Employee Development Plans: The Manager’s Role
Developing employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities is a key role that every manager shoulders. So then why are so many otherwise excellent managers — even managers in today’s top organizations — failing at this key responsibility?
You won’t be effective at growing people if you wing it — you need to create solid, effective, measurable development plans. A good employee development plan (EDP) starts with the manager. When you make sure your employees are growing, you guarantee your leadership career will grow, too. You must first develop yourself — know your goals and objectives — in order to create meaningful and effective EDPs.
The Manager’s Role — The manager’s role is as a coach and mentor.
1. Create the big picture of the organizational and departmental values, goals, and objectives.
a. Gain an understanding of the employees’ needs, interests, and ambitions.
b. Listen actively so you can truly hear what they are saying — and not saying.
c. Probe for further information to lead employees to their own answers.
d. Help employees identify their strengths and weaknesses.
e. Aid employees in identifying their career goals and objectives.
f. Assist employees in aligning individual development needs with organizational needs.
g. Identify people who can help with employees’ career development.
h. Help employees write or revise goals and identify what needs to be done to achieve them.
i. Determine whether organizational and individual values support the plan.
2. Identify skill gaps.
a. Help employees determine whether more training or education is needed.
b. Provide access to trade and industry groups.
c. Allow employees to go to conferences, workshops, trade and industry meetings, training sessions, etc.
d. Give employees the opportunity to volunteer for projects and join committees.
3. Assist employees in creating realistic goals based on the current job as well as the desired job.
a. Help determine what opportunities are available.
b. Explain how others in the company have received growth opportunities.
c. Show the company’s patterns for hiring for different positions.
d. Help employees assess whether career goals match company objectives.
4. Treat employees as they want to be treated based on their personality style preference, learning preferences, generational needs, etc.
a. Play to their strengths.
b. Understand personality differences.
c. Be cognizant of generational differences.
d. Identify their learning style and tailor their development to that style.
5. Set an agreed-upon timeline with employees.
a. Break big goals into smaller milestones.
b. Have specific target dates for certain tasks.
c. Be specific about goals and how you will know they have been achieved.
6. Provide frequent, timely feedback.
An employee development plan should be unique to each employee — there is no one-size-fits-all, or one plan per department or job type, cookie-cutter approach. A good EDP allows managers to connect with each staff member and will build trust and camaraderie within the team.