May 11, 2021

A Practical Guide to Creating an Employee Development Program

Sam Caucci

employee development program

Before hiring a new employee, managers should have a thoughtful employee development program ready to go. Want to find out how to create that program? Keep reading to find out the keys to gamifying the learning experience to achieve optimal results:

What is an employee development program and why does it matter?

Employee development programs offer ways to improve an individual employee’s skills over an extended time. By offering these programs you can boost employee engagement, longevity, and productivity. These programs are usually rolled out by the human resources department, but with the help of 1Huddle, managers can develop and roll out an employee development program in just minutes. Keep reading to find out how below!

How is employee development different from training?

You might be wondering: aren’t training and employee development the same thing? While the two might have some similarities, they refer to different processes.

Training is a learning process where employees get the opportunity to develop a specific skill, proficiency and knowledge required to perform a certain job. This means training is focused on a specific job and is meant to improve the performance of a worker in the short term. 

On the other hand, employee development is concerned with the overall professional growth of the employee. Development programs take on a more extensive approach than training does. Its goal is to prepare your employees for challenges and opportunities in the future. 

Why is employee development important?

In today’s landscape, business needs are constantly changing and evolving. Each day we make more advances in technology, and paired with an ever-increasing and competitive job market, many skills become outdated as soon as they are learned. 

In order to battle obsoletion, companies need to invest in long term employee development instead of skills training. Instead of individualized and specific skill set training, you will need to develop skills of collaboration across departments. Doing so will pay your organization back in dividends.

How to Create an Employee Development Program

An employee development plan shouldn’t be developed on the fly. 

Taking the time to design a program that is well thought out can help provide your employees with career advancement opportunities and a clear path to increase their skills. 

There must be an overarching plan for proper development to occur. It’s your job to create the template for these plans that will put your resources to good use. The following steps will help you design your own development plan.

1. Consider your own business goals. 

Before you start to set objectives for your employees’ development, you should understand what your needs as a business are first. Take into account both your long term and short term business objectives. Once you identify these objectives, you can move onto identifying the skills and knowledge you want your employees to have in order to support those objectives.

2. Talk with your employees.

You shouldn’t assume that you know what each one of your employee’s competencies are. Competencies refer to groups of abilities, behaviors, knowledge and skills that impact the success of employees and organizations (eg. Customer service and leadership skills). Once you have analyzed the competencies you want to foster in your organization, it will help you set clear paths to achieve those competencies.

You should also take this opportunity to figure out what their own career goals are. When you have an open conversation with your employees you can offer them opportunities that align with those goals.

3. Conduct a gap analysis. 

A gap analysis helps you recognize your employees’ potential versus their differences. Keep in mind the “gap” or difference between potential and readiness. Gap analysis shows where your employees are at today versus where you want them to be. This can help you in your planning process. 

4. Think about all types of training and development.

Your employee development program isn’t one-size-fits-all and it can take many different forms. You can implement online courses, formal lectures or use video. You can also employ mentoring and coaching, employee-to-employee learning or encourage your employees to join local industry groups. 

5. Implement a plan for before, during, and after the program.

It’s important to have goals with deadlines so that you can see progress in a timely manner. Identify what preparations must be conducted before implementation of the program, and if any barriers need to be removed for success. Once the plan is ready, you can help your employees apply their new skills in the workplace. Create opportunities where your employees are able to use the skills that they learned and get needed feedback. This helps reinforce the things they have learned. 

Are there any shortcomings of an employee development program?

Employee development programs are a great way to be proactive about the long term success of your organization. But one major shortcoming is that after you have developed your own, it can become static, start to age out and become obsolete. 

Plus, it might be impossible to coordinate efforts to organize time for employees to actually participate in the development program, as everyone is usually running on different schedules. The introduction of a developmental program might be more disruptive than its worth.

The challenge lies in finding a program that is flexible enough to work with everybody’s schedules while at the same time providing the same amount of value for every employee. And the solution to this challenge lies in implementing training using the latest technology. 

How can 1Huddle Help?

Gamified training applications like 1Huddle help you achieve quantifiable results in half the time of any traditional method of developmental training. All an employer needs to do is set up their game, and forget it. Every single one of their employees is able to access their training modules anywhere and anytime they have a spare moment. 

1Huddle is at the cutting edge of employee development and training software. If you’re looking for a comprehensive cloud-based learning software you can easily implement at your organization, then start your free trial of 1Huddle today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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