Employee Development? Meaning, Benefits & Importance

employee development
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Making employee development a priority in business culture guarantees that employees keep current on industry best practises and gain new skills. As a result, employee engagement increases and top talent is attracted.

So, what is employee development, and why should you be concerned about it? Continue reading to discover about the benefits and how to easily implement a people development plan into your business.

What Is Employee Development?

Employee development, also known as professional development or staff development, refers to any professional training or continuing education that an employer provides to help employees advance in their professions. It includes seminars, professional certificates, higher education courses, and mentorship programmes among other things.

Staff development is prioritised to ensure that team members’ abilities increase in accordance with industry trends and best practises. Employers who invest in further education that supports an employee’s professional path should expect improved retention, more engaged employees, and increased income.

Professional development is intended to increase employees’ skills and knowledge so that they can advance in their whole career path, rather than just building a skill set for a specific function. While it is ultimately the responsibility of the person to own their professional development, it is to the employer’s advantage to encourage ongoing education by ensuring staff have access to both internal and external learning opportunities.

The Importance of Training and Development

Employee development is sometimes disregarded in company, with management focusing their efforts on areas like as finance, marketing, operations, and even hiring. Employers must understand, however, that investing time and money in learning opportunities will help them retain personnel and persuade professionals to grow and improve their career development with the organisation.

According to studies, firms that invest heavily in employee training have a lower turnover rate than those who do not. Employers can save money on recruitment costs while simultaneously benefiting from a better-trained workforce, as specialists frequently value their professional development as much as the money they make.

So, what other benefits can you anticipate from introducing an employee training programme in your team?

Benefits of Providing Development Opportunities to Your Employees

At every level, an employee development strategy should be considered. If properly implemented, the plan can give numerous benefits to your employees, management, leadership, and the entire firm. This contains numerous other benefits, such as:

#1. Cost savings

Let us begin with the most significant benefit of a strong professional development programme for any professional organisation. It saves you money on multiple fronts: you avoid replacing people, have higher retention (which reduces costs), and have a more motivated staff with the specific expertise you need to provide to your clients.

#2. Improved competitive edge

Sure, you want to manage a successful firm. But you can’t accomplish it without top-tier staff. And there is fierce rivalry for elite IT personnel.

So consider it this way:

You’re not just vying for market share. You’re also competing for excellent talent, and a strong employee development programme can persuade them to select you over other companies.

What IT professionals desire is to work in an environment where management encourages them to improve their abilities and keep them competitive with their colleagues in other organisations through training programmes and other possibilities.

Attractive professional development programmes can become your biggest asset when hiring fresh personnel, giving your company a stronger competitive advantage.

#3. Lower staff turnover

Employee retention is improved with an employee development strategy. Not only are you not terminating individuals with lacking skill sets (but instead choose to expand their skill sets through training programmes), but those employees will stay with you longer because they can satisfy their development goals exactly where they are.

What if you spend a lot of money on employee training just to have those competent people leave? This is a real problem, in my opinion.

However, research has repeatedly shown that development opportunities minimise turnover and absenteeism while enhancing motivation and commitment.

#4. Greater employee involvement

A more engaged and motivated worker produces more. According to Dale Carnegie Institute research, a highly engaged staff can result in remarkable production gains of up to 202%!

It’s straightforward. When you invest in their professional development and training programmes, employees feel more appreciated. If they have a lot of learning chances at work, they’re more likely to be engaged and happy at work. As a result, such measures encourage employees to stay with the organisation for a longer period of time.

You know what software developers are like, right? Most people place a high emphasis on personal development and skill development. They’ll start looking for alternative opportunities as soon as they feel they’re not moving forward. And I don’t have to tell you how easy they’ll find new employment.

#5. Better handle unexpected situations

Today’s corporate climate is characterised by constant change. And although change presents issues (for the workforce), it also gives up previously unanticipated opportunities. As a result, it is critical for the workforce to be able to handle ever-changing conditions swiftly and effectively.

individuals with adaptable skills excel at improvising solutions, while individuals with less developed skills would simply accept the status quo.

One advantage of having a well-defined employee development programme is that it helps prepare people to deal with the unexpected.

#6. Improved company culture

Employee development programmes enhance retention, allowing you to create a strong corporate culture (rather than starting from zero every time a new employee joins your organisation).

Examples of Employee Development

Professional development opportunities do not have to be expensive or difficult to obtain. Several of the following suggestions can be simply adopted in your organisation to enhance organic learning and development.

However, don’t ignore the more expensive chances outside your office. While your staff can expand their skill set by using internal resources, every industry is full of exceptional minds who have something to contribute – give your personnel the opportunity to learn from them when possible.

#1. Create mentorship opportunities.

Access to industry experts and the opportunity to learn from them is a high priority among job candidates, particularly technical prospects. The fast-paced evolution of the tech business necessitates ongoing professional development, and working alongside subject matter experts organically integrates regular learning opportunities into the role.

Mentorship can occur within the office, where managers and executives mentor individual contributors, or businesses can consider developing a mentorship programme that extends outside the department or even the office. Seek for people that are naturally good mentors and desire to build lasting relationships. Don’t forget to thank them for their time and assistance.

#2. Provide opportunities for shadowing

The current field of an employee should not be the only focus of professional development. Create a shadowing programme that allows employees to follow the role of a colleague for a day, a week, or even months at a time to allow your team members to learn from one another. This encourages cross-departmental communication, increases teamwork, and strengthens employee connections.

When an employee loses interest in their profession, a shadowing programme can be extremely beneficial. Making it simple to pursue different career paths inside your organisation demonstrates that you regard your staff as individuals, not just employees, and enhances the likelihood of retaining a fantastic employee who simply needs a new passion.

#3. Organise lunch-and-learns

Plan lunch-and-learns where individuals can share information about their line of work, current advancements in their industry, and how their work affects other teams to promote knowledge transfer. You may also utilise the time to facilitate discussion on critical workplace subjects such as fostering inclusive team settings, moderated by an employee with expertise in this area.

#4. Implement a rotational programme

Employees can work on multiple projects across departments for a few weeks to a few months at a time through rotational programmes. It is especially useful for new employees as they get to know your firm. The programme assists new hires in understanding the various aspects of your business and getting to know their coworkers.

Proven Methods of Professional Development

Professional development opportunities can be made simple without requiring a significant investment of time and money. If your firm is serious about enhancing your team members’ skill sets, the suggestions below can be included in your employee development programmes.

#1. Mentoring

One of the most popular employee development activities included in an employee development plan is mentoring. The objective is to pair less experienced team members with those who have more years of expertise. This involves parking juniors among mid-level and senior developers, or even managers.

#2. Coaching

Coaching is more complicated than mentoring, yet it is just as vital for managers and the whole organisational culture. How does it function? You bring in a more experienced professional to provide advice and direction to a worker in order to help them develop new skills, advance their career, and enhance their performance.

As you can see, coaching must be completely personalised and tailored to specific career development and company objectives. Coaching sessions are often centred on one-on-one interactions over time.

#3. Individual development plans

This is an excellent approach for accelerating the learning process. An individual development plan (IDP) is a written document that outlines an employee’s aspirations, learning outcomes, and the assistance needed to achieve their growth objectives.

The most effective IDPs are founded on studies of adult learning processes, experiential learning, and other methods.

#4. Cross-training

Cross-training entails teaching individuals to perform duties that are not ordinarily assigned to their function. This cross-training can take numerous forms, including a temporary arrangement or an ad hoc repair. You can also make it a continuous and well-planned procedure.

However, don’t expect fast skill development from cross-trained staff. Consider it more of an experiment to see if the employee is interested in acquiring new skills and enhancing their performance.

#5. The 9-box grid

This is a useful employee assessment tool for determining their current and potential levels of contribution to your company.

In succession planning, the grid is frequently used to identify possible leaders. However, it is an excellent tool for visualising evaluation data, allowing managers to see their employees’ existing and projected performance. Grid insights can be used to create IDPs.

Common Employee Development Plan Challenges (and How to Overcome Them)

What’s not to like about an employee development plan? Employee development, like any other effort, has a variety of problems that you should be aware of:

  • Accountability – Does your company hold managers accountable for developing employees who report to them? Are they keeping track of your employees’ utilisation rates? This is a prevalent issue in many businesses.
  • Lack of talent development capabilities – few firms have the managerial capability to grow people in their jobs or provide feedback that encourages employee development. Have you got it?
  • Workers and business strategy are not aligned – Is your staff aligned with your business plan? If not, achieving this through employee development programmes will be more difficult.
  • Inconsistent execution – you most likely already have some fundamental procedures in place (such as workforce planning), but are you executing these programmes consistently?
  • Lack of analytics tools – Just like any other project, you must measure all relevant indicators (such as the efficacy of your personnel management programmes). How else can you determine whether your programmes are worthwhile?
  • Employee development requirements – not every employee in your firm will plan their development in the same way. Every employee development plan must include the particular requirements and future goals of your staff.

What is a Good Employee Development Plan?

A effective strategy encourages people to enhance their abilities, expand their knowledge, and gain confidence in their responsibilities. Support: The plan should contain sources of assistance that will assist staff in meeting their objectives.

What is the Role of HR in Employee Development?

HR is in charge of determining employee training requirements. They are also in charge of creating and designing training programmes. HR’s primary responsibility is to guarantee that workers have the necessary skills and knowledge to do their jobs. HR may help increase employee performance by giving such opportunities.

What are Employee Development Goals in a Company?

Employee development objectives are objectives that employees create for themselves. Setting development goals has the primary goal of advancing their career and improving their abilities and additional skills in the job.

How Can Your Manager Help You Develop and Grow?

Advancement in one’s career can take time. Encourage and urge your team members to keep going by recognising and praising their accomplishments. Managers, for example, could recognise their team members’ progress towards goals via regular one-on-one meetings.

Why Should HR Managers Focus on the Career Development of Employees?

Employee motivation and productivity rise with career development. Career development helps you attract top talent and keep valuable personnel. The Philosophy of Human Resource Management mandates supporting employee career development and progress.


Companies must constantly innovate and evolve to stay on the cutting edge of any business, which includes assisting their staff in their professional development. This article has effectively covered everything you need to know about employee development.


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