May 19, 2021 4 min read

Get to know Gecko: Employee development

Employee development is one of the most important functions Human Resource Managers have. Its purpose is to develop the ability of an individual employee and organisation as a whole.


Lučka Žunič , Marketing Assistant

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Putting time and effort into employee development now can save you time on recruiting, onboarding and training outsiders. Besides that, a well-planned employee development program can help you increase employee engagement and retain top talent.

However, business leaders often claim they struggle to achieve their set goals despite having elaborate programs in place. Most likely their programs aren’t designed with users (and by user we mean employee) in mind. As leaders, we are responsible for providing our people what they need to excel and fulfil (or even surpass) their potential. With their hard work and our teaching, they’ll eventually become more skilled and will perform better.

If you want to build an exceptional and high-performing team, you will have to make time to track each employee closely. Firstly, you should organise developmental information about your employees, such as observations and feedback on their work, their key motivators (intrinsic and extrinsic) and opportunities to further an employee’s career. You can put that information into a spreadsheet or use one of the softwares that will help you organise all of the data.

Employee development plans are on-going documents that should be used actively by both the employee and direct manager. Effective employee development plan should ensure the worker to grow personally, develop their ability to achieve more in the workplace, and should at the same time help the organisation to meet its goals.

A well-thought-out employee development plan provides your employees with opportunities and clear direction on how to increase their skills and advance their careers. Therefore, it’s a win-win for you and your employees.

Here are some guidelines for creating employee professional evaluation and effective development plan:

  1. Set up business goals. Before you set objectives for an employee development plan, you should establish work development needs. You should define organisational goals, identify future demands of the role and also think about future positions available in the organisation. You should consider long- and short-term business objectives. Once you’ve identified organisational objectives you can define the necessary skills, knowledge and competencies that support those goals.
  2. Establish employee’s personal and career development goals. In order to get  a better understanding of what their career goals are, talk with each of your team members individually. Their goals could be growth-oriented, skills-oriented or relationship-oriented, while the best plans will include goals in different areas. By talking to them, you will be able to figure out which opportunities your company can offer them. People are generally motivated by self-development, so if their development plans are aligned with organisational goals and future needs, you will also have a good starting point to build a strong employee motivation. Also, developing internal candidates to bridge the gap between current employee skill sets and skill sets needed for the future would be of great value to the company.
  3. Develop an action plan. Once the areas for development have been identified and you know what the objectives are, the path to employee’s development has to be mapped out carefully. That means you need to figure out how your employee will acquire their new skills. Developmental programs may take numerous forms and while considering different types of training, don’t forget about the 70/20/10 rule, by which 70% of learning comes from on-the-job experience, while 20% comes from other people and only 10% from training and courses. Since most learners need to be engaged to gain knowledge, team learningmicro courses or one-on-one coaching may be even better than a classic course.
  4. Implement changes and use newly gained knowledge. After an action plan has been created and the training is completed, employees must implement the changes. Direct managers should be there to support them and help them apply their new skills in the workplace — you can set up some opportunities on purpose to help them reinforce their newly gained skills and then provide feedback. Since you are changing the status quo, managerial support is very important until habits are established.
  5. Update the plan regularly and reflect on its efficacy. Reflection is especially important in the concluding stage of an employee development plan, because it allows both employee and their manager to review the process, see what went well and identify where changes and more improvement need to be made. With evaluating the process, employee’s development eventually becomes smoother.

For an even better structured approach toward career development, update these grids on a weekly basis and do a deeper dive every three months. That way you will be able to recognise possible patterns and see if employees are making enough progress. As you gain insight into the progress and see which methods seem to work, talk to your team members one by one and explain to them exactly what they should do to improve.

Remember: it is important that employees don’t view their development plans as something that needs to be done separately or, even worse, additionally. When used properly, a development plan should provide several development opportunities through daily work.

The success (or failure) of the organization depends on employee performance. Therefore, organisations should be investing in employee development and design customized development programs to suit each employee’s individual needs. Find out how Gecko HRM helps companies develop their team, providing support with employee development plans and annual PR meetings.