Helping an employee to put together a personal career development plan means outlining what your business expects of your employee, and what your employee expects of themselves.
In the broadest sense, when you hire an employee, you want them to add value to your business—otherwise, they're not a worthwhile hire. The competition for all companies is fiercer than ever—not only for the business of clients and customers, but to attract the best talent.
And the employee wants to add value to your business, too, by making themselves more valuable as an employee in their industry. In this way, a successful employee's career and personal development happen day after day, simultaneously.
To track the way in which a person goes through personal and professional development, you or the employee's line manager need to help them write up a personal development plan (PDP).
The PDP should be an ongoing document that covers:
- Current realities, including gaps in knowledge, skill, or experience.
- Each challenge they face in their job, and how they will face it.
- Each target you set them, and any targets they set themselves.
- Skills to learn.
- Experience to gain.
- Evaluating their progress, including what they achieved, what they could have done better, and what happens next.
Your staff don't fulfil their PDP in a single day.
Define your expectations
In order to assess how any of your staff grow in their role, you need to measure them against expectations. You should set these expectations as early as the job advert. This way, an applicant has a rough idea of what they're going to be doing on a day-to-day basis if they get the job.
Then, when you hire your preferred candidate, use their first week to give them a company induction to outline what you expect of them.
Your expectations might include:
- Following a certain dress code.
- Sticking to the agreed work hours in their contract.
- Meeting targets, quotas, or deadlines.
- Acquiring knowledge and understanding of a tool, piece of software, or product.
- Behaving in line with all company policies.
Most businesses put new hires on a three- or six-month probation period these days, with probation period reviews held during and at the end of the period, to discuss the employee's progress.
It's up to the employer to decide whether to pass, extend, or fail the employee's probation.
The importance of career development
When you think of what you're going to offer a new hire, you think first of the salary. After that comes bonuses and perks. Perks might include one day per week of working from home, or something travel-related, such as a guaranteed private parking space or expenses for public transport.
When talented people are deciding which job offer to accept, they're always looking at the pros and cons of each offer on the table.
So when you offer someone a job, you need to clarify that you can help them to develop their career.
You should give as much detail as possible to paint the picture of their development. And you can do this in the job ad, during the interview stage, and in the job offer.
Outline any training they would receive during their first weeks of work. List the skills your company could help the candidate to develop. Highlight a route for career progression—will this job role lead to a senior, supervisory, or management position?
Review your employees on a regular basis
Sure, there's the probation review at the end of three or six months, and occasional review meetings during the probation, but do you think it's worth waiting that long before you check in with your new hire? And do you think they'll enjoy having to wait so long?
Short meetings at the start of each week between a manager and an employee can be great for going through what they achieved the week before, what work they plan to do this week, and what challenges they want to overcome.
It's also a weekly opportunity for you to flag any issues you have with their work, or for them to request any help or training if they think they need it.
Without talented and hard-working employees, you wouldn't have a successful business.
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