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How To Write & Measure Employee Development Plans

By Erika Miller
Illustration of Carl the Yeti standing next to bar graphs, a checklist, and holding a flag.
image with text - More than 94% of employees would stay longer at their job if companies invested in their growth

Gone are the days of soulless annual reviews and awkward performance evaluations. Employees want to be engaged and empowered by their home team (that’s you!). More than 94% of employees would stay longer at their job if companies invested in their growth, which is why employee development plans are more important than ever.

But let’s back up for a second. How are you supposed to create an employee development plan in the first place? Let’s explore some goals, measurements, and write-up strategies for businesses in any industry — and start with why you should be doing it in the first place!

What is the goal of employee development?

Great question! But first, let’s define some terms.

For context’s sake, employee development is the collaborative process that takes place between an employee and their employer. The development plan is individualized to each employee and is designed to provide career direction over the course of the month, quarter, or year (more on that later).

So if that’s what employee development means, what’s the ultimate goal? To answer this, we’ve rounded up some experts!

  • “Learning experiences are like journeys. The journey starts where the learning is now and ends where the learner is more successful. The end of the journey isn't knowing more, it's doing more.” — Julie Dirkson
  • “An organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.” — Jack Welsh
  • “There are only two ways a manager can impact an employee's output: motivation and training. If you are not training, then you are neglecting half the job.” — Andy Grove

Employee development isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a method of retaining employees, boosting skill levels, and creating an incredibly competitive organization that surpasses all expectations. What’s not to love?

How to write a development plan for employees

Individual employees have different paths of development and skill, which is why the plans you create should be increasingly focused on the individual. Thankfully, the formula for creating a great employee development plan (EDH) includes the same basic attributes.

1. Build personal goals

Help employees map out specific goals that fall into one of three categories — growth, skills, and relationships. Note that this can (and should) be inclusive of personal goals as well!

2. Focus on work

What new demands will your employee’s role require? Create a list of forward-thinking objectives that help team members stay ahead of the learning curve.

3. Make it SMART

All great plans, whether they’re EDP or not, must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Be sure that the directives listed in your development plan follow all best SMART goal practices!

4. Equip managers

In the midst of the Great Resignation, employees need managers that are totally bought into their personal development. Be sure that your leaders have the efficacy and empowerment to move obstacles for team members, and make it easier to nurture their skills and knowledge.

5. Update regularly

Depending on the interval set forth in your documents, EDP should be revisited by managers and employees in a one-on-one meeting. The more you update and refine individual development plans, the more engaged employees will become!

You can make your development plans as formal or as informal as you want, and in virtually any format that serves your industry well. Just be sure to track the outcomes in a way that makes sense for the company!

How to measure employee development

The more you measure your employee development, the more excited you’ll get. Trust us, it happens every time!

There are a few different ways to measure employee development according to preferred KPIs:

  • Track engagement — Calculate changes and growth in employee engagement.
  • Calculate productivity — The easiest formula for this is output divided by input.
  • Peer review — Ask people in the department for feedback about employees.
  • Checklist goals — Track how many items were completed against the number of goals set.

Remember — development looks different between individual companies and employees. Try out a few systems to see what works best for you!

Do it better with Motivosity

So creating an employee development plan isn’t all that painful, but doing it for multiple employees all year long? And by hand? Yeah, that’s probably not ideal.

At Motivosity, we believe in the power of doing it better. We’re not here to tell you that your methods don’t work (because we think you rock), but we do know that our solutions will definitely make your life easier. Use the power of our Community platform to encourage conversation, and invest in our Recognize and Lead platforms to stay on top of meetings and development reports. And with a 96% average usage rating, you know it’s got to be good.

Get started on your next employee development plan with a little help from Motivosity. Call us at 801-845-4987 to schedule your free demo today!