Creating an Employee Development Plan

Posted by Noel • May 19, 2023 • 9 min read

Employees are the backbone of any organization, but if they don’t see room for growth, they will leave. It’s that simple. Creating employee development plans is one way to increase engagement and employee retention rates across your organization.
Your employees want to know you are investing in their growth and development. Providing opportunities for career advancement not only benefits your team members but also improves overall morale and productivity. Employee training, professional development, and aligning with business goals are all a part of that plan.

In this blog post, we’ll explore an employee development plan, why it’s important, how to create one, what should be included, how to implement it effectively, and how to measure its success.

Want to make the most of it? Consider your career goals and what you’d like to see in an individual development plan in Human Resources or your department. Then, think about how to scale a training program or career pathing to the rest of your organization.

What is an Employee Development Plan?

An Employee Development Plan (EDP) is a strategic approach designed to help employees acquire new skills, knowledge, and experiences that will enable them to grow in their current role or prepare for future opportunities within the organization. An EDP outlines a roadmap that identifies an employee’s strengths and areas of opportunity while setting measurable goals toward career growth. 

A career development plan may fill a skills gap on the team, help meet business goals, and lead to higher employee satisfaction. Still, the overall goal is to promote professional development and opportunities.

A good EDP is customized to each employee’s needs and aspirations rather than a “one-size-fits-all” solution. It requires collaboration between managers and team members through regular communication regarding performance feedback and identifying specific training needs. There are undoubtedly overarching training programs and pathways that can be used for the professional development of your talent, but it requires a personalized touch. You’ll see more engagement, retention, and employee satisfaction when tied to individual professional goals.

Investing in your employees’ personal development through EDPs can increase retention rates as they are more likely to remain engaged when provided with growth opportunities. Furthermore, it enhances their overall job satisfaction, which leads to increased productivity levels, ultimately benefiting both the company and its employees.

Is employee development important? Yes – and when your organization reaches its goals, you’ll understand. Investing in employee development programs benefits you – let’s dig into why.


Why are Employee Development Plans Important?

Employee development plans are vital for employees’ and organizations’ growth and success. These plans provide a roadmap for employees to acquire new skills, knowledge, and experiences that help them excel in their roles, advance their careers, and contribute more effectively to the company’s objectives. A professional development plan can also help employees understand what is expected from them and the skill gap they fill on a team. It also gives them insight into whether or not there is a development opportunity for them at your organization. 


Companies demonstrate a commitment to their workforce by investing in employee development plans. Employees who feel valued are likelier to be engaged with their work and remain loyal to the organization. This can increase productivity, higher quality work output, lower turnover rates, and overall morale. Learning a new skill has proven to increase job satisfaction, but meeting a development goal has increased retention. Both of these are important items! However, an overall development program at your organization that promotes employee growth and helps the human resource leaders identify top performers and potential succession pathways will provide even higher ROI.

Succession Efforts

In addition to benefiting individual employees and the larger organization, employee development plans also support succession planning efforts by identifying high-potential individuals early on and providing them with training opportunities tailored toward specific competencies required for future leadership positions within the company. Your development program must keep up if your business goals are getting loftier. Utilizing performance management software, like Trakstar Perform, can help to do just that. Eliminate the guesswork and quickly identify who is reaching their career goals and who needs help getting there. An employee development program can even show you who is willing to do the work and who isn’t.

If you are ready to set up a performance management system and see how it helps with employee and professional development, engagement, retention, and talent management, you can click here to schedule a demo.

Ultimately, organizations can stay relevant by prioritizing employee career growth through development initiatives such as mentoring programs or job rotation programs while remaining competitive in an ever-changing business landscape.

How to Create an Employee Development Plan

Creating an employee development plan ensures your workforce’s growth and success. 

  1. First, identify the goals and objectives for the business, as well as individual roles and responsibilities within the organization. This will help you determine what skills or knowledge employees need to develop to meet those goals.
  2. Next, assess each employee’s current skillset and performance level through evaluations, feedback from managers or colleagues (Trakstar has a 360-reviews system built right in!), or self-assessment tools. From there, you can identify areas where they need improvement or new skills they should acquire.
  3. Once you’ve identified these gaps in knowledge or expertise, work with employees to set clear and achievable goals that align with their learning needs and career aspirations. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). To read more about SMART goals, click here.
  4. After establishing goals for each employee in line with company objectives, assign appropriate training programs such as online courses or workshops to equip them with the necessary skills to succeed.
  5. Regularly review progress towards achieving these goals by scheduling regular check-ins between manager/supervisor & staff member(s). Regular assessments ensure both parties remain engaged while striving towards achieving targets outlined in developmental plans created specifically for individual staff members.
  6. Complete mid-year and end-of-year reviews as well. This will help you plan for employee development opportunities in the future. It can also empower employees to take their professional growth into their own hands. During these meetings, they’ll know to plan for some individual goals and know that their managers will come asking about development activities and company goals.

What Should Be Included in an Employee Development Plan?employee development plan goals

An effective employee development plan should include clear and measurable goals for the employee’s growth and specific steps to achieve those goals. Tailor these to the individual employee’s strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations.

One key element of an employee development plan is training opportunities. This could include attending conferences or workshops related to their field, participating in online courses or webinars, or shadowing more experienced colleagues.

Another critical aspect of a development plan is mentorship. Pairing employees with mentors with experience in their areas of interest can provide valuable guidance and support throughout their career journey.

Regular performance reviews are also crucial in tracking progress toward development goals and identifying areas for improvement. These reviews should be conducted regularly so that both the employer and employee can monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments to the employee’s development plan.

It is important to remember that an effective employee development plan must be flexible enough to adapt to changes in the company or industry landscape. As such, regular updates may need to be made along the way to ensure continued success. Trakstar Perform has a built in notes section where employees and leaders can take these notes.

How to Implement an Employee Development Plan

Implementing an employee development plan is a crucial step toward ensuring the growth and progress of your team members. After creating a comprehensive plan, it’s essential to implement it effectively for better outcomes.

  1. Communicate the development plan with your employees and explain how it aligns with their career goals. This will help them understand what to do to succeed and develop professionally.
  2. Allocate resources such as time, budget, and training materials needed for implementation. Support from management or mentors can also be helpful during this process.
  3. Create accountability measures by setting specific deadlines or milestones and tracking progress. This helps in monitoring performances and evaluating the effectiveness of the development plan.
  4. Provide regular feedback on employee performance so that they know whether they are moving in the right direction or not. The input should indicate areas of improvement while acknowledging any accomplishments made since implementing the plan.

Successful implementation of an employee development plan requires clear communication with employees about its purpose; allocation of adequate resources; creation of accountability measures through deadlines or milestones; provision of regular feedback on performance throughout its execution phase.
Having performance management software helps here because employees and leaders have one centralized source of truth that helps everyone understand where people should be, where they are, and perhaps most importantly, where they are going.

Measuring the Success of an Employee Development Plan

How do you know if your employee development program is successful?

Measuring an employee development plan’s success is crucial in ensuring its effectiveness. It allows employers to assess whether their investment in employee development has paid off and identify areas that need improvement. It also shows leaders the work that Human Resources is doing around employee engagement, workforce training, and organizational development. 

One way to measure the success of an employee development plan is through performance evaluations. By comparing pre- and post-training performance, employers can determine if there have been any improvements or changes in job performance.

Another approach is through feedback from employees themselves. Surveys or focus groups can help gauge how employees feel about their current skills and knowledge and how effective they believe the training was in helping them achieve their goals.

It’s also essential to track employee retention rates after implementing an employee development plan. If employees are given opportunities for growth and advancement within the company, they may be more likely to stay with the organization long-term.

Measuring the success of an employee development plan requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. By regularly evaluating progress and adjusting accordingly, companies can ensure their investment in employee development pays off in both individual growth and overall organizational success. Trakstar Perform and Trakstar Learn, our learning management system, have Insights dashboards built right into them, allowing leaders to see which employee training programs are helping with goal completion, talent opportunity, and professional development opportunities across your workforce.

Ready to Build Employee Development Pathways?

Now that you have learned how to create and implement an effective employee development plan, it’s time to put your knowledge into action. By building a strong pathway for career growth and skill enhancement, you can help your employees reach their full potential while also improving the overall success of your organization.

Remember to tailor each development plan to the individual needs and goals of each employee!

With a solid employee development strategy in place, you can create a culture of continuous learning and improvement within your company. So go ahead – start planning today by scheduling a demo of Trakstar!

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