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Where can I get an employee development plan template?

4-minute read

A good employee development plan is initiated and driven by employers but is owned and managed by their employees. The completed plan is the starting point for an ongoing conversation about what your team members seek from their roles, the ways they feel they can develop and grow, and how it all contributes to the bigger picture of business success.

Your employee development plan (PDF 433KB)

Key take-outs

  • Employee development empowers your people and powers your business
  • Let your employees own their plan – your job is to guide them rather than dictate
  • Focus on open, ongoing conversations instead of expensive training

How can I help my employees with their career development?

First of all, you can and should encourage your employees to share their goals and aspirations. Let them take the lead and you can gently guide the conversation in line with where your business is going and how they fit into that vision.

Depending on your type of business, you might like to consider either a formal development plan or a verbal agreement. In either case, our employee development plan template (PDF 433KB) features a structure they can use to help you work together to develop goals and actions.

Tips for managing employee development

Forward our template to each employee, asking them to complete it. The form asks them to:

  • Arrange monthly catchups with their managers to talk about progress and any blockers
  • Review their plans with their managers every three months, discussing what’s working for them and what’s not
  • Address goals that are proving tricky to meet, thinking about how each objective could be broken down into smaller achievements – which can then be ticked off faster

What is in an employee development plan?

Our employee development plan template consists of three sections:

  • Part 1 establishes the strength of the employee and identifies opportunities
  • Part 2 is where the employee sets goals
  • Part 3 reviews the effectiveness of the plan and considers ways to refine it

Here are the questions that are posed in each section:

1. Strengths and opportunities

What are your strengths?

What has gone well in the past year? Where do you feel you made the most progress? Think about the things that have helped you feel confident about what you do.

What could you develop?

Which interests or abilities would you like to explore? Which new or improved skills would help you develop – and why? What’s the best way for you to learn?

What opportunities could you focus on?

Where would you like more responsibility? Are there any areas you need more experience in?

What could make your development difficult?

Has anything hindered your progress? Would you do anything differently? Consider whether additional support, such as shadowing a more experienced team member, would help.

2. Goal setting

What do you want to achieve?

Use the development areas you talked about in ‘Strengths and opportunities’ as prompts here. How do your answers translate into tangible goals? Then list these in order of priority.

How will you achieve this?

What steps will you and your manager take to make progress? Are there any responsibilities or tasks you could be given to broaden your experience? Could anyone outside the business help?

What support will you need?

List any training materials, courses or conferences that could help. Also think about any time needed for development opportunities.

How will you know you’ve succeeded?

How will you measure your progress? Think about feedback and assessments here.

When will this be done?

Choose dates within the next year to aim for. Be careful to make sure they are realistic.

3. Review and refine

When should this plan be reviewed?

Evaluate how this plan is working at least every three months, as part of your progress review. As well as checking in on your progress, you need to make sure your plan is still relevant.

What has worked well?

Don’t forget to talk about your wins and how you overcame challenges.

What could have been better?

What blockers have you come up against? How can your manager help you get around these?

The structure of our employee development plan along with the questions posed above, can help you and your managers get the most out of your employees – while keeping them motivated and engaged. All of which is a great investment in growing your business.

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Things you should know

The information in this article and the template it refers to, is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting.