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Employee loyalty · 

8 minutes

How an Employee Development Plan Can Transform Your Business

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

An employee development plan is crucial to building a dynamic workforce that can take a business to new heights. Without it, demotivation will spread like the plague and wreak havoc.  High staff turnover. Decreased productivity. Low staff morale. Poor customer service… None of these make the winning formula for any business looking to come out on top in their industry. 

Research suggests that disengaged employees lead to a 37% increase in absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability. Translate this into dollars and this equates to $3,400 out of every $10,000 of a disengaged employee's salary. 

As an employer, you will want to hold onto your talent, nurture it and build each employee to a level that’s capable of overcoming any obstacle that confronts them. Not only will an employee development plan help you achieve this, but it will also create a ripple effect that will positively impact every corner of your business.

Below we’re going to go through A-Z of what an employee development plan looks like, their benefits, and how you can integrate one into your business. 

What is employee development?

Employee development is the process of facilitating the growth of staff to support the overarching goals of an organization. This can involve a range of activities, including different training methods, coaching, mentoring, job shadowing, and job rotations.

The purpose of employee development is to help individuals acquire the knowledge and skills they need to perform their job more effectively and to prepare them for future career opportunities.

What is an employee development plan?

The most defining characteristic of an employee development plan is personalization. From start to finish, these professional development plans must be tailored to fit the needs and interests of the employee and aligned with the overall company goals. 

Below are the pillars that make up the core of an employee development plan:

  • Goal Setting: Identifying the employee's career aspirations goals and aspirations.

  • Assessment: Assessing the employee's current skills, knowledge, and abilities.

  • Gap Analysis: Identifying the gap between the employee's current competencies and the skills and knowledge needed to achieve their goals.

  • Training and Development: Developing a plan that outlines the training and development activities necessary to fill the identified gaps and achieve the employee's career goals.

  • Timeline: Defining a timeline for completing the training and development activities.

  • Support and Resources: Identifying the support and resources necessary for the employee to achieve their development goals, such as coaching, mentoring, or access to training resources.

  • Evaluation: Establishing metrics and criteria to measure the employee's progress and the effectiveness of the development plan.

Benefits of employee development

Nobody wants a dead-end job. Employees want to smash the glass ceiling and expect businesses to support their professional development. Put a personal development plan in place and employees will pour all of their talents into the business, creating a mutually beneficial system that’s conducive to the growth of both parties. 

Here are some reasons why employee development is important and how it can benefit your business.

Improve employee engagement

Offering career development opportunities will make employees become more engaged in the day-to-day operations of an organization, taking a more proactive role in driving the company's success. 

This increased involvement can foster a sense of optimism and motivation as team members become more invested in their potential for success within the company. The stats also support this, claiming that employees who have access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged.

Enhance employee performance

Poor employee performance usually stems from a lack of training or preparation from the role. Investing in employee development will sharpen the overall skillset of your workforce, making them more adept at overcoming challenges and providing stellar service to customers.

For example, studies highlight that participants who have gone through leadership training improved their learning capacity by 25% and their performance by 20%

What’s more is that an employee development plan can stave off quiet quitting - a recent phenomenon that describes demotivated employees who strive to do the bare minimum while remaining in the company. Have enough employees doing this and your productivity will tank.

Reduce costs with higher retention rates

There aren’t many situations that burn through capital and time as aggressively as high staff turnover rates. Losing an employee can cost an employer 33% of a worker’s salary to find a replacement. And when you apply this to the median worker’s salary of $45,000, the average cost of turnover would then equate to $15,000. 

Make no bones about it, high staff turnovers are costly. But research shows that a strong employee development plan can prevent employee churn with 94% of employees claiming that they would stay at their company for longer if their employers invested in their careers.

Boost productivity and business agility

Motivation, talent, and training are all at the heart of a productive workforce. Employee development plans put a lot of focus on strengthening each of these areas to create a more competent and confident workforce.

Statistics show that those businesses that prioritize learning and development are positioned for success. Businesses that provide more learning opportunities are:

Attract better talent

The quality of the talent you onboard will often determine the fate of your business. Onboard staff that exuberate competence, and you’ll reach new heights. Hire those that radiate incompetence, and everything will go south. 

The reality is that people with specialist skill sets are drawn to organizations that invest in their staff because it demonstrates a commitment to employee growth. This creates a magnetic pull that attracts talented workers to your business and not your competitors

Being in this position allows you to cherry-pick the best talents instead of having to make unfavorable quality control compromises in your recruiting.

Using employee recognition and rewards in employee training and development

Employee recognition is the energy that fuels the drive of every individual in a business. Some want it, some crave it, and some will even demand it if they’ve invested enough energy into a company. 

But it’s especially important in employee training and development for a number of reasons. Many employees won’t prioritize training over completing tasks, especially on tight schedules. Others will not recognize its importance and some will begrudgingly complete training modules with such a low level of engagement that they have not learned anything. 

To avoid this, you need to motivate staff with a special employee rewards system. Below are some examples of employee recognition and rewards practices you can use to transform a demotivated workforce into a motivated one.

Reward and acknowledge employees at every milestone

Milestones come in many forms but all require dedication and hard work to accomplish them. Reward your employees at each stage of the learning process and they’ll be motivated to move on to the next milestone. A rewards program allows you to take the focus away from salary increases, bonuses or commissions, so you can focus on non-monetary rewards for your employees if you wish. For example, small rewards such as luncheon vouchers for new employees completing training exercises.

Enable timely rewards and recognition

Automating your rewards system guarantees consistency and prevents the hard work of employees from going unnoticed. It can also improve transparency and make it easier for employees to understand the criteria for recognition and what they need to do to earn rewards.

A digital employee recognition platform can help you achieve this, allowing you to configure different rewards and recognition policies based on the program and the employee’s role. 

Provide monetary rewards

Money is, has, and will always be a significant motivator for people. So why not use this to your advantage? Monetary rewards can be the tool that creates that drive for employees to complete their learning journey at a faster pace. 

Monetary rewards can be in the form of:

  • Money credited to salaries

  • Reward points that are exchangeable for gift cards

  • Experiences 

  • Holidays

Use gamification to instill a competitive spirit

Gamification has the ability to tap into a learner’s natural desire for competition, providing innumerable benefits for employers and employees. 

  • Increased engagement: gamifying the learning experience naturally becomes more fun and interactive, which can increase engagement and motivation. When learners are engaged, they are more likely to pay attention, retain information, and apply what they've learned.

  • Enhanced learning outcomes: learning outcomes can be improved by providing immediate feedback and allowing participants to practice and apply what they've learned in a safe and interactive environment. By providing a sense of achievement and progress, gamification can also boost learner confidence and satisfaction.

  • Personalization: gamification allows for a more personalized learning experience, as learners can progress at their own pace and receive targeted feedback and support. This can be particularly beneficial for learners who may struggle with traditional classroom or training settings.

  • Improved retention: information retention can be improved by making the learning experience more memorable and enjoyable. Incorporating elements of storytelling, competition, and exploration, can help learners retain key concepts and ideas.

Create an employee development plan to take your business to new heights

Employees have a desire for recognition and progression. Give them both and you’ll have a business that’s firing off all cylinders. An employee development plan can be the tool that nurtures and rewards your talent, helping you to transform your workforce in a way that allows you to level up your business. 

Remember, your employees are the vessel that navigates you through your industry. Fuel it with motivation and you’ll reach your destination much sooner.

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