Development plans: when, how and what?

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Gallup’s 2016 study How Millenials Want to Work shows that only 29% of respondents felt engaged in the workplace. This means that only 29% of millennials are truly passionate about their work and go beyond just putting in the required hours. Furthermore, 60% of these millennials are open to new job opportunities elsewhere and Gallup estimates that the millennial employee turnover due to lack of engagement leads to an estimated 30 billion USD annually. However, without proper effort put into employee engagement and development, this can quickly become a vicious cycle in your organization.

Employee development plans can be an asset already in the recruitment process. According to PwCs Millennials at Work survey, 35% of respondents said quality training and development programs make an organization more attractive as an employer. Millennials want to work for employers who care about their personal and career development. So how to go forth creating these development plans?


An employee development plan is a detailed action plan co-created by employees and their managers in order to map out an employee’s future development path, thus helping managers keep employees engaged by providing them continuous support to grow within the organization. Ideally, an employee development plan will not only boost employee performance and engagement but also further improve the results of an organization and innovate.


Employee development plans can be an asset already in the recruitment process when headhunting the top individuals, so don’t be afraid to present your employee development plans to promising potential hires to seal the deal. Detailed development opportunities can sweeten the pot for the most fickle of potential hires: millennials.


Creating an employee development plan can be divided into 3 simple steps:

  • Establish your company’s needs

A good employee development plan takes into consideration not only the employee and their engagement but also the company. Are you making sure the employee’s work is purposeful and growth driven? If you desperately need to level up sales, why not integrate sales development into the employee development plans.

  • Find out what your employee wants to develop

This is where all your coaching experience comes in. Ask the right questions and make sure the employee tells you themselves what they want to achieve. Guiding questions are great but don’t lead employees into committing to something they never wanted to commit to.

  • Establish an accountability plan

The one rule in development plans is to always follow-up. Set clear and time-bound goals with milestones that you can track. Make sure you already book your follow-up meetings, even if they are months in advance. This way you make sure you won’t forget employee development and engagement in the midst of the daily grind.

There are some basic educational models to take into consideration when building employee development plans, most notably the 70:20:10 principle. This principle states that 70% of knowledge should be obtained from on-the-job practice, 20% from peers and the remaining 10% from formal educational activities, like courses or seminars.

Applying this principle to your employee development plans will make sure that your employees will gain lasting skills that will keep them engaged and boost their performance.

Employee development plans don’t have to be an insurmountable objective. They can be a tool to improve employee engagement and therefore company performance. Find out more about how AIESEC can help you hire engaged young people to fill your positions at


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