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The 4-Step Employee Development Plan

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Developing an employee involves improving his or her skills in their current job as well as developing them for future responsibilities and new positions. As manager, it is your job to develop your people. Many companies are now holding managers responsible for the development of their employees and make employee development a part of the manager’s performance appraisal. (To a large degree, the skills required for employee development are the skills developed in leadership, management, and supervisory training.)

This four step employee development plan will put you, your employees and the whole department on track to achieve maximum potential.

  1. Prepare the employee
    To get the employee thinking about their own development and the areas where development can occur, here is a series of questions you will want to ask the employee.
    1. What are the skills needed to do your job?  How well do you perform them?
    2. What aspects of your job do you like least/best?
    3. What major accomplishments have you achieved since your last performance appraisal?
    4. In what ways can your supervisor and/or the organization help you to do a better job?
    5. What changes would you like to see in your current job?
    6. What are your job goals for this next year?
    7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
    8. What have you been doing to prepare yourself to move ahead in your career?
    9. What activities would help you develop yourself?

An excellent time to begin the developmental process is during the performance appraisal. Get the questions to the employee well in advance of the appraisal interview to give them time to prepare. Their answers will help guide the discussion.

  1. Provide Development opportunities
    There is a vast array of things you can do to help the employee develop and every employee is different. Here is a list of some developmental approaches you can consider.

    1. Training
      Training is obviously first on the list. Often, training needs are simply defined by looking at the employee’s performance or by understanding their experience or lack of experience with the specific job tasks.

    1. Peer Coaching
      Employees coach other individuals on their jobs. The benefits are two-fold. First, the employees develop skills in other areas and can fill in for their counterpart if that person is on vacation or out sick. Also, in the process of teaching another person, the teacher themselves becomes more proficient.

    1. Job Design Changes
      Here, the employee defines all aspects of their job and makes suggestions as to how the job might be redesigned to enhance proficiency. You may be surprised by their creativity and superior ideas. Even though you may not be able to totally revamp a job, the employee understands the job better and you begin to recognize some of their concerns.

    1. Representing the Department
      Have the employee represent you, the team, or the department at an important meeting. Have them report back the proceedings to you and/or the team. In the process, the employee has a better understanding of how the team, the department, and their job fit into the big picture of the organization.

    1. Delegate Special Projects
      Make certain the project challenges the employee. The project must be seen as meaningful. Also, make sure the employee views the project as a reward for good work in other areas of their job. In doing so, the assignment becomes a motivating experience and not just more work.

    1. Assist the Boss
      Assign an employee to assist your boss or another executive on a special assignment where the employee will be exposed to new business perspectives of the organization’s business.

  1.  Monitor Progress
    Observe how the employee is doing. Schedule to meet at least once per quarter to discuss how things are going. Ask questions; review any quantity and quality measures that are relevant. Give ongoing feedback on what the individual is doing well and what they need to be doing differently. Feedback is critical to the success of the developmental process. If you do not follow up with them, you are essentially telling the employee the developmental process is not all that important to you. If it is not important to you, how can you expect the employee to take it seriously?
  2. Create Confidence
    Let them know you are always available. Give the employee the encouragement and support needed to feel confident in his or her ability to succeed. When things do not go as well as planned, focus on what went right. You are asking the person to go beyond their current level so take it one step at a time. Sometimes we must take smaller steps to ensure a successful outcome.

The ultimate success in developing the employee depends on the employee themselves. However, the success of the developmental process depends on the manager. Follow these guidelines to ensure success in developing your people.

By:  Dale Mask

© 2006 Alliance Training and Consulting, Inc.


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