Employee Development [2023 Complete Guide]

November 10, 2021
8 Min Read
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Manoj Jadhav

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Employee development is an essential aspect of any workplace. It does not matter if you are a small business owner with 10 employees or the head of a Fortune 500 company, it's always beneficial to find ways to improve your staff and keep them at their best. Here, we will discuss what employee development is and why it matters. We'll also cover different aspects of employee development such as an employee development plan, employee development programs, employee development goals, areas of development for employees and more!

What is employee development?

Employee development is the process of increasing employees' knowledge, skills and ability to perform their job. It's often associated with professional employee training or learning new things on your own time. The aim should be to help an employee become more effective in their current role and prepare them for future roles within a company.

Why is employee development important to workers?

You may be wondering why employee development is important. The main reason that employee development is so critical is that it allows workers of all skill levels an opportunity to learn new things and develop new skills! According to a Corn Ferry survey, this is good because a whopping 33% of employees leave their jobs for new ones because they say they aren’t challenged enough. That surprising statistic really brings home the need for employee training and other incentives.

Employees benefit from this because they get to learn something that might be outside of their usual scope. Managers also benefit, especially if they are looking at employees for future opportunities within the company or even in another department.

Why does employee development matter to businesses?

You wouldn’t want to be put in the dark and not watered if you are a plant, right? Then you wouldn’t develop and aren't much more than a mushroom (if you don't wither away altogether!). That's no fun, and employee development is a lot like that plant, but with human workers in the place of plants. 

Businesses have to nurture their workers and allow their professional growth, just like you when you water that plant. Of course, employee development is the way to do it in real life!

But enough about plant analogies, right? You're here for the good stuff. The following lists some concrete reasons why employee development is an integral part of your business's success:

  • They increase employee retention: The bad news is that competition is fiercer, and there is a talent shortage that is only expected to get larger, reports CIO.com. The good news is that when you give workers opportunities to grow and learn, they are more likely to stay with your company. The reason for this is that people like feeling needed! If you allow them to develop their skills and use what new things they've learned, it makes them more valuable and an asset to your company.
  • They increase employee performance: You want the best of the best working for you! The only way to get there is through employee development so all of your employees can perform at their highest ability. That's sure a lot easier than firing everyone who isn't performing well enough or hiring new people all the time.
  • They increase employee loyalty: When you develop your employees, they will become more loyal to your company and want to be there, even if it means changing roles or moving up within their role! And when workers feel like they are growing as professionals, they love where that growth takes them, especially if it's with your company.
  • They increase company image: With a successful employee development plan, your business will gain respect and recognition for helping workers grow and develop in their roles and outside of them. This means that others will start to see you as the go-to place for finding new talent because they know you can help people cultivate themselves professionally!

Pros & cons of employee development

We've all read horror stories about businesses that have failed because they didn't develop their employees, so this is why it's important to know both sides of employee development.

Additionally, there are so many benefits to having a well-developed and healthy company culture, but there is also the other side of that coin. Sometimes when things get rough, you might need to cut back on some aspects or even let some highly talented workers go for your business to survive. Here are a few more important ones to consider:


  • Higher employee morale: When you allow your workers some professional growth and learning opportunities, it shows them how much you care! Employees want to feel valued, and one of the best ways to do that is by giving them development opportunities.
  • Higher employee engagement: When employees are engaged in company goals as well as their own work, they will better enjoy their job, which means lower turnover rates! This could be through professional training or even skill-building on your own time. Either way, good employee engagement helps worker performance and overall morale.
  • Higher employee retention: Employee retention is related closely to career development, so when workers are allowed to develop their skills through learning or training opportunities in order to grow in the company, they will feel valued, which fortunately means that you won't have them leaving anytime soon! Good career development plans are especially important when your business is experiencing growth because you don't want to lose all of your talented workers.
  • Higher company success: A successful business is one that invests in its employees! Those businesses who have invested the most into developing their people are often the ones with higher profits and revenue generation, so it's definitely a path you want to take if success means something to you.


  • Higher costs: When you invest in your employees and their development, it means that there will be more costs associated with running the business. You might have to pay for training courses or certifications as well as software/hardware upgrades, which can all add up!
  • Lower productivity: When workers are allowed time off of work (especially during work hours) to focus on their own development, they may not be as productive, affecting your company's bottom line. This is especially important if you have a small business where one or two people's productivity can make the difference in meeting revenue goals for the month/quarter/year!
  • Lower company revenue: One of the biggest dangers businesses face when they allow their workers to develop is a loss of revenue. When workers are allowed time away from work, it could mean that they aren't as productive during the hours they do have and therefore affect your company's bottom line, leading to lower profits throughout the year!
  • Employee burnout: Professional development is always good. Unfortunately, when you allow your people to focus on their own professional development, it can come at the expense of company productivity. This means that they may be working more hours to make up for lost time, which could result in worker burnout, which is never a good thing!

Now that you know enough to make an informed decision, let's go into the different types of employee development: The employee development plan, employee development programs, employee development goals and areas of development for employees.

What is an employee development plan?

When managers want something specific from their workers, they put together an employee development plan. This plan includes things such as what the company wants to accomplish, what the employees should be doing to help meet those goals and how much time will be allowed for each task.

It is also a formal document that outlines the employee development goals, who will be responsible for them, and when they should be completed. It's best to have an annual plan so you can stay on top of things throughout the year!

Why have an employee development plan?

Managers use employee development plans to communicate with their workers about where they want their business or department headed and what they expect from them to get there!

Having an employee development plan will allow you to take stock of your workers and see where they are lacking as well as what skills you want them to have for your business to succeed. In addition, this is a great way to communicate with workers about the direction of the company so that both parties know their roles!

What are some different aspects of an employee development plan?

Employee development plans have a set of career goals and an outline that includes how to meet those goals. Varying aspects of them can include:

  • A list of the development activities that will help you reach your goal(s) 
  • The exact dates on which each activity will occur
  • Resources needed for the activities (people, funding, tools, etc.)
  • How you plan to measure your progress, success or failure toward your goals

What is an employee development program? 

Employee development programs are all activities that help workers reach their individual development goals. Some examples of employee development programs include mentoring, coaching and job rotation. 

What is the purpose of employee development programs?

The main purpose of an employee development program is to help employees improve their skills and abilities so that they can be more valuable at work. For example, this could mean developing a worker's leadership ability by implementing management training, or it could mean teaching someone who hasn't used certain software packages how to do so in order to make them more valuable in their current role.

Why have employee development programs?

Employee development programs are an excellent way for managers and workers alike to explore new skills that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to use! It's also a good way for companies to invest in developing long-term talent and good employee development opportunities instead of only relying on the same well-rounded people.

What are some different aspects of an employee development program? 

The main parts of any employee development program include setting goals for employees, identifying which activities they will do to meet those goals, and following up with them on their progress! A good plan should also have a way to measure how successful the programs were and what lessons were learned.

What are employee development goals? 

Employee development goals are exactly as they sound: Something that employees set out to accomplish during a specific time frame, such as a new skill they want to learn or the number of days in a row they will go without smoking! The goal can be anything, and anybody that sets it is the person who will have to accomplish it.

Why have employee development goals?

If you are an employee development manager, bear in mind, that employee development goals are a great way for employees to track their progress, and they may also provide some healthy competition between workers! It's also a good idea because then managers can see if people are meeting those goals or not, which allows them to make adjustments if needed.

What are some different aspects of employee development goals? 

The main parts that go into setting an employee development goal include: Identifying what the goal is (be specific!), when it should be completed and how you will measure success or failure! It's also a good idea to give employees some time to prepare for their goals, so they can be ready to meet them when the time comes!

What is an area of employee development? 

An area of employee development refers to a skill or set of skills that employees can improve on. It's usually something specific like communication, decision-making, management abilities and more! One example could be "communication," which could be broken down into skills such as public speaking, listening, etc.

Why have areas of employee development? 

Employee development areas present a good learning opportunity and are great ways for employees to get specific feedback on what they need to improve and then work toward that improvement! Having an area of development also allows managers and other workers to give more constructive criticism because it is more specific than just saying, "You need to work on your communication skills," which isn't really helpful.

What are some different aspects of an area of employee development? 

The main aspects that go into setting up areas for employees include: Identifying what the area is (be specific!), who it would be beneficial for, how often the goal should be met and how it will be measured! It's also a good idea to give employees some time to prepare for their goals, so they can be ready to meet them when the time comes.

Other ways you can encourage employee development 

Nearly 59% of workers say they had no workplace training and that the skills they’ve developed to do their job were self-taught. That’s simply not fair in general, much less if you are a business that wants to earn a good reputation and stay competitive. 

Fortunately, there are ways to promote employee development and employee engagement in your organization. They include giving employees opportunities to be involved in employee development training and career development programs, providing them with things like books or online courses that will help them grow personally and professionally, offering rewards for meeting specific goals such as bonuses, etc. Of course, it's also a good idea to encourage managers to participate in these types of activities too! 

Key takeaways 

Employee development is important because it provides continuous learning opportunities and helps employees develop themselves and become better-rounded. It's also a good investment for companies who want to save money down the road by investing in their current talent instead of just hiring new people all the time! Employee development isn't always easy, but it can be done if you set goals, create programs, follow through and be patient! 

If you like this article and want to learn about related topics, be sure to check out the link below!

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