How to Use an Employee Development Plan
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Identify Your Firm’s Purpose and Engage Employees

Develop Future Goals for Employees

A big part of employee engagement in your firm is developing goals for each employee. Developing a road map for the future involves the following:

  • Establishing performance goals for the upcoming year: This should be a list of five or six high-impact SMART goals to be achieved in the upcoming year. These goals should be linked to one or more of the company's strategic priorities (think environmental health and safety, employee engagement, innovation, quality, efficiency, and so on). Ways to measure progress should be included.

    A sample performance assessment form for an EDP.
    A sample performance assessment form for an EDP.
  • Establishing professional development goals for the upcoming year: This should be one or two SMART development goals to enhance performance in the employee's current role. Specific actions to be taken to achieve these goals should be included.

  • Identifying longer-term career goals: The idea here is to identify one or two SMART development goals that will help the employee make progress toward longer-term career interests. This section of the EDP may comment on next possible jobs or include stretch assignments to help the employee grow. If the employee wants to remain in his current position, this section of the EDP should identify ways to enhance job satisfaction.

  • Succession planning: Part of any career conversation should include a discussion of the employee's potential. Is the employee a potential successor to her boss? If not, why not? If so, when? What does the employee need to do to enhance her succession potential?

This figure contains a sample form you can use to fill out this portion of the EDP. Feel free to copy this as needed.

Research suggests that when managers and employees jointly set and agree to goals (instead of managers simply dictating goals to employees), employees are five times more likely to achieve them.

A sample road-map form for an EDP.
A sample road-map form for an EDP.
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