Employee Development

How to create a growth plan for employees

Here are 7 steps to building an employee growth plan.

Adela Belin

Published on 

November 15, 2022

Updated on 

Time to Read

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Having competent, skilful, and productive employees is the dream of every company. However, such excellent self-qualities won’t develop overnight. 

To build an organization where every employee has a growth mindset, continually learns and hones existing skills, and drive the business forward, they need an employee growth plan.

According to LinkedIn, 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if they had opportunities to learn and improve. Moreover, not only is it great for retention, an employee growth plan can support recruiting initiatives as many employees site learning opportunities as a key reason to join a company.

This article will help HR managers create an effective growth plan for their employees. Before delving into the main discussions, let’s get to know the basics first!

What is an employee growth plan?

An employee growth plan is a guide consisting of an actionable list of skills, steps, or other actions provided by companies to support employees' continued growth and development within a company. An employee growth plan typically includes the following:

  • Individual learning approach: employees' preferable way of learning;
  • A list of skills and competencies that employees need for current or future roles;
  • Training and educational courses that support employee upskilling; and 
  • A timeline to show employees' growth and goals.

An employee growth plan makes it easy for employees to track their progress toward their individual career development goals. They also have the chance to develop new skills to prepare for new positions and responsibilities.

An employee growth plan may include short and long-term goals. Upon employees completing the plan, companies can give them appreciation in the form of certifications or promotions.

Why does an employee growth plan matter?

Providing an employee growth plan will always be a win-win. Employees have the privilege of growing their capabilities and skills, while companies can get better employee retention and attract job seekers to land applications.

A survey reveals that 19% of job seekers expect new career opportunities or promotions when looking for a new role. The underlying reasons are in line with the purpose of an employee growth plan.

All in all, HR managers should consider an employee growth plan as a beneficial strategy because of the following benefits:

  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Improve employee motivation and performance
  • Support talented and well-performing employees
  • Attract high-quality applicants 
  • Boost company profitability and efficiency

How to create an employee growth plan

Creating an employee growth plan may be daunting for the first time. HR managers must identify and analyze elements such as current roles, skills, goals, and individual learning approaches.

Below we’ve pieced together seven practical steps to develop an employee growth plan that HR managers should pay attention to. Let’s get into the details!

1. Start with a training needs analysis (TNA)

HR managers who attempt to create an employee growth plan should run a Training Needs Analysis (TNA). It helps them identify and choose potential employees to be promoted to new roles.

TNA also helps them set training programs accurately. With a comprehensive TNA, HR managers can decide the most suitable employee growth plan for employees according to their needs and potential. Below are some steps to conduct a TNA.

  • Determine TNA goals. Your TNA must include specific skills or expertise that employees must achieve. It can be technical skills like analyzing digital data. 
  • Identify cost analysis. Make a structured cost analysis for the entire employee development program. It may include fees for training, online classes, invited guests, and more.
  • Select candidates or potential employees to nurture. HR managers should be able to identify high-potential employees who would benefit from a tailored growth plan. They can look into employees' KPIs reports and ask team leaders about their subordinates.
  • Identify and choose new skills to learn. HR managers should analyze employees' tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). According to their KSA analysis, HR managers can set what skills and competencies to improve.
  • Examine and assess participants' skill levels. HR managers can see employees' KPIs to know their skills. They also can ask for additional information from the team leaders or heads of departments. 
  • Choose experts related to target skills. HR managers must decide on experts for guest training programs. They can be experienced seniors or experts from other organizations.
  • Design and set a timeline for training. After deciding on potential employees, costs, training programs, and experts, the next step is creating a training timeline. The timeline must include the training period
  • Review TNA and draw results. You must be able to draw results from your TNA. Write a report about your job and high-potential analysis by reviewing the work you’ve done thus far. 

HR managers can adequately identify and notice gaps in employees' performance and knowledge. KPIs and additional information from superiors are important to detect gaps and deciding targeted training plans.

2. Identify Skill Development Focus Areas and Goals

After collecting the results from the TNA, the next step is to identify focus areas and goals for the selected skills. Analyzing focus areas and goals allows HR managers to decide on priority areas and develop learning pathways.

For example, branching between hard and soft skills that employees need to achieve for particular roles. Both are crucial as hard skills will define employees' capabilities to do their job, while soft skills will shape the way they think, react, and solve potential problems.

As employees progress in their careers, it’s more common to focus on improving human-centred skills, such as analysis skills, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. Employees need to have excellent qualities in these areas as they take on leadership roles.

3. Develop an Action Plan

Each employee has a different skill level and learning capabilities. HR managers may need personalized action plans for selected employees they want to nurture. It may sound like a lot of work, but there’s a rule of thumb to follow.

HR managers should employ the 70/20/10 rule in developing an action plan. The rule encourages them to make 70% of the learning come from internal work experience, 20% from colleagues, and 10% from training.

As internal work experience plays the most significant role in developing an action plan, HR managers can set additional responsibilities for the selected employees. They can ask them to make reports, interact with clients, track the team’s performance, assist the team leader, be a department representative in a company meeting, and so on.

Meanwhile, HR managers can work with the head of departments to help the selected employees adjust and have good connections with their colleagues. They can make employees work as a team or take care of cross-department tasks.

5. Gain Stakeholder Support

Gaining stakeholder support is key to running and succeeding in your program. Stakeholders are vital parties in a company. As experienced people, stakeholders can help to decide the most suitable programs and funding.

HR managers should be able to convince stakeholders that they've selected the right potential employees and developed appropriate programs for them. They can hand out the TNA reports and comprehensive planning of the employees' development plan.

HR managers should be able to convince stakeholders that they've selected the right potential employees and developed appropriate programs for them. They can hand out the TNA reports and a comprehensive proposal of the employee's development plan.

Stakeholder acceptance and support help HR managers provide professional training to the selected employees. Therefore, having a comprehensive report to explain the reasons behind their decisions is a task that HR managers must execute excellently.

6. Check-in Regularly

Regular check-in with employees is a way to maintain a relationship between HR managers and employees. It doesn't mean HR managers must contact employees daily, as it can be disturbing. As stated before, you can get in touch with employees weekly or monthly.

Weekly check-in to ask about their progress and condition at work is enough to maintain a good flow of communication. HR managers can also ask for feedback or new ideas to create a better environment for the company.

HR managers can do the check-in directly or through a chat app more conveniently and flexibly. They can also do a weekly mentor meeting to engage in employment and encourage them to participate in a company discussion and provide feedback on their mentorship.

7. Track and Measure Progress 

Another crucial step is monitoring the employee growth plan. Tracking and measuring employees' progress is necessary to see their performances. 

  • Are they showing progress? 
  • Do they have difficulties? 
  • Do they fulfil their targets? 

HR managers should make evaluation points to define success and failure. For example, setting new KPIs according to their new tasks and responsibilities. Setting new KPIs requires the leaders to ensure the targets are realistic.

HR managers should be able to spot problems and make the most appropriate solution for employees. If the selected employees don't progress as expected, HR managers should identify the causes, whether the goals are too high, inadequate tools, or incapable employees.

Tracking and measuring employees' progress is vital for HR managers, especially if they want to promote certain employees to higher positions. They can monitor and measure employees’ progress weekly or monthly.

Final thoughts

Creating an effective employee growth plan is a not-so-easy task to undertake. HR managers should pay attention to many elements, from employees, team leaders, trainers, and stakeholders.

The above points can help them overcome the workload better, resulting in an effective employee growth plan. As the people behind the curtain, HR managers deserve a big applause for building skilled and impactful employees in a company.

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