Employee Development Plan: How to Create + Types, Examples & Templates

Employees are the most valuable asset for any business, regardless of size, industry, or location. They are the force driving your company towards success or failure.

Therefore, to not just attract top talent but also retain them in the long run, you must invest in their development. These plans, when implemented effectively, enhance their skills and productivity, directly contributing to your organization's overall growth and success.

At first sight, providing them with some training seems a straightforward solution to address this challenge. However, the reality is quite different.

How you decide to develop your workforce impacts the employees’ satisfaction and determines the competitiveness of your business.

Read next and learn meaningful ways to encourage the growth of your staff and business.


  1. What is an employee development plan?
  2. How do you create an efficient employee development plan?
  3. Types of Employee Development Plans, Examples + Templates
  4. Why is employee development important?
  5. Building a culture of employee development
  6. FAQs


1. What is an employee development plan?

An employee development plan is a collaborative process between an individual and their employer. It details current competencies and the need to acquire new ones to meet personal career goals. This plan not only supports the company’s objectives but also fosters personal growth and satisfaction.

The individual development plan is a list of actionable steps an employee takes to develop their knowledge and improve skills for current and future roles in the company.

As a manager, your role is crucial in investing time, energy, and financial resources in ongoing employee education. Your strategic investments in learning new skills will pay off over the long term, helping your business identify and fill the gaps and reap the rewards of employees’ work.


2. How do you create an efficient employee development plan?

Deciding your goal is the first step to creating a well-designed employee development plan. Once you know your destination, you can start thinking about ways to reach it.

An efficient employee development plan must cover the three following aspects:

  • Challenge: An engaging plan helps employees gain new skills, improve their expertise, and refine competencies;
  • Support: The development plan should specify the available resources to achieve goals. The most popular options include on-the-job training, mentorship, shadowing, conferences, classes, etc.
  • Assessment: A successful plan establishes clear indicators to measure progress and success, such as deadlines, milestones, and deliverables.

The main steps to create an excellent employee development plan from inception to reporting.

Step 1. Consider your business goals

Before deciding how, you must know why you want to implement an employee development plan. Get a clear image of your company’s long-term objectives and identify individual skills and competencies required to meet these goals.

Implementing an employee development plan now saves you money on locating, recruiting, onboarding, and training new hires.

Step 2. Perform a skills gap analysis

Once you have identified your business objectives, you must perform a skill gap assessment to highlight the areas of improvement in your workforce.

A thorough training needs analysis helps you determine the missing or underdeveloped skills and the employees who need the training most. Thus, you create a bridge between current and future skill sets and contribute to your workforce retention and satisfaction.

Step 3. Assess employee’s personal and career goals

Having casual conversations with your workers doesn't mean you know their skill levels and professional growth aspirations.

You shouldn’t wait for the performance review period for an honest conversation with your employees about their daily challenges and future goals. Conduct frequent one-on-one meetings and encourage your team members to evaluate their activity.

Step 4. Distinguish potential from preparedness

While all employees may have the potential to grow, only some are ready to progress. You must focus initially on the individuals eager to learn and grow. Support them in consolidating their skill set and investing in management and leadership training.

When crafting the individual development plan, you must consider the employee’s abilities and readiness to move to an upper level.

Use tools like the 9 box grid to identify potential in your business.

Step 5. Provide a wide range of training and methods to deliver them

Once you have a clear image of the organization’s objectives, you must establish a path for your employees to acquire the skills to achieve them.

An engaging and meaningful individual development plan doesn’t have to be expensive.

While some methods are costly and available only to a few, others are more accessible and equally efficient: working with an expert, shadowing, coaching & mentoring, eLearning platforms, and on-the-job training are just some training methods that support your employee's development plan.

Related article: What Are Soft Skills at Work? (10 Examples Included)

Step 6. Create and use employee development plan templates

The final step to creating an efficient employee development plan is to use a standardized template to ease your job.

While there is no one-size-fits-all template, you can find various examples to choose from. You can tailor them to your needs.


3. Types of Employee Development Plans, Examples + Templates

In our ever-evolving professional landscape, one thing remains constant: the impact of a happy workforce on your business. Investing in employees’ continuous learning and career growth demonstrates your commitment and builds a highly adaptable workforce that guarantees your company's success.

Many types of employee development plans, from a basic skill-based wireframe to more complex development examples.

a. Basic employee development plan

The best way to kickstart the implementation of this program is to keep it simple in the beginning.

While not overly specialized, a basic employee development plan clearly outlines concrete actions for you and your workforce. This goal-based development plan helps employees set and achieve their OKRs.

Basic Employee Development Plan

Name of the employee:




Job title:


Current strengths:


Areas of improvement:


Professional goals:


Step 1:

Actionable steps to achieve it/ Deadline

Step 2:

Actionable steps to achieve it/ Deadline

Step 3:

Actionable steps to achieve it/ Deadline

Step 4:

Actionable steps to achieve it/ Deadline


b. Skill-based employee development plan

This approach is a more strategic tool that focuses on the individual’s skill set and areas of improvement.

The skill-based employee development plan helps you identify skill gaps and mismatches, assess talent, and connect current training needs to Learning and development opportunities.

Skill-based Employee Development Plan

Name of the employee:

Timeframe: 12 months

Manager: What is your 12-month career goal?

Employee: Become a Senior Expert in Internal Communication

Skills gap

What skills do you need to reach this goal?

Actionable steps

What actions are you going to take to address the gaps?


How long will it take to complete this?

Leadership skills - to strengthen current abilities or gain new ones to improve my people management skills

  1. Attend leadership training
  2. Work with a mentor

8 months

Digital skills - gain additional digital skills to increase my knowledge and efficiency in managing daily tasks

  1. Attend face-to-face or online Excel courses
  2. Partner with a digital expert and learn new Excel functionalities

6 months

Enhance communication skills - become a better communicator, both in terms of public speaking and written communication

  1. Enroll in a public speaking workshop
  2. Complete a business writing skills improvement training

6 months


c. Succession development plan

This approach describes the process of identifying future staffing requirements and potential successors to meet these needs.

The succession development plan helps employees progress to an upper-level position in alignment with your organization's mission and goals.

Succession Development Plan

Name of the employee:


Current Position

Future position

Goals to achieve

L & D needs


Accounts Payable Manager

Sales Manager

  1. Improve the sales process efficiency
  2. Breaking into new markets
  3. Implement new sales technologies
  • Attend sales forecasting training
  • Graduate from a Sales Growths Certificate Program
  • Complete a course regarding the transition to management for salespeople

12 months


d. Self-evaluation development plan

The self-evaluation process is a significant phase of the employee’s performance review as it highlights both the excellence and growth areas.

Proper and regular self-evaluations help individuals reflect and increase their accountability, while managers understand the current status and learn about employee’s professional goals.


4. Why is employee development important?

To stay on top of the industry, you must rely on professionals always up-to-date with new technological advancements.

By investing in their development, you equip your human capital with the skillset to thrive while keeping the business ahead of the competition.

Here are more arguments to invest in your employee development plan.

For employees

Increased motivation & engagement

Employee engagement and professional development go hand in hand. When you invest resources in your workforce’s development plan, employees feel valued and learn their contribution fits into the bigger picture.

An engaged and motivated workforce is highly productive and more creative, resulting in better outcomes for your business.

Career growth

Most employees want to perform their jobs efficiently. Supporting career growth and development is crucial, especially for the new generations.

Well-trained employees perform at higher levels, get better results, and boost your company’s bottom line.

Better control of unexpected circumstances

In today’s constantly changing work environment, employees must handle challenging circumstances quickly and efficiently.

Skilled employees are more adaptable and can find innovative solutions to unexpected situations.

For organizations

Career mobility

When you have a job opening, the first and best place to look for a candidate should be among your current employees. Internal career mobility is an excellent opportunity for an employee to grow, vertically or laterally, while the company saves money with external recruiting and hiring processes.

A continuous development plan provides you with an upskilled workforce ready to step up.

Employee retention

Having a professional development plan helps you not only to attract top candidates but also retain your stellar employees. If you don’t provide your staff with modern Learning & Development opportunities, they will lose motivation and start looking for greener grass.

Improve your retention rates by implementing an e-learning solution or internal mentoring and coaching program and encourage employees to invest in their growth.

Higher revenue and profitability

Investing money in your employees’ upskilling pays off in spades. A professional development plan impacts numerous areas, from employee engagement and productivity to attraction and retention.

When employees work less for higher-quality outputs, your company saves money and becomes more efficient. Simultaneously, the development plan creates and maintains a strong talent pipeline for future roles that helps you avoid spending money on hiring and onboarding external candidates.

Building a culture of employee development

If you want your company to be successful, you must make employee development plans a crucial part of your company culture.
When learning and development intertwine with daily activities, you empower your employees to control their growth while supporting others.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is career development important?

Employee development plans are highly important nowadays when everything changes rapidly. Companies need a skilled, creative, and engaged workforce if they want to remain top employers in the labor market and enjoy better business outcomes.

What aspects should a professional development plan cover?

To be efficient, a professional development plan must include:

  • the company’s overall objective;
  • employee’s short- and long-term career goals;
  • current strengths;
  • areas of improvement;
  • actionable steps;
  • deadline.

What development metrics can you track?

There are several business metrics you can track to demonstrate the efficiency of your development plan, including:

  • Employee performance;
  • Employee engagement rates;
  • Employee attraction and retention rates;
  • Internal mobility rates;
  • Learning and development program participation rates.

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