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Learning & Development

6 employee development examples to inspire growth

Leapsome Team
6 employee development examples to inspire growth
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76% of employees say they’re more likely to stay with an organization that offers continuous training.* That means, in the long run, your company risks losing three-quarters of its people if you don’t offer relevant learning and development (L&D) opportunities. 

L&D can sometimes seem like the first initiative to be put on the back burner in challenging economic conditions. But the key to building a multi-talented, productive, and loyal workforce is investing in robust employee development programs that help your people learn the basics and solve complex problems. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through different types of employee growth plans and give you six examples of employee development plans you can use to inspire your own. 

*SHRM, 2022

🤷 Not sure where to start when it comes to employee development?

Our customizable employee development plan template gives you a perfect jumping-off point. 

👉 Download now

Employee development examples: How to help your people grow

In our Workforce Trends Report, we found that one in three employees were planning to leave their jobs within the next 12 months. Among those respondents, over a third cited a lack of career growth and development opportunities as a top reason for looking elsewhere. 

On the flip side, over half of employees state that a culture that encourages feedback, goal-setting, and learning is a reason they would stay in their current role. And such a culture doesn’t just impact retention — the benefits of employee training and development are extensive, including increased engagement and satisfaction. 

The message is clear: If you want to keep your people happy and retain them, you have to help them grow.

“I’ve seen mentorship and employee development plans translate into clear business benefits: Our attrition rate is at a record low of 6%, our software developers stay in the company for an average of 5 years, and engagement and work meaningfulness scores are consistently high.”

Marina Dedolko, Senior Growth Manager at SENLA

Employee development examples range from highly technical training to helping employees hone soft skills. The best approach is to use a range of employee development methods to empower your people to upskill and help them take the next step in their careers. 

Tim Green, COO of TeamUp, emphasizes the importance of focusing on both hard and soft skills: 

“Hard skills are crucial for technical staff to stay updated with the latest technologies and methodologies, while soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving are essential for all employees, especially those in managerial roles.”

🎉 Note: Leapsome Learning now features a Learning Marketplace — a game-changer for HR teams looking to support employees in developing both hard and soft skills. 

You’ll find courses from renowned providers like Ethena and lawpilots, covering everything from technical subjects like data privacy and anti-money laundering to skills around avoiding unconscious biases and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Plus, it all integrates with our learning management system, making it easier than ever to create a holistic training experience that caters to your team’s diverse learning needs.

Examples of staff development initiatives

Examples of staff development efforts vary, and which approach you choose will depend on the specific needs of your employees, as well as their and your overarching organizational goals. Take a look at a few examples of employee development initiatives: 

  • Continuing professional development (CPD) This approach centers on ongoing maintenance and development of the skills and knowledge employees need to progress and excel in their careers. There’s an emphasis on ongoing development rather than seeing training as a box to tick. “CPD programs help our employees stay updated with the latest industry trends and technologies,” says Tim at TeamUp. 
  • Mentor programs — Mentor programs allow experienced employees to share their skills with less seasoned staff. This helps new team members upskill while giving more senior employees greater team management and communication skills. The mentorship program at TeamUp “pairs less experienced employees with seasoned professionals, fostering a culture of learning and knowledge sharing.”
  • In-house training Maria Nikolaeva, Director of Internal Communications and HR Brand at Usetech, has had positive experiences with internal training where “employees can give a master class or webinar, talk about a case study, or share tools for work.” They also have a community of professional interests within the company, where each employee can ask a question and get help from a more experienced colleague.
  • External education — Maria says that at Usetech, “employees can choose to attend training in their field outside the company, and the company will reimburse the tuition fees,” similar to the development budget we offer at Leapsome. They also promote team members participating in conferences and other events as participants or speakers, providing opportunities to network while gaining new knowledge and skills. 
  • Gamified training You want to make your approach to employee development and training accessible to all members of your staff, and gamified learning can be a great way to do that. With research showing that gamified training done right can significantly improve employee performance, it’s worth considering as an option in your growth plan initiatives for team members.

All of these examples of development initiatives can form part of a tailored employee growth plan, which leads us to our next section: types of employee development plans.

Types of employee growth plans

An employee growth or development plan is an organizational roadmap to developing your people’s skills and competencies and encouraging them to pursue professional and personal progress. 

But not all employee growth plans are created equal, just like not all employees have the same ambitions. Some people want to advance vertically, while others want to expand their current role or make a lateral move to another department. 

People-first organizations need to offer different professional development plans based on individual employee and company goals. Common types of career development plans include:

  1. Performance-based growth plan 
  2. Goal-based growth plan 
  3. Succession-based growth plan 
  4. Ad hoc growth plan 
  5. Leadership growth plan

1. Performance-based growth plan 

This plan enables employees to focus on competencies that directly influence their job performance. It’s less about teaching new skills and more about developing your people’s abilities, so they can perform day-to-day responsibilities more effectively.

For example, following a performance review or a company-wide skills gap analysis, a hiring manager might receive constructive feedback on their communication skills. Since great communication is vital to the role, an effective development strategy for them is one that focuses on closing that skills gap. To help you visualize this type of roadmap, we’ve included some in-depth examples of performance-based plans in the upcoming section. 

2. Goal-based growth plan

A goal-based development plan aims to proactively help employees set and meet specific milestones and objectives and key results (or OKRs). In this case, all steps within the roadmap should get the employee closer to their long-term goals. 

For these employee development programs to succeed, it’s vital to encourage collaboration between managers and their reports. That’s because collaborative goal-setting gives employees a sense of ownership and increases transparency across the board. To get started, explore our comprehensive OKR-based development plan template in the next section.

🔎 Want to learn more about OKRs and how to set them?

Check out our free, downloadable OKR template for more ideas.

3. Succession growth plan

Succession planning, or establishing a succession employee development plan, helps employees advance to more senior positions within your organization. This includes, for example, a career development plan highlighting the steps a customer service agent needs to take to become a customer service manager. 

You can use performance reviews and 1:1 meetings to discuss your people’s strengths, growth potential, and career goals, and engagement surveys to gauge their sentiments. After that, it’s all about creating a growth plan that aligns with your company’s promotion policy and empowers your people. We not only offer a software solution but also a free downloadable template for this type of plan.

4. Ad hoc growth plan

Ad hoc career development programs work best for employees who wish to pursue unique interests, higher degrees, or certifications to increase their competitive advantage as employees. For example, an employee in your HR department might express interest in completing accounting courses to upskill and collaborate more effectively with the finance department. 

Meeting their training needs, especially if they align with overall company goals, showcases your commitment to personal growth and retaining your people. Keep reading to get access to a free downloadable template for this type of employee development plan.

“I identified a need to undertake a formal leadership qualification by doing my own employee development plan. The result? I completed a Master's degree in leadership and management and was able to apply my new skills and learning in the workplace.

Although I understand there are a number of factors that may have prevented me from achieving my goal… I would have probably looked for other employment opportunities if my development plan wasn’t taken seriously.”

Tracy Rawlinson, Freelance HR writer and former Children’s Centre Leader

5. Leadership growth plan

One of the key goals of an effective employee development plan is to increase management and leadership effectiveness. That’s why it’s crucial to offer coaching and mentorship programs to senior employees who are already familiar with the skills needed to succeed in their roles. This means empowering them to deal with difficult and more complex situations.

📕 Future-proof your organization by investing in effective development initiatives 

With Leapsome’s Competency Framework, you can create a customized career roadmap for every role to improve employee retention. 

👉 Learn more 

6 examples of employee development plans

Effective employee development planning that benefits both the employee and your organization can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of six examples to help you get started. Keep in mind that these examples are high-level overviews and resources meant to inform and support your plans. There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to skills development, so you should tailor them to fit your needs. 

1. Ad hoc employee development plan

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Development Plan template.
Leapsome’s ad hoc employee development plan template is a great way to get started with employee training

Our free downloadable employee growth plan template offers HR professionals and leaders a simple way to get started with creating an employee development path. Help your people define their development profile and establish a growth timeline with follow-up steps and detailed action items.

Start by inviting your team members to discuss and document their strengths, areas for improvement, needs, and professional outlook. This way, you can create a plan that aligns with their needs. Next, to ensure clarity and transparency, describe a list of actionable steps they need to take to reach their desired results. 

Ideal for: companies and teams without an existing learning and development program looking for a straightforward template to get them started. 

What this plan does well
  • Provides an easy-to-understand, customizable overview
  • Enables employees to create their own development profile
  • Highlights tangible, time-bound action steps 

2. Soft skill development plan: giving feedback

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Feedback Learning Path.
Leapsome’s Learning module lets you create customized paths for every role and empower managers to set development goals transparently

Learning how to exchange feedback that motivates and engages employees is a vital soft skill for any team member. That’s because employee feedback guides your people in the right direction and encourages good performance. Leapsome’s Learning Pathways help you create and assign actionable plans that are tailored to each employee and still fit into your business goals.

To get started with this performance-based growth plan: 

  1. Define each employee’s short- and long-term goals for giving feedback. You can do this through formal or informal check-ins.

  2. Ensure they align with each other and with your company goals.

  3. Develop an action plan combining on-the-job experiences, mentorship activities, coursework, and quizzes. 

Remember, like with any hard skill, soft skills require practice and time for reflection. Encourage your people to put their learnings into action by giving their peers or managers input using our Instant Feedback module or a tool of your choice.

Need additional resources to help your team members exchange meaningful feedback?

Check out our guide: 27 employee feedback examples and the right way to use them.

Ideal for: HR professionals and leaders looking to implement a learning culture by taking advantage of other areas supporting employee development such as assessments, 1:1s, goals and OKRs, compensation, and promotion management.

What this plan does well

3. Soft skill development plan: holding effective meetings

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Effective Meetings Learning Path.
Leapsome provides your team with a variety of customizable resources to encourage better training

Unnecessary meetings can cost large companies up to US$100 million a year. So training your leaders to hold effective meetings is a time-saving initiative with a high return on investment (ROI). 

In Leapsome’s Effective Meetings Learning Path, leaders (and employees) are encouraged to go through videos, quizzes, and reflection tasks to understand why many meetings are ineffective and how to change that. This performance-based plan’s completion deadline, key milestones, and progression tracking functions make the roadmap more specific and measurable.

Ideal for: leaders who are looking to facilitate more productive meetings, need a collection of learning materials to practice this soft skill, and want to tie employee development to other employee enablement initiatives.

What this plan does well
  • Provides a mix of learning materials 
  • In-depth 
  • Customizable 
  • Can be tied to feedback loops and OKRs
💡 Pro tip: In today’s dynamic work environment, continuous learning and development (L&D) are crucial for retaining top talent.

HubSpot’s free AI content writer is a useful tool in this area. It not only aids in creating engaging and informative training materials but also personalizes learning experiences. By using the power of AI, organizations can develop content that resonates with diverse learning styles, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of L&D initiatives. This tool is instrumental in crafting comprehensive employee development plans, ensuring that learning is not just an activity but an integral part of the organizational culture. It’s an essential asset for companies looking to foster a culture of continuous growth and innovation.

4. Succession development plan

A screenshot of Leapsome’s Competency Framework.
Creating a succession development plan with Leapsome’s Competency Framework helps align your people’s career paths

With our Competency Framework, Leapsome users can establish a tailored succession development plan to help employees align their professional goals and planning timeline with your organization’s values and internal promotion plan. The roadmap also boosts visibility across your organization and can help get stakeholders on the same page.

Ideal for: leaders looking for a straightforward way to prepare their employees for professional advancement and up-skilling based on various competencies.

What this plan does well
  • In-depth 
  • Highlights various competencies 
  • Helps define individual development goals
  • Increases organizational visibility 
🤫 Not a Leapsome user yet?

We offer a free downloadable succession planning template to help you and your team define your professional goals.

5. Employee performance enhancement plan

A screenshot of SlideTeam's Employee Career Development Plan template.
Including a training’s intended duration in your plan helps keep your people on track

This career development plan by SlideTeam is a great example of a measurable, actionable, and time-bound employee training plan. While the table is quite simplistic, it highlights some of the fundamental aspects of an effective performance enhancement plan, including:

  • Training tasks 
  • Duration
  • Completion status 
  • The person responsible for overseeing the training

To improve this example, you can also add the cost of training and tie actionable steps to overall employee goals.

Ideal for: managers looking for a straightforward way to track employee training across different departments and roles. 

What this plan does well
  • Time-bound 
  • Provides a quick overview
  • Assigns a specific coach or mentor

6. OKR-based development plan

A screenshot of Leapsome’d OKR-based Development Plan template.
Drive transparency and engagement by tailoring Leapsome’s OKR-specific employee growth plan to your people

Our free downloadable goal-based development plan template enables leaders to help their people develop in alignment with their personal OKRs. Every step in this roadmap should train employees in a way that directly supports them in meeting their targets, which can be guided by company OKRs. 

After planning your report’s OKRs together, break down the key results into specific, measurable, and time-bound action items. Then, organize regular check-ins to assess the employee’s progress and discover how you can help them succeed.

💡 Management by objective (MBO) bonuses are a great way to keep employees motivated regarding OKR-bound development plans. Check out our guide to incentive compensation to learn more.

Ideal for: leaders looking to support employees in achieving their long-term goals more effectively. 

What this plan does well
  • Customizable
  • Tailored to one employee
  • Based on individual goals & proven methodology
  • Includes specific and time-bound action items

Inspire and develop your employees with Leapsome

Well-implemented employee development plans motivate and engage your people while giving them the tools they need to help your organization succeed. This way, you retain your best employees and build a resilient business. 

Leapsome’s all-in-one people enablement platform gives you a holistic approach to the multifaceted challenges of implementing learning and development initiatives. The tool allows you to create a competency framework to structure your trainings, as well as customized learning pathways to plug skills gaps and monitor progress. 

By integrating your competency framework with our tools for performance reviews, goals & OKR management, 1:1 & team meetings, and promotion management, you support your people in every step of their professional development. 

🚀 Nurture growth and development opportunities across the board

Leapsome’s all-in-one people enablement solution equips leaders with the skills they need to retain talent and future-proof the organization. 

👉 Book a demo

Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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