Tips on creating personal development plans for employees

Hopefully you have long – and short-term plans for your company and you may even have a strategy for your own development, but have you considered having a personal development plan (or individual development plan) for employees?

An employee personal development plan is an action plan that focuses on helping staff improve their knowledge, capabilities, and skills in areas related to your business.

Creating such plans shows your staff you’re invested in their future, which increases employee satisfaction. It helps them understand their role and gives them a framework for expanding their talents. It helps you develop your staff, allowing you to promote from within and enabling your employees to grow with your business.

Here are some steps to take to write a personal development plan.

1. Determine business and employee goals

The first step is to determine your company’s goals and needs. Are you looking to expand locations soon? Add new products or services? Do you have senior employees who will be retiring soon? Once you know what your business needs, you can identify the skills, experience and training that will support the people who will help you meet those requirements.

Then determine your employees’ goals. Talk to them about the work they currently do and where they feel they could use training. Ask where they see themselves in your company in the future. Find out why they want to develop their skills. Their answers will help you determine how to put the plan into action.

When you assess employees, keep in mind that having the ambition or potential to move up in your business doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready right now. They may require a few years of gradually expanding their role and skills or they may be great at one job (say sales) but not at another (such as sales manager).

2. Explore training and development options

Now you can look at training and development options for your employees. Consider what training will give them the skills they need to expand their talents while also weighing their individual learning styles. Not all employees learn well in a classroom setting – and not all have the time to devote to taking courses.

Explore other options, such as coaching and mentoring, special projects, networking groups, online training and working with experts. Combining a few of these strategies will likely work well for your employees as they can learn new skills and see how those skills apply to their jobs.

3. Write a development plan

Finally, you can write up the plan, including specific goals with deadlines and the steps to take to help your employees achieve their goals. Sit down with your employees to talk the plan over, so they know what the goals are and how acquiring new skills helps them and the company.

Ensure each employee has the opportunity to apply their new skills on the job and get feedback about their progress. This will keep them engaged in the process and help them refine their abilities.

Remember to review the plan periodically so you can measure their development and determine if the plan should be revised.

Final thoughts

Employee development plans are a great way to invest in your employees and help them acquire new skills that will help them in their career. It also enables you to promote from within your company, saving you time and money in the long run.

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