Performance development planning assumes setting short-term objectives for specific employees  in a given position. Each performance plan sets the direction for an employee’s professional growth according to the needs of an organization. In other words, a thoroughly developed plan creates a win-win situation in which the employee is motivated and supported in reaching his career goals and the organization reaps the fruit of higher productivity. Meanwhile, by reviewing these plans, HR managers get meaningful information on the competency and efficiency of individuals and teams.

Quality performance development plans are also vital tools for underperforming teams; such plans indicate areas for improvement as well as strategies for reaching the indicated performance standards. The tips below explain the steps to take when creating a development plan for an employee to considerably affect his productivity.

1. Consider the goals of company or department

To orient development plans to the current needs of organization, start by examining short- and long-term business objectives. For instance, a range of new positions may soon open or current employees may need to learn additional skills to succeed in new business ventures. Consider the skills and knowledge employees need to gain to fulfill their responsibilities. By focusing on developing internal staff, you save considerable amounts on recruiting or hiring outside specialists. Moreover, multiple researches show that by providing development opportunities is a key practice to retain top talent.

2. Have a discussion with employees

To create a working development plan, you need to analyze the employees’ current performance levels and understand their desired career paths. This enables you to offer them advancement opportunities within the organization they they will find challenging and rewarding. Discuss the knowledge, skills and personal attributes employees need to develop to succeed in a current (or new) role.

3. Set SMART goals

One of the most common mistakes in development planning is a misunderstanding of performance standards and measurement. To avoid this, use the SMART approach to goal setting and ensure that every performance goal is:

Specific – it’s clear what the employee is supposed to do and how he is purposed to do it
Measureable – it’s possible to determine whether the task was accomplished or not
Achievable – the goal is realistic within a given time frame
Relevant – the expectations correlate with the employee’s scope of responsibility
Time focused – there’s a deadline for achieving the goal.

4. Develop an action plan

Now that the performance goals are set, it’s time to think over the particular actions that are necessary to achieve the goals. If performance assessments reveal a lack of knowledge for the given role, the employee needs to attend formal training or devote more time to self-education; some may also benefit from coaching or collaboration with experts. Create an action plan, you to consider the resources needed for a smooth development process (i.e. costs of training, or other people’s time and expertise).

5. Continuously monitor the progress

Conduct periodic meetings with employees or simply collect the feedback to track the progress of development plans. Some performance attributes develop faster than the others, so your task will be to identify and discuss areas with little to no improvement and make corrections to the plan until the desired level of performance is achieved. Staff training and development is a costly process, and to make the cost of development profitable for your organization, employees should have the opportunity to apply newly learned skills and knowledge at the workplace straightaway. This will help maximize your return on investment.

Employee development plans are the essential tools that allow you to support employee learning and growth by getting the best out of their skills and personal attributes. This results in higher productivity and increased job satisfaction. More importantly, you develop employees based on your organization’s needs – this impacts organizational outcomes and supports your company’s overall goals. Automate your performance management processes with Lanteria HR software.