How to Write Individual Development Plan for Employees: Tips, Benefits, Challenges

How to Write Individual Development Plan for Employees: Tips, Benefits, Challenges
  1. What Is Employee Career Development Plan?
  2. Employee Development Plan Goals
  3. Key Benefits of Employee Growth Plan
  4. Issues to Avoid in Career Development Planning
  5. Ways on Creating an Employee Development Plan

The current situation on the labor market promotes companies that focus on employee development and providing individual career paths in their strategy. But how to make a growth plan for an employee? The key elements of creating a career development plan are to provide employees with the opportunity to gain new experience and focus on long-term employment.

It also facilitates both vertical and horizontal job changes. Experience shows that the implementation of such rules allows not only to retain employees, but also facilitates the recruitment process, improves the efficiency and growth of employees, and increases their job satisfaction.

64% of staff across the world completed the survey. That’s up 9% from the year before. According to the Gallup engagement survey - main problems at the companies are (photo was taken at hrexchangenetwork):

  1. Surveys

  2. Social Platforms

  3. Career Pathing

Today, we will speak about career pathing and how to create a career development plan in your organization. This article will be useful for HR managers, project managers, and CEOs.

We want to show you why the career development plan is very important in the example of Brainy HR employees. Anna came to our company about 1.5 years ago, and we decided to try to make a development plan for her. Why did we come up with this idea?

  • Anna did not have much work experience;

  • she had good potential, Anna wants to develop herself;

  • she had a lot of ideas;

So, we decided that she looks like A player, and prepare a Career Development Plan, let’s see the example:

brainyhr development plan

After 1 year, we conduct a meeting to discuss Annas’ work and prepare analysis, work engagement, and personal development scale that was made by the Gallup Q12 engagement method.

brainyhr employee development plan

So, let’s sum up, Individual development plan plays a very important role nowadays, with it, you can raise A players. They will increase the productivity of your company, and go for incentives to work. Usually, HR managers don’t know how to write an individual development plan for employees, let’s discuss the main benefits and challenges.

How to develop employees' potential, their competences, and motivation? It is enough to create an effective plan of professional development of staff and develop a scheme for the implementation of career paths in the company. Therefore, development activities are not only about building loyalty among employees and caring for unique human capital, but also about making the business more dynamic. So how do you go about planning career paths for your employees and what is a career development plan?

An enterprise is a system of dynamically cooperating workplaces with specific competency requirements, which should be characteristic of their employees. Every person is different, has a diverse range of skills, experience, qualifications, unfortunately, there is no one universal model according to which HR managers of different organizations can use it.

However, it is possible to design development programs for people in positions with a similar scope of responsibility and to select appropriate tools to support individual development on a given career path.

Easy steps to create a career development plan

  1. What Is Employee Career Development Plan?

  2. Employee Development Plan Goals

  3. Key Benefits of Employee Growth Plan

  4. Issues to Avoid in Career Development Planning

  5. 5 Ways on Creating an Employee Development Plan

What Is Employee Career Development Plan?

An employee development plan is a specific list of activities that contribute to the development of employee competencies. The process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflections, goals of own development in the context of professional career, education, interpersonal relationships, or personal self-improvement.

Sometimes, people think that the first step in this process belongs to the employee because he/she is responsible for development. Building a plan should start with reflection, getting to know your development needs and aspirations. The HR department or HR Business Partner can help in discovering the strengths of the employee and areas for development.

Employee Development Plan Goals

HR department develops a strategic plan and a functional map of employee development. The plan should cover all training programs, employee development initiatives, and other HR processes necessary to ensure smooth alignment with the firm's strictly defined strategic goals and long-term goals. Members of the HR team must collaborate with other units in the company to discuss rules regarding schedules, training company selection, specific trainers and teachers. The HR department decides on the methods of training, the use of appropriate tools and technologies.

The key to the success of any development plan for employees is the involvement of the employees themselves. HR plays an important role in motivating their employees.

Employee development plan helps HR managers to achieve, the next goals:

  • systematizing the direction of activities;

  • increasing employee motivation;

  • helping employees to take on new, interesting challenges;

  • increasing the effectiveness of preventing the most valuable employees from leaving their jobs;

  • helping to set career goals;
  • clarify the career path and available positions in the company;

  • it will be a great tool for providing feedback from managers.

When the HR manager, implementing individual development plans, it is very important to explain their value to managers and employees. An HR specialist needs to control not only the process of creation, approval, but also the implementation of the development plan. Together with the employee, it is necessary to highlight a list of thematic trainings and seminars that the employee will need to pass, as well as to form a list of skills that require improvement.

Key Benefits of Employee Growth Plan

Individual development plans allow you to combine the interests of employees and business goals, make the learning process as efficient and high-quality as possible. As a result, not only the quality and speed of employee development increase, but also ensures a more economical and rational use of the personnel training budget. So, in Brainy HR we single out 4 key benefits of employee growth.

Employee Retention: Keep Your Valuable Employees

An individual development plan emphasizes the importance of the interests and needs of the employee for the сompany. The employee feels a personal approach to himself and his value for the business. This helps to increase the involvement and loyalty of employees for whom individual development plans are used

Effective targeted employee training

Based on a personal career development plan, the сompany can plan and implement training programs taking into account the real needs and development goals of employees. As a result, the effectiveness of group training is significantly increased and at the same time, value for the employees themselves increases. Besides, the costs of external training are often reduced, because it becomes more targeted - you stop teaching everything.

Increasing labor motivation of staff

A properly designed development plan takes into account the individual characteristics, interests, and expectations of the employee. Thanks to this, the employee becomes more interested and involved in the process of training and development. As a result, the сompany gets a purposeful, motivated employee who readily solves the assigned tasks.

Combining business interests with the interests of employees

Building a career development plan links the development goals of an employee with the goals of the сompany. Thus, while achieving the goals of development, the employee simultaneously works to achieve the key business indicators of the organization. As a result, a double beneficial effect is provided - for the employee and for the Company itself, which significantly increases labor productivity indicators.

Issues to Avoid in Career Development Planning

  1. A Lack of Focus

One of the main causes of employee distraction is fatigue. It causes a lack of concentration, distraction, forgetfulness. Today we live faster and faster. The number of duties and tasks that fall on us in one day often exceeds us. Our minds chase from one thing we are supposed to do to the next, so we can't stop and spend more time on one task. Another factor is stress, which undoubtedly affects our ability to focus. All this affects our efficiency.

  1. Over-Idealizing Goals

Having a specific ideal goals is not enough. Despite ambitious plans, we often fail to implement what we assumed. There are many reasons for these failures, but I believe that the most important problem lies in the method of planning itself. In most cases, our goal turns out to be one big flop because we have formulated and described it incorrectly.

  1. Failing to Emphasize Soft Skills

Most people think that success depends on the level of professionalism in the profession? Often people who want to realize themselves in society do not lack professionalism, but the ability to be an effective leader both concerning others - to lead themselves, and concerning themselves - to behave and manage their effectiveness of individual development plan for employees.

  1. Forgetting to Involve Other People

Identify way, which helps you involve all of your employees in planning and decision making. This will help you make them feel that the project is their child, that they want to fight. To do this, whenever the opportunity arises, ask for their data and ideas. Thus, they will be strong in the success of the project. This will help stimulate the creation of new ways of working that are used in more stable conditions

Ways on Creating an Employee Development Plan

More and more business owners understand the need to train the employees they employ. Until recently, it was not so obvious; entrepreneurs often assumed that if they recruited someone, the hired person should meet the criteria they set - and nothing else. For this reason, for the senior position, they preferred to hire someone from the outside than to train an already loyal employee and enable him to be promoted. This is slowly changing now. How can the business owner benefit from this? And how to create an employee professional development plan?

A trained employee = a more effective employee

A person who successfully undergoes training in a given field becomes a more effective employee. In Brainy HR we define the next way of creating an employee development plan and how to write a career development plan?

Talk To Your Employees First and Get Employee Feedback

Meeting employees only for difficult conversations will not lead to building an understanding that is in line with progress and development. Annual "meetings" are unlikely to improve your team's performance, and it will not lead to feedback as "valuable and corrective."

If employees rarely hear from you and your words are mostly negative, you'll find that employees resist listening to criticism, no matter how constructive it is. Giving regular comments with feedback that is properly balanced helps employees develop their resilience so that they can accept comments when necessary.

Offer professional training from the get-go

Development plans based on the organization’s budget. So we have a budget within which the HR department operates, which creates a list of trainings and either independently selects lists of participants for it, or engages managers or employees themselves to do so. This method can be effective in small companies, where HR representatives know all employees very well, have full knowledge of business goals, and can match development proposals to the current needs of the organization.

Employee performance

Development plans based on employee preferences. Usually, HR In this case, during regular meetings of the employee with the supervisor, individual development plans are created and development expectations are collected throughout the organization, and then HR, within the available budget, builds proposals for a training plan and other development activities. This method has a great motivational value because it involves the employee in the process, while its downside may be a low budget for development activities, which will not meet the expectations of employees.

Help your managers become better coaches

Employee performance development plan based on the preferences of managers. This method is also based on the managers coaching consulted with HR. This model focuses on the knowledge and experience of superiors who can adapt the employee development methods to the business goal that the employee is to achieve.

Invest in personal development

In the professional development of line employees, their managers are involved, who today have turned from task directors and supervisors into mentors. They help employees understand where the company is heading and what needs to be done to grow with it. At the same time, they discuss with each employee his work and look for growth opportunities.

Reviewing and Monitoring Results

Both sides need to see an objective and reasonable assessment of career prospects. As practice shows, employees do not always understand what skills management expects from them and what exactly influences the promotion. Prospective employees need a vector to unleash their potential and increase efficiency, often without even changing positions and raising wages.

To assess the skills and abilities of staff, tests and interviews are conducted that help the manager understand the true state of affairs. Ideally, the assessment is carried out by at least two assessors who use the same criteria. The conclusions should not differ significantly. If the ratings do not match, a third interview is worth conducting.


Its most important feature - each participant of this process benefits from it, of course at different levels:

- The organization makes better use of the existing resources and protects itself against monopolization and potential loss of competences (usually as a result of the manager's separation from the company), thus increasing the possibilities of preparing future staff using the company's internal wealth.

- the (mentored) employee develops their competencies and prepares for various tasks,

- the mentor acquires the ability to teach others, which in turn increases his competences.

Building a good image

A company where employees are sent to various types of training and courses generally enjoys a good reputation - it is considered to be a company that cares about its people. This helps build a good image of the company, which in turn allows you to attract new investors and specialists.

Recognition and rewards

Multisport cards, fresh fruit, and liters of coffee are almost standard benefits for every employee. It turns out, however, that most people care about something completely different. At Brainy HR we have recognition and rewards features, we want to show that our employees get satisfaction from their work, personal development, and the ability to constantly discover new things that are important to them.

A boss who chooses to send his employees for training can generally count on their loyalty in the future. It is rare for people who had the opportunity to develop additional courses at the expense of the employer to unscrupulously leave their employer and switch to another company.


However, be aware of one thing: Even if you have invested a lot of time creating a personal development plan for employees, it is no guarantee that everything will go according to plan. On the contrary: goals that are too rigid can even slow down. Because to be able to react to unexpected events, a certain amount of flexibility is required. Keep this in mind when creating a plan and do not tie your employee’s career path on paper to retirement. One of the best ways to find out is by asking for rewards. For example, Brainy HR can quickly and easily gather employee rewards and recognition, it’s the most useful part of creating a career development plan.

You must plan step by step, remain realistic, and that you do not set up utopian goals whose failure to achieve can have a demotivating and career-inhibiting effect. Do you need HR software that supports you in all areas, saves you time and money, and makes your employees happy? Just try to use Brainy HR software!!!

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