An employee development plan is a way of stating the employees’ career goals and align them with the company. In this manner, the employer can find out about their employees’ expectations and help them reach their objectives and develop.

DOs in developing a career plan

  • Open communication: the employee should be upfront about his/her expectations and how they envision their growth in the company and the employer should be honest in return and explain whether the plan realistically meets the business strategy.
  • Establishing medium and long term objectives: the employee should come prepared with his/her perspective for growth in the following year/ five-year period, or other timeframe agreed with the employer.
  • Resources and feedback: it should be clear from the beginning what resources the employer would need to provide in order for the employee to achieve great performance in their career goals.
  • Flexibility: both the employee and the employer should be ready to revise the development plan given changing circumstances, particularly when the goals extend over a long period of time. If the resources negotiated at the beginning exceed the expectations, a revision may be warranted to see whether it is worth the investment or the career goal should be changed.
  • Reviewing: the final draft of the career plan should be handed in to the Human Resources Department which is in charge of supervising it and would offer input and revision along the way.

DON’Ts in developing a career plan

  • No guarantees: the employer should make all efforts to support the employees in the success of their development plan, but forming a contract from the beginning with promised benefits should be avoided. Therefore, there should be no specified timeline for bonuses, promotions and other benefits as business goals should be the priority for the employer.
  • Avoiding over-commitment: the support offered by the employer should be clear and limited in scope, and the allocated resources should be restricted as to meet company objectives.
  • Ownership: although the employers is encouraged to participate in forming career plans for their employees, the development plan belongs to the latter, who need to invest their own time and resources to reach their goals.

The success of an employee development plan depends on a fine balance between setting clear and attainable career goals by the employee and convincing the employer to invest their own resources into its achievement. If handed correctly, the career plan is a win-win for both employees who grow both personally and professionally, and the employers, who benefit from this growth in order to increase their own productivity.