It is important that there is a formal programme in place to maximise the gains available through employment skill development.
The benefits of employee skill development
There are five major benefits that come from having an effective, proven, employee skill development programme in place:
1) Attracting the top talent
Word gets around when an employer is a good place to work. If a workplace or business is known for its ability to train employees, offer the right access to progression and also has a reputation for doing things the right way – there’s no reason you can’t expect better prospects to be lining up to be a part of it.
2) Succession planning
By developing your internal staff, you are also preparing them to take the reigns on more senior roles as the business develops. Conventional wisdom is that you should promote from within wherever possible with succession planning, and an employee skill development programme ensures that you have got the right candidates in place, that know the roles and business when they are needed.
As long as an employee feels like their career and skillset is being developed, they are likely to be satisfied with their current job and unlikely to want to move. Skills development and progression as a result are even more important to most employees than simply finding the biggest wage on offer!
4) Performance and productivity
The more skilled an employee, the quicker they’ll work, and the more they’ll contribute to their organisation. An employee with a broad range of skills will be able to “step in” and support teams better, work across lines of business, and help to train other employees in their own areas of expertise.
5) Staying on top of change
In every sector, change is a constant, and if your employees are not keeping up to date with new solutions and ways of doing business, your entire organisation is likely to start to fall behind.
What do employee skill development plans look like?
Employee skill development plans can be as broad ranging as the employees themselves and are built out of a combination of motivating factors:
1) The organisation’s needs
To continue to grow and improve, what does an organisation need? Where are its skills strengths and weaknesses, and how can it use skill development plans to address those?
2) Employee competence
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the individual employee, and how do they fit within the organisation as a whole? How can they be developed to better contribute to their teams, and grow within the organisation?
3) Employee passion
What does the employee want to get out of their role? What opportunities do they want to pursue, and what steps are needed to get them there?
Once those three considerations are brought together, you can create a number of employee skill development plans that can generate the target outcomes. These might include (by themselves or in combination):
- Formal certifications
Employees might want to become certified in technical areas. With each certification, their contribution to the organisation would be greater, and they would be monetarily compensated in a more senior role within the business.
An employee that wants to eventually move into a senior role within the organisation could be taken under the wing of the existing executive, and spend time shadowing them to learn the ins and outs of their role. The employee would also start to be given leadership roles within their team to prepare them for the greater responsibilities ahead.
- Attending conventions and workshops
Events are an excellent way for employees to gain exposure to ideas and information – especially when they are new to the role. An employer might allow for the employee to spend work time to attend these events, or might finance the employee to attend in their own time.
How to create an effective employee skill development plan:
There’s a simple, five-step process that can formalise the creation of employee skill development plans. By establishing this formal process, employers can be sure that they’re engaging with the skill development opportunity most effectively:
1. Have the employee complete a self-assessment
This allows the employer to gauge the passions, personal goals, and areas for improvement that the employee sees in themselves, and acts as the start of the conversation between employer and employee.
2. Interview the employee on their career goals
Having a 1-to-1 with their manager (or, potentially, a more senior leader) about what the employee would like to achieve within the organisation can help to develop the right programme.
3. Discuss how those goals align with company needs
The employee should understand the broader company objectives, as that level of transparency ensures that the employee isn’t ultimately disappointed if a skill development plan doesn’t account for a training course that they wanted to do, but wouldn’t contribute to the business.
4. Map out the development opportunities
At this point, you want to start delving into the pragmatic steps that will result in the full employee skill development programme. This should include schedules for mentorship, blocked-out time to attend events, and costings for any courses or accreditations involved.
5. Document the plan and submit it to HR
For the sake of accountability, this overall process should be documented in full and kept by HR. It should then be referred back to so that both employer and employee can be sure that it’s meeting their mutual objectives.
Equip your workforce with the right plan
Having the right tools to properly assess, substantiate and qualify employee skill development is an important piece of the puzzle. Because this should be a formalised project, there should also be ways to quantify and qualify the progress being made, and, wherever possible, also hold the actual training material within the one source. Cloud Assess’ training management software, which is designed for practical and knowledge-based training, is the ideal way that HR, employers and employees alike can be aligned with a skills and training programme. Sign up for a free trial!