In the past, customer satisfaction and retention used to be a top priority for firms looking to stay at the top in the highly competitive business world. However, while customer satisfaction remains paramount for sustainability and profitability, emphasis is now being given to employee satisfaction and retention. The reason is that business managers have over time realized that a positive correlation exists between customers satisfaction and employees satisfaction as it relates to profitability and sustainability.

Although flexible hours, wellness programs, increased pay, and other juicy perks that enhance work-life balance can significantly boost employee satisfaction. But, creating and implementing a career development plan remains one of the most strategic and efficient employee investments a firm can undertake. One reason is that a well-executed career plan gives room to professional development through new skills acquisition, thereby streamlining career mobility.

Such employees will have no reason to jump ships but will rather remain loyal and committed to the firm's long-term goals. Contrary to popular belief among HR managers, employees hardly quit for better career options after acquiring requisite skill sets through training and development offered by a company. Statistics show that employees are more likely to leave a company if there's no opportunity for career growth than when they're offered growth opportunities through career development plans.

That said, if you're looking to create a career development plan for your employees, we've detailed ten steps that yield results. But first, you might be wondering what a career development plan is.

What Is a Career Development Plan?

Career development plans or career planning templates help outline your career goals. In between the starting point and the destination, a career development plan must show at a glance the gap—obstacles you need to overcome and the route—how to close the gap to reach your destination.

Generally speaking, a career development plan enables you to set goals, useful as a roadmap for self-assessment in:

  • Progressing through your primary career path
  • Determining your career options
  • Opting for a career change
  • Or simply preparing for your future career.

An effective development plan is time-bound and easily achievable within a specific time frame, say two years or longer.

Why You Need a Career Development Plan for Your Employees

Although implementing a career development plan for your employees impacts their personal and professional development, it also benefits the business in various ways. It is key to note that an employees' development over time translates to business development. Read on to learn some of the key benefits of effective career development plans.

Improved Operational Efficiency and Productivity

Career development plans provide an opportunity for employees to up their skill set and level of professionalism. A more skillful workforce increases operational efficiency, reduces wastage, and boosts productivity. Employees with better skills give your firm a competitive edge among similar brands.

Clarity in Roles and Job Description

Career development plans make for clarity in defining specific job objectives and roles. Through career development plans, employees can grasp the requirements of their current role or current position and what is needed moving forward.

Opportunity for Performance Review

Before the exercise, conduct a performance review to choose the best-qualified employees. Additionally, during the exercise, adequate monitoring and review are carried out at each stage to assess the commitment of each employee involved. Monitoring will show you the employees to invest more in the future while pushing other employees to do better.

Boosts Morale and Improve Employees Retention

Implementing a career development plan tells the workers that you care about their personal and professional growth and development. Showing you care boosts their morale, work attitude, and commitment to do more in helping the brand realize both long and short-term goals. Additionally, employees are less likely to quit under such conditions.

Indicative of a Good Company Culture

Showing that you care about the professional development of your employees is a good indication of great company culture, which is good for your brand reputation. Long-term, this will impact customers retention and favorability.

Types of Career Development Plan

You can write career development plans for various purposes, and various types exist. However, based on its function on the organization, we have:

  • Organizational development plans: This is geared towards improving an individual's ability to organize a business.
  • Managerial development plans: This is geared towards improving the managerial experience in a particular set of business employees.
  • Employee development: This is geared towards the professional career development of employees. It enhances career goals and business goal realization.

10 Steps to Writing and Implementing a Great Career Development Plan for Your Employees

To create a credible and effective career development plan for your employees, you need to be very intentional about the results you want to achieve. Here we've detailed ten great steps that, if carefully executed, will yield results. However, it's good to point out that achieving the best results also depends on you and your team's commitment to the process. That said, let's dive into the various steps.

1. Identify and Select Your Target Employees

Employees who have been performing optimally in their current role and haven't been lax should be your first choice for a career development plan. They are the ones who show the most readiness to move on to the next level of professional development. The low-performing employees would not benefit much from a career development plan as they are still finding it difficult to perform in their current position.

2. Discuss Future Career Plans With the Selected Employees

After selecting your employees for Career Development Plans. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Use meetings to get to know each other. Share your opinions and ideas on the career development plan and also hear theirs'. Key information you need from each target employee at this stage include:

  • Whether they're individual or team-oriented.
  • Ask them what their dream job is.
  • Get an idea of their ideal workplace and workday.
  • Assess their career goals in the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Assess their core strengths and weaknesses.

3. Script Realistic Short- and Long-Term Career Goals

In this step, you and your team will work towards setting realistic goals. These career goals should neither be too easy nor too tasking to prevent the employees from developing anxiety over not achieving them. It must be goals they feel confident enough about achieving. The smart goals setting approach is always the best way to go and entails that the goal must be:

  • Smart and tangible
  • Have a measurable success and failure parameter
  • Relevant to the business
  • Easily achievable
  • And time-bound, i.e., can be achieved within a specific period.

4. Develop Methods and Schedules to Streamline Goal Realization

At this stage, you need to have a constructive discussion with the employees to develop a workable and meaningful approach or method towards realizing goals. Listen to their input as per what they feel is the best, and how to go about it. After the discussion, you can make a decision based on what everyone agrees is the best approach.

5. Classify Each Goal Into Time-Bound Milestones

Incorporate pre-steps and times to achieve each goal. Small steps make achieving each goal more realistic and less likely to overwhelm the employees.

6. Identify Potential Barriers and Come Up With Possible Solutions

Looking out for potential problems and challenges that the employees might face will help you develop solutions to avoid such problems altogether. Identifying barriers will make the goals you set, achievable.

7. Track Progress With Career Development Tools

It's best to use tools to keep track of progress at each stage of the development plan. Software like Lattice Performance Management, Entomo, Bridge, Learn Amps, etc., can help with this. These tools allow check-in, reviews, objective and key results (OKR) analysis.

8. Provide Personalized Support and Resources

Your employees are unique individuals with unique career goals. For instance, one employee may want to improve on coding skills, while for another, it's public speaking. It is, therefore, pertinent that you provide personalized support and resources in line with each individual's goal for the process to work.

9. Let Them Take Responsibilities

In the end, the responsibility to make the process work lies with the employees. So don't try to micromanage the whole process. Give them independence and see how it plays out. You can make input when necessary.

10. Maintain Adequate Flexibility

An effective career goal is as dynamic as it is, flexible. Therefore, you should be able to analyze and tweak development plans for each employee as the need arises.

Things to Avoid While Writing or Implementing a Career Development Plan

  • Avoid making unrealistic promises regarding special bonuses or promotions you're not 100% sure of fulfilling.
  • The temptation to micromanage the process can be overwhelming; avoid it. Your job is to check in with the employees and provide guidance when needed.
  • Carry out the development plan per your company's policy. Don't break policy to satisfy the career development plan. All goals should be achieved within the confines of policy.

Stay on Top of Your Business Finances With Skynova

A well-executed career development plan can boost employees' commitment to realizing your business's long-term profit goals. However, while implementing a career development plan for your employees, you need to pay proper attention to your business finances.

Skynova's accounting software will enable you to stay on top of your business finances by helping you keep track of all your business finances through automated transaction records, cash flow management, invoice generation, and accurate record keeping.

Notice to the Reader

The content in this article is a general guide and may not apply to your specific situation. Please consult with a professional when writing a career development plan for your employees.