6 Tips for an Employee Development Plan that Increases Motivation

| Employee Engagement
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Crafting an employee development plan to suit each individual’s needs is one of the best ways to boost engagement in the workplace. Highly engaged employees tend to be much more motivated to succeed.

In this article, we’ll share six top tips to help you devise development plans that deliver results for both your employees and your business.

Understanding Employee Development Plans

First, let’s examine the basic principles of employee development planning. Understanding the fundamental elements of the employee development process gives you useful context when the time comes to put the plan into action.

Core elements of an engaging development plan

Employee development plans vary widely in detail, but they all incorporate several core elements:

  • Initial assessment of current skills
  • Medium and long-term goal-setting
  • Action plan to fill the skills gap
  • List of resources to support the development plan
  • Timeline of key steps

However, any development plan must be crafted within the context of your broader company strategy, so we also need to discuss organizational goals.

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Organizational goals

Professional development plans serve a dual purpose: simultaneously supporting employee growth and driving positive business outcomes. This means that the development goals have to dovetail with company goals. Bear this in mind as you begin to draw up the plan.


Setting employee goals shouldn’t be a top-down procedure. Each staff member should be fully involved in creating their personal goals. That’s because individuals are more likely to succeed when they feel invested in the process.

Growth and development opportunities

Development initiatives present an excellent opportunity to prepare employees for future roles in your company. For instance, when you spot someone with management potential, you could schedule teambuilding training so they have a good grounding in leadership skills ahead of time.

6 Tips for a Motivating Employee Development Plan

Here are a few actionable steps to take to devise career development plans that pack a punch.

Set specific goals between the employee and the company

Having a goal-based development plan is essential. And it’s crucial that all employee development goals align with your overall business strategy. This means that they need to be data-driven as well as appropriate for each individual employee’s professional growth.

Start by using reporting and analytics capabilities of professional services accounting software to track employee performance against project goals. Establish each employee’s current strengths and areas for development. Then, decide on specific, measurable goals and KPIs to track and monitor progress.

Provide diverse and personalized learning needs

Not everyone begins on the same page, which means their learning needs vary. To maximize employee engagement, create training programs tailored to each individual. Then, use an employee experience solution to track how effectively it’s working.

Bear in mind that people’s favored learning styles differ. Some people thrive with formal learning delivered in a tutorial setting, whereas others do better teaching themselves with online courses. Make a point of exploring options for different learning solutions.

four people looking at a laptop on table

Nurture an environment of collaboration and team building 

Present employees with opportunities to collaborate in the development action plan. When a team bonds well, employee strengths in one area make up for weaknesses in others.

It can be a good idea to schedule diversity and inclusion training as a matter of course. That’s because many people have unconscious biases, and teams tend to be more cohesive when everyone is aware of theirs.

Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement

When employees have completed the development activities initially assigned to them, encourage them not to rest on their laurels. Establish a growth mindset that focuses on continuous improvement as one of your long-term business goals.

Ensure necessary development resources

Make sure you supply everything your employees need to succeed with their training plans. Don’t underestimate how much organization this step takes. Remember that the employee development plans will vary according to the skill gaps you’re trying to fill, and each of the individual goals you’ll need to support might call for a broad range of resources.

An employee who’s focused on learning about sales processes might benefit from hands-on experience with the inventory planner tools featured in dedicated retail business software. On the other hand, someone looking to improve soft skills could be better off attending group-based tutorials instead.

Offer opportunities at the right time

Growth opportunities land best when they come along at the right time. The onboarding phase is a good example. When new hires arrive, do an in-depth assessment of their skills using an onboarding platform so you can begin to plan their development right away.

Additionally, try to look ahead to determine what skills your workforce will need in the future so you can make sure your employees are ready. Taking this approach means any transitions in everyone’s daily work lives should be seamless.

Benefits of an Effective Employee Development Plan

You’ll see the benefits of employee development kicking in fast. Here are just a few of them.

Employee retention rates are improved

A meta-analysis of multiple international studies found that the more satisfied employees are with the learning and development opportunities offered in the workplace, the less likely they are to leave their current company within the next 12 months. It makes sense. When you invest in people, they feel valued and are more engaged.

Skill gaps are addressed

It’s not just about personal growth for the individual. Broadening your employees’ core competencies is good for business, too. Effective career development programs help prevent troublesome skill gaps from emerging.

Job performance is boosted to a higher efficiency

As well as seeing a boost to employee performance as a direct result of their training, you’ll find the development process leads to additional efficiencies from cross-collaboration and the resulting increase in employee engagement.

Final Thoughts

There’s really no downside to creating good quality development plans for employees. It increases all the things you want more of, such as employee engagement and retention. And it reduces any skills gaps, helping you meet your business objectives.

If you follow the concrete steps set out in this article, you should begin to reap those benefits right away. Good luck!


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