How to Create a Personalized Employee Development Plan

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Today’s employees and candidates are looking for opportunities to develop their skills and their careers. Crafting a personalized and adaptable employee development strategy can set your organization apart from the competition when it comes to increasing employee engagement and retaining your best team members.

In recent years, the employee experience has changed drastically. a bit clear growth path can shatter employees’ desire to stay with an organization, even if the rest of their experience has been positive. Employees who feel they don’t have access to clear development opportunities are 41% more likely to leave their current company, according to a study by Culture Amp’s humanities team.

Many existing processes for employee development lack the structural guardrails to support conversations about productive growth. Manual plans require the employee to engage in conversations about promotion opportunities or career growth. With many managers stretched thin, they struggle to help their teams build personalized development plans, which makes employees feel undervalued. Our report, Why employee development should be HR’s top prioritypoints out that companies where managers care about the career aspirations of their direct reports have employees who are:

  • 15 percentage points more likely to recommend the company
  • 21 percentage points more motivated at work
  • 13 percentage points more proud to work for the company
  • 10 percentage points more likely to see themselves in the company in two years
  • 15 percentage points less likely to think about looking for a job elsewhere

Implement personalized development plans for employees

An effective retention strategy takes time to develop, but with the right tools, it’s easy to integrate personalized employee development plans into your process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help your staff get on board personalized development plans today:

1. Start the conversation. The first step is simple: create a space to have career conversations. Find out where employees are being directed within your company. Are there other departments or roles that pique their interest or align with their plans? Have one-on-one conversations; they can occur as needed or be incorporated into performance reviews. The key here is personalization.

Transparent and honest conversations about the future set the stage for a solid approach to employee development. Managers can identify specific areas of the business that an employee may need more exposure to or identify specific tools and resources that can aid employee aspirations.

2. Align your employees’ goals with those of the company. Consider the results of the conversations held in step one. Does your employee’s growth trajectory align with company goals? Each company will have its own plans for the future, so this is your opportunity to identify where an employee’s growth fits into the larger business. Have an honest conversation with the employee about where you see alignment and where you don’t. If a specific role mentioned by an employee is not on their team’s roadmap, let them know. If the employee does not have the skills required for the desired growth, consider how they can hone their skills.

3. Begin to develop a concrete plan. Once the manager and employee’s visions for the future are aligned, map out a path forward. When translating goals into next steps, the three Es—experience, exposure, and education—provide a useful starting point. This framework can help managers identify individual opportunities for employees to connect with mentors, participate in relevant training, or even take on an expanded project that relates to their interests.

For an employee development plan to be successful, it must be achievable and ongoing. It is important to set up touchpoints and milestones to ensure that employees are progressing. Tools like Expand by Culture Amp invites individuals to develop personalized, step-by-step action plans and provide ongoing checkpoints so that L&D is not devalued.

4. Scale, measure and evolve. Development is inherently continuous and rarely linear. Scale, measure, and evolve each personalized development plan based on employee growth, changing employee desires, and changing business needs. The best designed plans are flexible, so focus on creating personalized employee development plans that will work today and in the future as the business and employees grow.

Encourage employees to stay in your organization by creating personalized development plans for each of them. By following the steps above, it’s easier to retain and grow the quality talent you already have within your employee base today.

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