You worked so hard to find and recruit the perfect candidate for your company. Now that you have them, what’s next? Do you just set them to work and then hope they’ll come in every day ready to give it their all?
Hopefully not! It doesn’t take a genius to know that the best and brightest talent isn't going to be satisfied doing the same job every day for the rest of their career. Hardworking and motivated people will always be trying to find ways to improve themselves. It's your responsibility as a company to provide opportunities and resources to allow them to make those improvements.
Employees are your most important resource. Their skills and talent require an investment from the company, but through proper development planning, you are able to ensure a proper ROI for your efforts. If employees aren’t learning and growing while working for you, they’ll be looking toward other companies to fulfill that need.
To get the best out of our employees, we need to develop and train them. Planning a formalized development process that is structured but flexible to change will allow you to direct the growth so that they grow in a way that benefits both employees and your company.
Organizational Development and Employee Development go hand-in-hand with each other. By improving one, the other is benefitted as well. If you consider employees and their skills the building blocks to grow the company, you are laying the foundation for improving the company's organizational development by properly training and developing your employees.
Before you can figure out your employee development plan, it's good to first have established company goals. The purpose of OD is to increase organization effectiveness and health on a company-wide level by establishing strategies to hit those goals and ways to evaluate progress along the way. Through the process of organizational development, you will be able to identify ways to improve the health of the company and employee engagement initiatives.
The individual employee planning process will become easier as you are able to see the overall needs of the organization. You'll be able to ensure your employee development plans are preparing employees to fill key roles within your organization that fit them the best. For more help getting started with organizational development, be sure to check out our other resources here.
Personalized Employee Development Plan (AKA Pathways)
With an established business plan, you are ready to match up organizational goals with the proper employee for the job. To do this, try following these steps:
1. Determine Needed Skillsets
With the business development plan and necessary tasks in mind, evaluate what each department needs to do in order to hit the organizational goals. From there, you can start to consider your employees: what skills do they have? What skills do they need to learn or develop in order to meet your business goals?
Once you know where the gaps are, you will be able to identify a list of needed skills that will benefit your company. Depending on what position you’re creating the pathway for, these skills could be hard skills like coding and writing, or soft skills such as communication and teamwork. Incorporate specific metrics to measure skill proficiency in your employee development plans.
Let’s say you have a goal to improve your company's brand awareness. You want to do this by getting more backlinks to your site and promoting your company's blog. You determine the best way to do so is through using SEO to increase social engagement rates and content marketing leading to more inbound sales.
Now when going through your employees, you know exactly what skills you need to find or train employees to be proficient at. If none of the employees know much about SEO or content marketing, their roles could be expanded to fulfill the need with specialized training programs. You add these goals into your employees' development plan and start creating a pathway to hit that goal.
2. Developing a Career Pathway
Now that you know the skillsets needed, you can start putting employees on a specific pathway to success! You can populate the pathway with different pieces of training and assessments to improve proficiency in the desired skillsets. You should break things down into measurable milestones, create a timeline to follow, and rewards for completion of the pathway.
Be sure to coordinate their goals and growth milestones with your company's growth and hand out titles, bonuses, promotions, or pay raises that coincide with the level of your organization's development. Both sides are clear on what is needed and everybody progresses together.
By helping employees understand their path in your business, you allow them to work more effectively in their roles and prepare them for success in other positions that they may take. Pathways allow you to:
- Gauge that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing through evaluation
- Train employees to fill the needed skill gaps in your organizational development.
- Include employees in the decision-making processes and let them make choices.
- Give employees opportunities to participate in other parts of your business.
Career pathways are designed to help you educate and train your employees to move up and follow a path of growth that is in line with both your needs and theirs. Be sure to get their feedback during the process so that they are more invested in the pathway and so everyone is on the same page. For more information, check out our other articles about career pathways and succession planning.
3. Determine Cross-Training and When to Hire
With Career Pathways, you are using principles of succession planning to train your employees and help them gain the skills and experience necessary to progress up the ranks of the company. Instead of hiring outside, you are using development plans to develop the employee that you need for a future position in your company. No more job postings, sifting through resumes, and attending career events.
There is no better way to confirm something has been learned than to have them teach it to someone else! As part of the development plan, you can encourage employees to train each other in certain aspects of their current roles. This process isn’t only limited to your employees, managers can also take part too. This will help leaders to familiarize themselves with different roles in the company and their related responsibilities. The knowledge will allow leaders to better understand and handle the people they manage.
You can structure pathways in such a way that every employee is working toward a higher position with someone who can coach them, and each position is training an employee to take over their responsibilities. This way, you will be able to hire internally to fill vital upper management roles with experienced employees and limit outside hiring to more entry-level positions.
Sometimes the needed skillsets are not available in the company and existing employees are unable to be trained to fill certain roles. It's important to understand what gaps cannot be filled by your existing talents and then hire for those skill sets. Luckily, if your organizational development plan is in place, you already have a better picture of what you should be looking for in candidates applying to that particular role.
Employee development plans build the foundation on which your company can grow and expand. These plans should be personalized by each employee to fulfill the needs of the company and implemented after the organizational development goals have been established. If you provide your workforce with these personalized career pathways, you will have a more proactive workforce that will look for ways to be more effective and improve the company as a whole.
Individual development plans will not only improve the quality of your employees but also increase the retention of your top talent. If you do not provide the opportunity for growth or the training and resources to allow employees to learn new things, your employees will start looking elsewhere to find those opportunities!
By reinforcing pathways in your managers and employees, you will be training your future leaders to be confident and self-sustaining enough to get things done on their own. As your employees improve, so do the benefits to you as the manager and the organization as a whole. Your employees develop more skills and become more knowledgeable about the intricacies of the company. Each person is able to fulfill their role to the necessary professional standard and is also better prepared to take on other positions if required.