From an employer’s perspective, the purpose of employee development plans is to make sure the workforce is growing with the needs of the business. Opportunities may be on the horizon that would require employees with additional skills. You also want your employees to expand their competencies in skills they already possess.
Here are the things to consider when generating development plans that prepare for your company’s future.
Growth models normally require businesses to start entering other verticals eventually. Although dominating one facet of the market is great, sticking a toe in other verticals can insulate you from certain economic challenges.
This requires a versatile and wide-ranging workforce. The capacities of certain jobs might require training in the new vertical. Even non-specific jobs like marketing might need some exposure to the new business in order to “speak the language”.
Speaking of languages, perhaps the business is expanding internationally. This requires global competency skills not only of customer-facing personnel, but also of anyone who will be working with partners or satellite offices overseas. Wires are easily crossed across oceans.
Communication is key, so language training should be made a priority. It’s not as difficult or expensive as it once was. Development plans should also start calling for travel opportunities to the new markets. Languages can be practiced and cultural norms can be experienced.
Mergers and acquisitions
This is where managers’ input into development plans can carry a lot of weight. The rank-and-file might not be aware of some movements in the business. A merger or acquisition could be imminent.
A future-facing manager would build development plans ahead of time that make sure his or her employees will be an asset to the new organization. They might have to compete with their counterparts from the merge partner. They might have to enter new markets. They will definitely have to make a good first impression.
What it looks like
A development plan that takes these sort of opportunities into account is focused on broadening the horizons of the employee. Too often if the employee has stayed in one place for too long, they become complacent. A good future-facing development plan spurs them forward in ways that will make them—and the business as a whole—more marketable in the long run.
The steps identified in the development plan don’t necessarily have to be expensive, even in the case of language learning. Think about the opportunities the company already offers in-house, like mentoring and shadowing employees that already have the skills that are being targeted in development plans.
Further reading: To find about how one company used Rosetta Stone as an actionable step for employees to grow within the company, check out this informative case study.