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on December 07, 2016 Onboarding Training

Propelling Business Performance through Employee Development

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Employees and organizations alike are in search of that special someone to engage in a successful long-term relationship. For organizations looking to attract and retain top talent – founding a happy and healthy alliance – an Employee Development Plan is essential.

Development Plans are owned by the employee and align their interests and areas for growth with business objectives. A well-manufactured Employee Development Plan outlines an individual path for career progression, steering employee progress through goal setting, identifying growth opportunities, and developing skills.

A cost-effective tool in building loyalty, decreasing turnover, and promoting employee engagement, Employee Development Plans should be top priority on your HR agenda. Integrating a strategy for Employee Development into your onboarding program has the added benefit of displaying your commitment to a new hire’s learning, growth, and success early on.

So how exactly can an Employee Development Plan strengthen your organization?

Millennial Career Values and Increased Retention

Imagine you’ve recently started a new season of your favorite Netflix series. You’re 4 episodes in and you can’t work out where the season is heading – the show has lost its direction. The plot line is lacking, your favorite character has fallen flat, and 10 minutes into the episode you call it quits. You’re back on the home page, browsing for your next series.

Employees want to understand where their careers are heading – they demand direction. Without a clear course for career progression, they will land back on their job search engines, browsing for their next role.

87% of Millennials report professional development or career growth opportunities as very important in a career.

A plan of action to meet your employees’ Career Development goals will prevent them from ultimately looking for opportunities to progress elsewhere. This is particularly in character with Millennial workers, who are progressive, driven, and focused on their career values.

With Millennials compromising the largest share of workers in the U.S. workforce, it’s imperative to concentrate on their needs from day one. Collaborating to develop a clear Development Plan with all new hires can be the difference between retaining and repelling Millennial talent.

When attracting new talent, highlighting Career Development opportunities draws in the right breed of candidates who are focused on contributing to and progressing within the organization.

Two-thirds of Millennials hope to leave their current companies by 2020, 71% of which are reportedly dissatisfied with how their leadership skills are being developed.

A powerful employee development plan encourages the evolution of leadership skills from the time of a new hire’s onboarding. Systematically increased responsibility and accountability are fundamental in Employee Development. Employees should be given the opportunity to gain influence and add value to the organization through achieving self-delegated goals as outlined in their Development Plans. This offers professional and personal growth while preparing employees for future internal leadership roles.

Planning for Engaged, Promotable Employees

A Career Development Plan not only satisfies your workforce’s needs, but it meets HR’s requirements by creating promotable employees. Preparing your employees for their future positions within your company prevent HR from spending time and resources on making external hires.

Over two-thirds of Millennials hold management accountable for providing accelerated development opportunities.

Showing your employees that you’re invested in them by indicating future opportunity for advancement, encourages them to stay on board and progress their careers internally.  

Through developing and promoting existing employees, Development Plans can contribute to greater Employee Engagement. Using internal promotions to reward employees for their past performance signals to coworkers that internal progression is not only feasible, but it is favored by the organization.

Encouraged by their coworkers’ progress, employees will be motivated to actively contribute to their organization’s goals, values, and success, seeing opportunity for advancement as an occurring and achievable prospect.

An engaged employee feels involved, valued, consulted, and supported. With 68% of workers marking professional training and development as the single most important workplace policy, an effective Development Plan is a key tool to promote Employee Engagement.

As for HR, there are many benefits to fostering promotable employees:

  • - Existing employees will not need to be onboarded and trained.
  • - They already have a clear understanding of the company’s organizational structure and culture.
  • - Management is familiar with the employee’s capabilities.
  • - The organization’s investment in the employee is retained.

Employees don’t become promotable by chance – a deliberate progression plan and the right developmental tools are essential in priming your workforce to fill upper positions down the line.

The Dollars and Cents of Employee Development

Employee turnover doesn’t come cheap. Beside the negative effects turnover can have on Employee Engagement, company reputation, and company culture, employee turnover costs 21% of the departing employee's salary.  With employee retention and engagement reported as the number 1 issue employers faced last year, steps to successfully retain and develop internal talent are vital to an organization’s success.

An Employee Development Plan drives individual performance, which in turn, drives overall business performance.

Besides increasing your bottom line through improved employee retention, Development Plans equip employees to meet strategic organizational goals. Realizing these goals results in continued business performance enhancement.

Setting initial expectations for employee performance in a Development Plan drives employees to meet and exceed expectations as they work towards tackling a clear set of self-appointed goals. As employees work towards achieving their Development Plan’s mapped out objectives, their performance and capabilities develop, increasing the organization’s total ROI.

Strategically Implementing a Development Plan

Chances are, you’re familiar with the importance of setting SMART goals when it comes to an Employee Development Plan – but what’s smart when it comes to its implementation?

Follow through on your employee’s Career Development Plan with strategic tools such as:

  • Roadmaps – help your employees visualize their development, then enable them to take the wheel in managing their own career path – providing essential tools and support along the way.
  • Milestones – recognize and celebrate achievements in your employees’ Career Development journey to boost morale and drive motivation in meeting their next career goal.
  • Timelines – allocate and track time spent working towards each goal to manage productivity.
  • Early and Ongoing Communication – keep the lines of meaningful communication open with your employees who value transparency, feedback and candor.

Career Development Plans are just one important element in Employee Onboarding. Interested in learning more about how onboarding can help you build better connected, more engaged, and higher performing teams?  Sign up for a free demo with Sapling below.blog_banner.png

Jeni Fahy

Jeni Fahy is a contributing author at Sapling, a culture-first organization helping People Ops leaders deliver employee experience programs with consistency, visibility, and analytics. If you’re interested in enhancing your employee experience with strategic employee onboarding, schedule a demo with the Sapling team.