6 Easy Steps to Create an Effective Employee Development Plan

Help the IT Professionals in your organization grow with this straightforward approach to development.

In the digital age, it’s the people that matter more than ever. Having the right people in the right place is the critical talent question. Organizations today are trying to surf the towering waves of digital transformation. Those who can’t anticipate the next wave quickly enough will be swept away by the competition.

One essential tool for meeting the changes of digital transformation head-on is a solid development plan. Now more than ever, it is important to enable employees to develop as professionals and to grow with the business.

A development plan has two distinct advantages. Firstly, it keeps the talent pipeline full as your employees gain new skills and hone existing ones. More interestingly, it is also a great retention strategy as it shows employees that their efforts are appreciated and encouraged.

Employees who take part in a development plan benefit from more opportunities to change roles, a better sense of direction within the organization and the chance to advance their career. In this respect, helping your employees build skills is a win-win situation. The employees gain skills for life and the organization keeps its workforce up-to-date.

Step 1: Consider your business goals

The first step towards creating an employee development plan is to ensure that it is focused on the business goals. Although you are developing your employees, it is essential that the short-term and long-term objectives of the organization give direction to the plan. After all, if the plan doesn’t benefit the business then it is not sustainable for the future. Once the business goals are clear, you need to identify the skills, knowledge, and competences that contribute to those goals.

For example, an organization undergoing a digital transformation might urgently need more software developers. A development team might need these specialists to ensure they are able to create new software that meets the changing needs of the customer in the digital age. What skills do these specialists need? Are there any employees who already have these skills? If not, can they learn to master these skills?

To support this, EXIN has developed a great tool to give HR professionals the insights they need. The e-CF® NEXT Profiler can be used to measure the current IT competences and skills available within your organization’s workforce.

Encouraging internal candidates to develop their skills is a way to save time and money. This investment in existing employees means that less effort needs to be spent on recruiting, outsourcing and training. Hiring a new candidate that doesn’t work out can be a costly affair. Investing in a development plan means that employees are more likely to stay, as they see a future in the organization. Especially one that offers a clear career path with promotion and growth opportunities.

Step 2: Talk to your employees

It is important to engage with your employees and talk to them about their wants and needs. It may be that they have ambitions and skills that don’t align with your expectations. An open discussion offers space for the employee to share their career objectives and to indicate how they expect to get there.

The report each employee receives after filling out an e-CF® Profile can be a great tool to base this conversation on. Use the Role Match chapter to discuss challenges they're having in their current position. The development tips given in the report can be used as inspiration for the employee to get started with their personal development.

Step 3: Decide what skills your employees need

So, you’ve considered your business goals and examined the capabilities and background of your workforce. Now you’re ready to get into specifics and establish which skills are required by which employee.

By using the e-CF® NEXT Role Profiler you can determine which skills and competences each IT related role within your organization should include.

As soon as the created Role Profiles are finished you can use them to measure any employee that filled out an e-CF® Profile against this desired Role Profile and see a possible fit or gap.

Step 4: Create an action plan

Once you have clarity about the skills you are missing in your organization, the skills your employees will need to develop, and the objectives for the different Role Profiles in your business you can start working towards closing the gap.

A development program can incorporate many different types of learning to suit your employees. This can include activities such as certification or training.

But which training or certification will help fill which gap? EXIN’s e-CF® NEXT Learning Profiler can help you map each training orcertification onto the e-CF Framework. The result is an overview of how a training or certification will contribute to the development of which competences. This insight provides the assurance that the training or certification is meaningful for the employee so that the time away from work is well spent.

Step 5: Apply the new skills in the workplace

It takes considerable time and money to provide your employees with the resources they need to develop their skills. In order to make the most of this investment, it is important to put the new skills your employees have gained to good use in your business.

The best way to reap the rewards of your employees investing in their own skill development is to encourage them to make use of those skills as soon as possible. Creating some opportunities for employees to try out their newly acquired skills not only lets them see the immediate effect of their efforts but also allows you to give feedback. This feedback is essential in making sure that the skills your employee has developed remain fresh and become part of their everyday skillset. It would be a shame to let these brand-new competences go unused to eventually be forgotten.

Step 6: Continue to measure

By using the e-CF® NEXT Profiler each year, you can measure the growth and change within your workforce. In this respect, the e-CF® NEXT Dashboard helps you to stay ahead of your competition through the forecasting of future roles and by providing insights into the fit of, and any gaps in, your organization’s workforce.

Interested to know how e-CF® can help your organization master the digital skills of future?

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