Planning out on employee development provides a win-win balance to both the employer and the employee; this is simply because when employees have improved set of skills, they are better equipped to take the business to the next level.
Ideally, when planning for career development for the company employees, it is vital to know whether they have the right skills for their current job. Analysis of their competencies should also be done not forgetting the future job requirements and aspirations.
Career development for employees should be a well thought out plan and not just off the cuff. The following important steps should be taken into consideration.
1) The Business Objective
Before setting goals for employees, try and compare their development portfolio with the needs of the company. To do this, it is important to consider both the long term and the short term business objectives and align that with the necessary skills and competencies through which the employees will be trained on. For example, if your business is growing and more leaders are required, ask yourself what skill set is important for the new leaders and train your current employees to fulfil these roles in future.
Developing your current employees for future roles is very beneficial to the organization as more time and money will be saved compared to recruiting and bringing on board outsiders for training. Again, training and developing from within helps in retaining top talent within the company.
2) Communication to employees
Never assume that you know or understand your employees’ skill set. It is important to have a discussion with each of them so as to get a clear understanding of their career aspirations, goals and how they look forward to achieving them.
Again, let them explain to you the challenges they face in their respective positions if any, encourage self-assessment and find out in which areas they struggle most. This way you will be able to know what is needed for additional training and mentorship.
Some employees have a career path in place, by communicating to the employees, it will be easier to figure out the opportunities the company has for them and the role the company plays in their respective plans.
3) Decide on skills needed by employees
At this stage, you will have known each of the employees’ strengths and weaknesses as well as the business needs. It is therefore vital to decide the type of skills each employee needs to acquire and the training they will go through.
4) Come up with an action plan
With the company goals and objectives in mind and the employees’ area of development identified, create an action plan by Coming up with developmental programs e.g. reading , formal training, coaching, working directly with experts and even visiting institutions that provide the required development programs, thereafter, create a plan by asking the following simple questions;
- What will it take for employees’ plans to be converted to actions?
- Will the company involve someone else or need additional resources? If yes, what are the resources and how will they be utilized?
- Will employees take time away from work? If yes, Will someone else cover for them?
With all the above sorted, create a timetable that incorporates both the working schedule and the training program for each employee.
5) Application of skills in the workplace
The business has used a lot of its resources in ensuring that employees are well trained and developed. It should, therefore, benefit from its return on investment by the quality of service and efficiency from the trained and more skilled employees.
It is important to set up opportunities that will enable them to apply the new skills gained get feedback. This is essential in reinforcing and refining the new skills gained.
What to avoid when planning career development for employees
When planning for career development for employees, it is important to avoid the following
- Guaranteeing training and other benefits; let the employees know that nothing is guaranteed. They should also understand that whatever measures to be put in place are beneficial for them and the company.
- Taking responsibility for the choices or options taken by the employee; the human resources department and the employer can only help in the exploration of options but the ultimate decision rests with the employee.
- Whatever the employee thinks is a good development opportunity he and not the company should sell the idea.
- Again be sure not to use statements that will over commit the company or the employer
- The manager should not own the aforementioned plan as this is solely the work of the company. The manager should only oversee the planning, encourage employees to set and have personal goals in relation to expansion and career growth.
- Over committing the company’s resources; in as much as the company is devoted to helping employees grow and develop, it is important to note that only limited amount of time and finances are allocated to the project.
The creation of the employee development program makes employees more effective, knowledgeable and satisfied. When employees are happy and satisfied, the company is likely to retain their services for the longest time possible since they most likely won’t look for work elsewhere.
Initially, employers never considered development beyond class training, this was a limited view and those times are long gone. In the modern world, there are more options available and with the help of the Human Resource department, employees can be engaged on the existing options and the best chosen depending on the area of interest or development. This can be made easier by filing appropriate forms detailing the employees’ career development plan and later reviewed by the Human Resources.