In this article, we’ll examine the what, why, and how of development programs. We’ll walk you through how to create the right one for your business type and employee development goals. Finally, we will share how GrowthSpace is taking a new approach to enable truly effective development plans for employees and organizations.
What is a development program?
A development program describes the steps involved in improving somebody’s knowledge, performance, and skills. In the context of business, development plans allow employees to increase their effectiveness at work.
Why is a development program important?
The usual objective of a development plan is to support the organization’s operational goals. However, development programs can also increase an employee’s satisfaction level, which might indirectly benefit the employer through a higher rate of retention and enhanced professional effectiveness.
How to create a development program
The entity that creates a development program will vary depending on the organization. It could be the human resources department or the management of an operational department. In some cases, employees and their direct managers might request that a development plan be created. In all cases, the organization as a whole needs to support the development plan because it will affect the employee, their manager, and the employee’s productivity.
All employee development programs have three phases:
1. Define challenges and KPIs
There are a wide range of development needs that are determined by existing soft skills and the nature of the work. New employees require a different type of training than veterans, and so they require different development plans.
In most cases, the longer an employee works successfully at their position, the greater their skill set and the fewer training needs they have. It is therefore more challenging to identify the needs and goals of an experienced employee in order to optimize their performance.
For example, a production manager might be great at making products, but their administrative skills are poor. To make them more effective, their specific weakness needs to be identified. Perhaps they are not familiar with the software, or cannot type, or don’t like “busy work”. To improve their output, they require a development program that includes a method of diagnosing their particular challenge.
As part of the development plan, it is important to set at least one KPI. This will provide a benchmark by which to judge the success of the development plan, which is the final phase of the process.
In contrast to development needs, there are development opportunities. These are educational programs that are not necessary for the employee’s current position, but which could help them in various ways. An employee might take advantage of a development opportunity to be qualified for a managerial role, enhance their morale, or increase the quality of their cooperation within the organization.
2. Get matched with an expert
The implementation phase of a development program is similar to the identification phase – there are many variables to account for. These include the specificity of the plan, the type of skill it develops, and the logistics of learning, such as location, schedule, and expert. All of these factors will affect the who, what, when, and where of the development program’s resource requirements.
The most essential aspect of implementation is that it uses the right kind of expert. Taking the above example of the production manager, if they don’t know how to use the software, then they need the appropriate trainer. This sounds simple, but it requires a development plan that covers a whole process for locating the relevant expert, who must have a good track record of instruction in that exact subject. It is also necessary to coordinate with stakeholders and provide development in a way that accommodates the employee’s responsibilities. And that’s just for one employee.
3. Measure business impact
Most organizations assess the effectiveness of development plans at various stages, both throughout the implementation phase, and sometime after the end of the course. There are a wide range of methods to analyze the business impact of the development plan, such as return on investment, increased professional effectiveness, and employee satisfaction. It is also vital to grade the quality of the course and expert..
GrowthSpace’s Development Program
GrowthSpace provides a new type of development program that is designed to increase benefits for all stakeholders. GrowthSpace approaches the challenges of employee development plans with a method that exploits advances in technology to improve results at all stages of development plan design and fulfillment. For those looking for guidance in how to create a development program, it can be summarized in three basic steps: define specific goals, choose the right experts, and measure the results.
Define challenges and KPIs
To reiterate, every employee has different development needs according to their experience, talent, objectives, and learning preferences. However, most development programs tend to provide ‘one size fits all’ plans, regardless of these differences, because they lack the ability to analyze each employee’s situation. To solve this issue, GrowthSpace applies proprietary technologies to understand the specific learning needs of employees, no matter what the size of the organization is. For instance, GrowthSpace uses natural language processing to search plain text for detailed training requirements.
Get matched with an expert
The next hurdle for an effective development plan is to locate a quality mentor, coach, or expert. The problem here is the same as with the identification stage – because most programs can only deal with general needs, they also provide mentors who are generalists. In comparison, GrowthSpace uses technology to locate mentors with a successful track record of supplying instruction in the precise area of development that is required.
Measure business impact
Finally, the effectiveness of the development plan must be appraised. GrowthSpace uses a straightforward, numerical questionnaire that involves two basic questions and two people: the employee and their direct manager. Due to this simplicity, GrowthSpace’s evaluation method can be easily utilized for any size of organization.
GrowthSpace’s L&D platform is a talent development solution that changes the world of employee learning and development with a scalable, technology-based approach unlike any other. If you want to finally see what employee L&D programs can really do for your organization, contact us.