The key to winning the war on talent is fostering a culture that values internal growth. Opportunities for advancement and professional development rank high in surveys – not only will this type of investment help engage the employee, it will drive production for the employer.
In a 2021 Gallup poll, as shared in an article from SHRM, “66 percent of workers ages 18-24 ranked learning new skills as the third-most important perk when evaluating new job opportunities, behind only health insurance and disability benefits.”
Not only are employees looking to develop skills that will open up opportunities for advancement, but they are also seeking the skills needed to help them learn and adopt new technologies so that they can continue to work in a more technology-focused world.
Before creating new training programs, however, SHRM shares that “In addition to surveying employees about their training interests, employers should interview managers to find out what skills their teams lack and learn how the organization can better support its managers. Asking the right questions can also help pinpoint who needs a certain type of training and who doesn't.”
Once a manager determines the skills needed and develops a set of goals for their team, they will need to develop a plan of action to help coach that employee to meet the designated milestones.
An Individual Development Plan is a great way to provide direction and purpose, which can help employees stay motivated and engaged.
An Individual Development Plan, or IDP, is an action-oriented plan to guide employees on their career and development path. An IDP is different from a Performance Improvement Plan, or PIP, which is a more formal document that outlines what a team member needs to do to bring their performance up to an acceptable standard.
An IDP focuses more on career goals and is a proactive plan that helps Team Members to achieve their developmental aspirations.
The first step is to explore the team member’s career goals and aspirations.
Identifying strengths and talents can help you determine how you can best leverage those assets, and can help the employee stay positive and confident.
When establishing professional or career goals, the team member should think about how this aligns with their values. Every goal should have some level of intrinsic motivation built into it, so identifying what we enjoy and want to pursue is going to help ensure the presence of intrinsic motivation.
The next step is determining the skills needed to achieve the goals. A manager or mentor can help the employee develop a list of these and may have additional insight into different roles that could be a good fit to help them along this journey.
Knowing these goals will help you as a manager, to advocate for the team member, share encouragement and positive reinforcement, and identify different development/training opportunities as they arise.
Once an employee determines their career goals and areas of opportunity for skill development to achieve those goals, you can work together to develop a plan – are there training programs internally or externally? Is there someone who can serve as a mentor?
Establish specific milestones, steps and actions that have dates or deadlines and metrics to track.
Having specific and measurable action plans with a deadline will help the employee to remain focused and motivated, and will serve as a guide for the manager to us in coaching the employee throughout the process.
The IDP does not need to be a permanent plan – it can be agile and adjust as the employee develops – the IDP and goals can be updated as necessary. In fact, a good development plan is one that is constantly revisited and updated as career goals are met and aspirations change.
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