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Manufacturers: do you have an Employee Development Plan yet?

A survey of 30,000+ employees by Microsoft revealed that 41% were considering quitting or changing professions. It appears the ‘Great Resignation’ is in full swing, this phenomenon started in the USA but has spread globally as employees resign in unprecedented numbers. But what exactly is driving so many employees to change careers, or quit the workforce altogether?

For some employees, the pandemic prompted a shift in priorities, but other surveys highlighted several areas of concern:

  • Burnout
  • Desire to work remotely
  • Insufficient compensation
  • Poor working environments

While Moody’s analytics chief economist believes the ‘Great Resignation’ could be over by 2023, many believe employees demanding more from their employers is a trend here to stay. The pandemic has changed the priorities of millions, and it has now become almost compulsory for a business to make serious investments in their employees’ wages, well-being, work-life balance, and career opportunities. It has therefore never been more important to focus on employee retention.

And one of the main reasons cited by employees leaving was a lack of development opportunities.

Creating an employee development plan for each of your employees will create engaged team members who feel valued, want to stay, and will tell others that the company is a great place to work, whilst being a true asset of an organisation

Employee development activities help in the growth and development of employees, and it is a process of improving employees' existing competencies and skills and developing newer ones to support the organisation’s goals.

Development plans are action plans, working documents used actively by both the employee and line manager. They ensure the employee is growing personally, developing their ability to achieve more in the workplace.

Employee development plans will: 

Build on strengths and weaknesses: Every employee has their strengths and weaknesses. Development plans help them capitalise on what they do best and address any skill gaps that could be holding back their development within the business.

Attract new talent: Showing new and potential hires that a business is committed to their development will instantly boost an employer brand.

Improve retention: One study found that up to 40% of employees who have limited training opportunities at work quit within a year. Development plans demonstrate investment in people and build loyalty.

Boost business performance and growth: Developing your employees will improve their productivity and efficiency, which is bound to have a positive effect on a business’s bottom line.

Boost morale and job satisfaction: A sense of purpose and direction and the knowledge that they have a future will make for happier employees.

Improve risk management: Studies show that employee development plans can significantly reduce accidents and injuries at work.

Adapting to changing: Leaner, flatter, continuously evolving organisations need employee development to ensure engagement and commitment.

So, how do you create an effective employee development plan? 

1. Know your goals

A good development plan will align with both the employee’s and the company’s goals, so think about your long-term and short-term goals for the business and what skills your people can develop to support those goals.

Once the alignment has been established and the areas for development identified, the path to this development needs to be mapped out. Do not forget the 70/20/10 rule – that 70% of learning comes from on-the-job experience, 20% from other people, and 10% from coursework and training.

2. Listen to your employees

Employee development plans should not be one size fits all. Have 1:1s with your staff and ask them which tasks they feel most confident with, where they feel they need to approve, and what they want to accomplish in the years ahead.

3. Choose your training strategies

There are many types of training to choose from, from 1:1 mentoring or group coaching to online classes or traditional classes hosted by outside experts. Offer a variety of options and ask your staff which they found most helpful.

4. Plan your development timeline

Remember to put the T in SMART by creating a timeline for each staff member to achieve their development goals. Have a plan for what you and your employee will do before, during, and after each training session.

5. Reflect on efficacy and update the plan accordingly

Self-adjustment and reflection must be built into the final stages of the employee development plan so that both manager and employee can see what went well, what did not and make changes so that, over time, the development becomes more successful and smoother.

Employees must not view development plans as separate from their daily work lives, as something to be done in their ‘free time.’ Used properly, EDPs provide development opportunities through daily work.

If an employee does decide to leave for personal development reasons, use their departure as an opportunity to reflect. Ask them their reasons for leaving and use that information to work out how you can improve your company culture and employee retention.

For other articles on the ‘Great Resignation’ why not visit Don’t fear the Great Resignation: 5 tips for leaders 

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