practise accountability: One way to ensure that people dedicate themselves to their development plans is to make them accountable through positive engagement and regular evaluations to keep them motivated to achieve objectives.

Employee development plan template

Here is a template of an employee development plan you can adapt for your own use:

Employee name: [Employee name]
Date: [Date of execution]
Current title: [Employee job title]
Current strengths: [List of current strengths]
Development needs: [List of employee's development needs]
Professional goals: [List of employee's professional goals]

Steps:
1. [Timeline for step 1], [Actionable steps for achieving goal]
2. [Timeline for step 2], [Actionable steps for achieving goal]

Example of employee development plan

Here is an example of an employee development plan:

Name: Tony Lam
Date: December 4, 2021
Current Title: Sales Supervisor
Current Strengths: Marketing, Data Analytics, Competitor Research
Short-term goals: Develop leadership qualities, build industry expertise and gain experience
Long-term goal: Become marketing manager

Steps:
1. Complete online management training
Objective: Learn how to lead employees and resolve conflicts
Measurements: Complete training by October 15

2. Lead product development campaign
Objectives: Perform market research, collaborate with product design team and oversee online and traditional advertising and promotional campaigns
Measurement: Track key performance indicators, including new customer acquisitions and quarterly sales and revenue targets.

What is the ideal timeline for an employee development plan?

An employee development plan doesn't have a specific timeline. The duration of the programme depends on whether you want to achieve short-term, medium-term or long-term developmental goals. If you want to acquire specific skills to perform a duty more effectively, a development plan to gain the required competencies may take you only three months.

A plan to prepare you for a leadership position or promotion may take longer, depending on the experience and skills required for the new position. Regardless of the length of a development plan, it's usually easier to implement your plans and track them when you break them into smaller steps. That way, you can better monitor your progress and avoid overwhelming yourself.

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