A 2015 Saba study found that “Sixty percent of HR leaders believed that their companies provide employees with a clear career path; just thirty-six percent of employees agreed.” The takeaway? Your best leaders are eager for more challenges. Feed their ambition. Set tangible goals that will engage them, make them feel valued, and will give a clear indication that they are progressing professionally in your organization. In return, your company will retain highly skilled and loyal people and cut turnover costs.

There are four major areas that you need to consider while collaborating with your employees on their career path in your company.

Tailor Their Career Development Goals

Establish a career plan unique to each employee. Before beginning a plan, an employee and his/her supervisor should identify the employees’ strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest for expanding their skills and knowledge.

The burning question to begin with is, “Are there areas of strengths that can be enhanced or gaps from weaknesses that need to be filled?” Goals can be broad such as becoming a better writer. Or more specific such as learning Photoshop. No matter the size, foster the employees’ plans to align with both their personal and company goals.

Identify Your Resource Strategy

A development plan is only as successful as the proper allocation of your company’s resources. You have to know the who, what, where, when and how in order to successfully implement an employee development strategy. Ask yourself some of these questions to help formulate a plan.

  • Who is ready and able to train and monitor the employees’ progress? Identify which managers are able to mentor employees. Create a clear structure for the mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Which employees are ready to be trained? How’s the employees’ attitude? You as a company can only provide so much. The employee must be self-motivated to take the steps to gain the skills that will further their career. A good attitude is a must.
  • How much time is needed? Get a clear timeline of not only how much time is needed for the employee to reach the goal, but also how much time they have in their regular workday to set aside toward the accomplishment of the goals.
  • Can these skills can be learned on the job or do they need outside training? Tap into internal training resources such as job rotations and team projects when possible. Utilize external conferences, trade groups, and online training where applicable.
  • How much are we talking? The tools of training like conferences, trainers, software, and books all cost money. Consider the financial investment and iron out any kinks that could thwart your plan.

Appoint Realistic Timeline

Perhaps the most critical element of a development plan is a periodic review of the individual’s progress. Specify target dates for milestones in the development process. Keep in mind some goals are short term and others are long term and time should be appropriately allocated for each.

Determine Progress Measurement

All goals need to be measurable. Articulate the parameters you’re using to gauge the employee’s progress. Make sure the employee understands the metrics and milestones by which they are being measured.

While management can support and aid, remember that the employees are ultimately responsible for the actionable steps of the plan. Need some assistance with designing your employees’ development plans? Contact us today and we’ll get your employees on the track to achieving their goals and adding value to your company.