Development Plans for Employees: Steps to Success

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It you’re in a high-ranking position and have responsibility for a team, it’s in your best interest to develop staff. We’re all motivated by development, where we aspire to become the best possible version of ourselves. In a work context, self-development means acquiring skills which help us perform our daily duties. There should be emphasis on aligning the skills of employees with organizational goals, so they can competently work in the best interests of the company. A developed workforce is a motivated one, who feel a sense of self-worth when they belong to a team who values them. Development doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process which relies on continuous improvement. A good organization will encourage its workers to improve all the time, which brings benefits like increased productivity and better staff retention. The best way to optimize the process is through development plans for employees. These can be tailored based on individual work scopes, alongside addressing future business needs. A well-devised plan will give employees clear direction, with clarification on how they can advance. With the tools necessary for great work, employees will find new confidence in their roles. But how exactly should you create development plans for employees? Check out the following tips and you’ll be better positioned to achieve your goals:

What Are You Trying to Achieve?

Start out by considering how you can develop staff so they’re better equipped to meet your business objectives. Does this mean you’re not putting your team first? No, because it’s still a win-win on both sides of the coins. The goal is for staff to get better at their jobs, which will benefit company performance. Weigh up your business objectives, and establish the knowledge, competencies, and skills required to support them. Your development plans for employees will be based on your company’s stance, relative to the competition. For example, if your business is in its early years, it makes sense to put more focus on developing leaders. You can thus determine the skills people need to thrive in this role, while evaluating the current capabilities of your team. Does anyone already have what it takes to be successful? Developing internally is a great way to save costs, while offering great value through bridging knowledge gaps between the current status of staff, and where they need to be in the future.


This is the driver of any good change initiative, where it’s important to establish a rapport with your team. Though you can assume you know what’s best for staff, have you ever taken time to think about their career aspirations? For all you know, their intentions could oppose your plan of action, so it’s essential to align their objectives with yours. This can be achieved with simple dialogue, which will help get everyone on the same page. Ask your team to assess their work, and discuss the challenges they face. This is a foundation for development, where it’s logical to start by tackling weaknesses. Your employees can already have development goals, but might not understand how to realize them. If staff are aspiring to reach new horizons that don’t fit with your company’s vision, a gentle push in the right direction can help. With encouragement, they can reach the next step in their career. If you experience resistance to change, you should promote self-development as a way of helping employees reach new heights, and ultimately make their lives easier going forward.

What Types of Training Should You Consider?

With objectives established, it’s time to figure out how to equip workers with the skills they need to be successful. This is a crucial element of development plans for employees, which should be tailored based on what works best for your team. Different people benefit from different learning approaches, and will have different departmental goals. That’s why you should deploy training methods in line with the individual preferences of workers, and the different training goals in question. Whether it’s formal training or online courses, you can measure results over time to determine which training method is best for expanding your team’s talents. Here are some common training approaches:
  • Classroom led
  • E-Learning
  • Interactive Learning
  • Hands-On
  • Computer Based
  • One-On-One Mentoring
A combination of various methods is a recipe for success, and by experimenting with different methods you’ll discover the right approach for the right situation. This is beneficial when you consider the importance of educating staff.

Create Your Development Plans for Employees

Once you’ve decided on the right method, you’ll be ready to create a plan of action. This should communicate clear objectives, with defined targets for achievement. You should consider what’s required to implement the plan, and whether employees will need to be away from their role. The final step is communicating your vision, while making sure employees understand what they’ll need to do, and ultimately how it will benefit their career. The execution of self-development plans will be assisted by proactive, two-way communication, where you can utilize feedback to modify plans accordingly. Be flexible with your approach, and incentivize your colleagues by offering rewards when they meet short-term targets. This will positively reinforce behavior that contributes to the long term objectives of the development program.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.