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7 Employee Development Plan Examples to Help Your Team Succeed

• 6 min read

Why do you need employee development plans, let alone employee development plan examples? No employee can ever (or would ever want to) stand still. There is almost always room for improvement, ways in which you can apply learning and development concepts to build new skills and help your employees meet their career goals.

But that process doesn’t happen magically. You need a strategic employee development program to achieve professional growth and optimize your performance management.

According to a 2022 Society of Human Resources Management report, 48% of employees call training opportunities a significant factor in choosing their job. Meanwhile, more than three-quarters are more likely to stay in their current role and organization if they get that opportunity.

But building strategic development opportunities can still be a struggle. Sure, you can put a mentoring program in place. But ultimately, modern L&D needs to be customized to each employee to truly build their competency.

Getting there means building roadmaps for your employee training program. Those roadmaps, in turn, are exactly why you need an employee development plan.

What is a professional development plan?

As we’ll highlight in this article, employee development plan examples can diverge quite heavily from one another. But they all tend to fall under a general definition we can use to get us started:

A professional or employee development plan is a written document that outlines how your employees, both individually and as a team, can meet their professional goals. It pulls from and builds toward performance reviews, making them more relevant and actionable to help team members improve and meet both short-term and long-term goals.

5 key features that the best employee development plan examples tend to share

Not all professional development plans are created equal. Some may focus on leadership skills, while others are designed for onboarding. Some lead to formal certifications, while others are closer connected to more informal mentorship programs. But all of them tend to share a few key features designed to make them effective:

  1. Time-bound. While some employee development plan examples focus on it more than others, all plans should have at least some specific time frame attached to evaluate initiatives after their completion.
  2. Milestones. In addition to an ending time, regular milestones help employees and supervisors check in on their progress and ensure a higher chance of success.
  3. Evaluation of current skills. Establishing a baseline of your employees’ skills allows you to perform a skills gap analysis and makes it easier to measure the growth in your employees’ skill sets.
  4. Action-oriented. Any effective employee development plan should have actionable steps specifically designed to build that above-mentioned roadmap. Those steps help to create a more intentional training plan.
  5. Measurable. Whether they’re designed for career growth or to help achieve company goals, development plans should be specific and include the right metrics to easily measure learning effectiveness.

The employee development plan examples shared below all include these components. As you build your own development plans and templates, keep these factors in mind to maximize your chances of success.

How does the right plan help you meet your business goals?

Put simply, a development plan makes the process of development initiatives more concrete. By outlining exactly what should be achieved and how it can be achieved, this type of growth plan can go a long way in helping your individual employees and your team meet crucial development goals.

Just as importantly, the right plan can also drive employee engagement. Especially when focusing on skill development related to an employee’s career or leadership development, telling your team members how they can get there and providing the support to do so has a significant impact on job satisfaction and employee retention.

Seven employee development plan examples you can implement right now

That’s it for the generalities. Now, it’s time to jump into the employee development plan examples specifically designed to nurture more high-performing employees.

1. Time-based individual development plan

As its name suggests, this plan orients itself around a timeline on which to achieve crucial employee goals. It’s typically based around a twelve-month calendar to align with annual employee performance reviews.

This type of plan can be built on individual goals or skills to be developed as the core variable. It should define an outcome for either of those variables, along with the timeframe at which it can be achieved. That ties the goals of the plan directly to the timeline, shown in a calendar view or Gantt chart to keep a visual overview.

2. Team-based action plan for development

Employee development plan examples don’t have to be limited to individual team members. This option creates an action plan for the entire team, helping to build core competencies as you look to improve performance and cohesion across the operation.

This plan starts with an assessment, often in the form of a SWOT analysis of where the team currently is. The insights gained help create a roadmap to fix weaknesses and build on strengths. In addition to overarching team goals, each team member should also have specific goals and objectives to achieve that lead to those larger goals.

3. Career development plan for team members

It’s time to think broadly. Ultimately, a successful career is as beneficial for the company as it is for the employee in question. It’s why career development is a leading factor not just for employee engagement but also for improving the productivity of your workforce.

A career development plan should begin with an outline of the employee’s career goals. These goals are then compared to current skills via skill gap analysis. The outcome of that analysis, in turn, can lead to a more specific plan on what skills to prioritize and develop.

Unlike some of the other employee development plan examples on this list, a career development plan can stretch over multiple years. Still, attaching specific timelines—like a three-year or five-year time frame—can help employees and managers alike keep track of their success.

4. Skills-based development plan for new employees

Training is a core piece of onboarding, and the right plan can help you make sure that every new employee is well-prepared for success. This type of plan helps your newest team members develop soft skills like communication skills, connecting typical onboarding lessons and seminars to a results-oriented plan for productivity.

Any skills-based development plan begins with establishing exactly what skills should be addressed. From there, it’s about establishing the employees’ current level of proficiency in the skill set and a timeline for how they can close the gap.

The best part about this type of plan is that it can easily be standardized. Because every new hire must go through the same steps, you can easily build a new employee development plan template that applies each time someone starts working in a given team.

5. Succession planning and development plan

In an ideal organizational flow, junior employees strategically learn the skills needed to move into more responsibility and ultimately into leadership roles. A strategic succession plan can help you get there.

Similar to the above onboarding plan, this version outlines the key skills needed to succeed in leadership. It then establishes exactly how proficient junior, manager, and senior leadership employees should be in those specific skills. That outline then establishes a roadmap you can easily apply to more specific, time-based plans for each employee.

6. Professional development and upskilling plan

Professional development, of course, can also go beyond specific succession or career planning. Upskilling remains one of the most underinvested types of L&D, and this type of plan can help you prioritize it.

The core idea is building a development plan based on skills your employees can benefit from. Think of it less as career growth and more as internal growth. For instance, any employee can benefit from better communication or organizational skills, regardless of their specific roles or career paths.

7. Self-evaluation and development plan

Finally, don’t underestimate the potential power of engaged employees looking to evaluate and track their own progress. Especially for self-motivated employees, this can become an important part of employee growth. For your organization, supporting these self-starter employees can lead to significant benefits.

This is the least structured of the employee development plan examples mentioned in this guide. It should provide general guidelines to your employees, like a suggested timeline or fields to enter goals and skills to be developed. Other than that, it’s up to your employees to complete, which makes it a powerful plan, especially in combination with some of the more structured options above.

From examples to implementation: How to get started

Regardless of the exact type(s) you implement, employee development plans can be invaluable to successful L&D. They structure the entire process, helping managers and employees understand exactly where to focus, what to work toward, and how to evaluate success.

But, of course, a plan is just the beginning. You also need the means to implement it, which is where the right LMS system comes into play.

How are your employees training their skills? How can you ensure that the plan’s implementation goes as well as its planning? Why not turn to the #1 global learning platform? Book your demo with Docebo today to learn how you can make the most out of your employee and team development plans.