Job-hopping has become a prevalent trend among modern employees in various industries. Workers who don’t feel remarkably fulfilled in their current workplace will likely jump from one job to another until they find a company where they want to stay.

From January to March of 2022, 2.5 percent of workers, totaling around 4 million individuals, switched jobs each month.

While job-hopping can offer several benefits to employees, the companies they leave might struggle with turnover rates. If your company struggles to get employees to stay longer than a few months, you may want to consider making some changes.

Creating an employee development plan is one way to encourage employees to stay. Here’s how it works and how it can help your company and your employees.

employee development plan
Image by Drazen Zigic on Freepik

What is an employee development plan?

In a workplace context, an employee development plan refers to a structured document, action plan, or process that outlines an employee’s goals for professional growth. It also includes the steps the employer and employee must take to achieve these long-term and short-term goals.

Common goals found in an employee development plan include learning a new skill, getting a promotion, or earning certifications.

Workplaces and their employees use this tool or document to identify areas or skills the employees may want to improve on or develop during their stay at the company. These skills will not only help them do their jobs better but will also aid their personal growth.

Over time, employees could update their development plan to reflect changing preferences, interests, and goals. The role of HR professionals is to guide them through this process and offer ways in which the company can assist them in accomplishing their plans.

Why Employee Development Matters

Employee development initiatives like creating development plans offer several benefits for businesses. Investing in the growth and advancement of your workforce is not just a noble gesture. It’s a strategic move that benefits both your employees and your organization, helping you achieve your business goals.

Here are some of the most compelling reasons employee development matters:

Optimized talent pipeline

A well-planned employee development strategy helps improve your organization’s talent pipeline. Investing in employee development allows you to create a pool of motivated and qualified employees willing to work hard and improve their skills. Creating development plans and opportunities gives you a better idea of who to promote and for which positions.

By nurturing the skills and competencies of existing employees, organizations can cultivate their pool of talent, reducing the need for external recruitment. As a result, your company can save on critical resources and enjoy quicker fill rates for empty positions.

Developing talent within your company also helps improve employees’ transitions into leadership roles. You can rest easier knowing your organization’s future leaders understand your organization’s critical values and goals.

Higher employee retention

Investing in employee development is an excellent way to keep talented employees and improve retention rates. When employees see a clear path for growth and advancement within their current organization, they become more likely to remain engaged and committed.

Employee development plans and strategies communicate that the company prioritizes its workers’ professional growth. This practice helps employees feel valued and appreciated, fostering loyalty between the organization and its employees.

Reduced skill gaps

Industry standards and practices often experience changes, sometimes seemingly overnight in today’s rapidly changing landscape. However, a company that consistently works on employee development can address skill gaps promptly and efficiently.

By providing training, education, and growth opportunities, companies ensure their workforce stays updated with the latest industry trends and technologies. This practice helps the organization remain competitive and adapt to shifting market demands.

Better collaboration

Effective collaboration is essential to any business or organizational venture. Prioritizing employee development contributes to improved collaboration in several ways.

As workers gain new skills and knowledge, they become better equipped to work well with colleagues from diverse backgrounds and departments. They also gain a deeper understanding of their strengths, which improves their contributions to team projects.

Improved performance

One of the most significant benefits of employee development is improved job performance. Investing in the growth and development of your workforce equips them with the tools and knowledge needed to excel in their roles.

Common skills workers learn through employee development programs include the following:

  • Time management
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Organizational skills
  • Industry software skills

Not only does this practice boost each employee’s job satisfaction or career progression, but it also significantly enhances the organization’s overall performance. 

How To Create an Employee Development Plan

We’ve established that employee development offers significant advantages to companies and organizations implementing them. Not only does it assist employees in achieving their career goals, but it also strengthens the organization as a whole.

Here’s how you can create an employee development plan for your workforce:

1. Conduct a skills gap analysis

The first step in crafting an employee development plan is to assess the current skills and competencies of your workforce through a skills gap analysis

This process involves identifying your employees’ current knowledge, abilities, and qualifications. Then, you compare these findings with the skills and qualifications your company needs to achieve its goals.

A skills gap analysis helps reveal areas where your employees need further training and development, setting the stage for individual employee development plans.

2. Identify employees with potential

Crafting employee development plans takes significant time and effort. It’s highly likely that you can’t create tailored programs for all employees. 

For this reason, it’s crucial to identify and select employees that suit a planned career path within your organization. Look for skilled employees who perform well and demonstrate the willingness and potential to take on additional responsibilities or leadership roles in the future.

These employees are prime candidates for a tailored approach to their personal and professional growth.

3. Discuss employee and company goals

Set a meeting and talk with each employee you would like to develop a plan. Discuss their career goals, aspirations, and areas where they wish to improve.

At the same time, share the company’s objectives and long-term vision. Discuss the organization’s workforce needs to achieve these goals.

This dialogue helps align the employee and the company’s goals, which helps in creating a mutually beneficial development plan.

4. Create your plan

Based on the skills gap analysis, identified potential, and discussions with employees, craft a personalized development plan. This plan should outline specific development goals, the resources required, and a timeline for completion.

You can use established templates to aid in this step. If your company is still in its early stages, you can use individual employee development plan templates. This format focuses more on each employee’s career objectives and how they can align with the company.

If your company is more established, you can create a succession plan. This document outlines key roles in the company and potential successors should any of its leaders leave their positions. It also details the company’s current resources and areas for improvement to ensure smooth transitions.

5. Conduct learning and training opportunities

Once the plan is in place, facilitate learning and training opportunities that accommodate the employee’s career goals and company objectives. Potential learning and training opportunities can include the following:

  • Enrolling in relevant courses
  • Mentorship
  • Coaching
  • Job shadowing
  • Self-directed learning

6. Assess and adjust

Regularly assess the progress of each employee. Are they on track to meet their development goals? Do they need additional support or resources?

Evaluations allow for necessary adjustments to the development plan. Regular assessments help accommodate changing needs, goals, and priorities, whether they come from the employee or the company.

Invest in Your Workforce

Employee development is an ongoing process. It takes time, resources, and commitment from all sides toward learning and growth. Investing in your employees and creating personalized development plans helps them thrive in their roles and contribute to the success of your organization. 

Prioritizing employee development benefits your workers and equips your company with the skilled and motivated workforce it needs to succeed in your industry.