The benefits of creating a career development plan (series 2-4)
Talking to your employee about their aims
What better place to start than with your employees themselves? It’s all well and good you sitting down and deciding what someone should be aiming for, but this approach may be detrimental.
It’s important for employees to have a say in their own progression. The Balance Careers team discuss everything a worker might want from a job. Some of the most common desires from workers include:
People want responsibility. While it’s impossible to give them wider control of the company as a whole, you can provide them with the independence to be the master of their own fate in the workplace. Having their own targets to strive for will provide them with a sense of purpose and achievement.
A recent study found as many as 87% of millennials view career progression as an integral aspect of any job. With this factor playing such an important part in job satisfaction, it’s likely an employee will want to have this built into their career matrix.
Think about realistic targets they can aim for. That doesn’t necessarily mean management – it could just relate to seniority in a role. Creating a tier structure helps to give an employee gradual steps to progress through.
A feeling of belonging
Forbes highlights how creating a sense of belonging will promote success within your business. This is harder to define than aspects like opportunities for progression and self-motivation.
Talk to your employee about how they would like to become part of the framework of your organisation. They may have a talent or skill which makes them well-suited to elements of your business which don’t tie into your core service. Make this a part of their career plan.
Setting out a wage structure from early on can be incredibly useful. Whole articles are written on how to appropriately ask for a raise – but what if it was built into part of an employee’s natural progression? Gradual wage increments help provide workers with the motivation to keep going every year.
The key here is to find out what really matters to your employees. Defining company goals and merging them with what your employees want is a way to help both parties progress.
Finding learning opportunities
To continue to evolve in your role, you need to have a platform on which to build. Offering learning opportunities is the perfect way of achieving that.
A tried and tested method
Encouraging the use of training courses in the development plan of any worker is sure to be useful to their natural improvement. You’ll be able to find courses for any sector.
We’ve already discussed the potential for internal growth. Having staff in a position where they can pass on what they know means your organisation can thrive from the top down. This means adding mentoring sessions to the plan of people who are happy to mentor and coach others.
Thriving as an employee doesn’t just mean excelling at your job. Developing as a person is important too. Obviously, it’s hard to add this in as a definitive goal to hit. SetApp looks at some personal targets which people set themselves for work. These include things like being focused, improving decision-making and organisational abilities.
Nobody is ever truly an expert in any field. There’s always room for further growth. Making this an integral part of someone’s development plan means it becomes part of their overall progression.
Reviewing an employee development plan
A solid plan is nothing without a review process. These face-to-face chats allow you the chance to discuss what has and hasn’t been going well, and how you can go about improving that moving forwards.
How many reviews you hold with your employee every year is up to you. That said, it’s not uncommon for someone to sit down with a senior member of their team in the middle and at the end of their working year.
The half-year review
Biannual assessments provide both parties with a good chance to catch up and work out where things are. You can discuss aspects of work including:
How comfortable an employee is feeling in their role
Challenges they’ve faced
Where they are regarding their end-of-year goals
What you want to see from them over the next 6 months
The annual review
This will be carried out in much the same way as the half-year review, but with a more definitive conclusion at the end. This meeting is ultimately a means of working out how successful someone has been at achieving their aims for the year.
If it’s part of your pre-designed development plan, it’s also the perfect time to provide your employee with an update on their salary.
If goals have been met, you can also use this session as a chance to come up with some new objectives for the next 12 months.
Future actions and learnings
If someone is struggling, or needs steering back onto the right path, a review is a handy way of doing just that. It can also be a time of reflection to look back on issues faced and assess what lessons can be taken from them.
Remember, the ultimate aim of any plan for an employee is to help them – and the company as a whole – progress. These meetings can be used to keep that goal on track.