Five Key Elements to Workforce Development Planning

5 Minutes

Workplace development planning should be an ongoing focus for any business. A structured approach to planning will ensure a business can keep the workforce engaged and adaptable to changing needs and climates.

What are the benefits of workplace development planning?

Forward planning and having a continuous and consistent approach to workplace development planning not only benefits your business, but it also has a significant positive impact for your employees too.

Increased profit and ROI – Businesses who invest in the development of their employees experience a positive impact on ROI, this can lead to reduced costs (such as costs to hire), improved customer experience and greater productivity.

Improved and enhanced performance – Employees are more able to conduct their jobs effectively, with increased efficiency when there are comprehensive development plans in place to facilitate skills development within a business.

Innovation and evolving business – When a business adopts a learning culture, the impact can be increased creativity and critical thinking skills which can lead to growth and greater innovation in an organisation.

Positive impact on employee retention – If an employee believes there is scope for development and growth within a business, they are more likely to stay. This is also an appeal for potential employees, it is a huge driving factor for many candidates when seeking a new job opportunity.

Claire Bullen, Learning & Development Manager at CSG Talent highlights how workforce development planning can elevate an organisations employer brand – “Those businesses which clearly demonstrate that workforce development is a priority, often win potential employees over their rivals, as it gives potential employees a feeling of confidence, that they will be invested in."

Elevates employer brand – A comprehensive workplace development strategy can positively impact the employer brand; it can increase the attractiveness of a brand to potential and existing employees.

1. Identify your business needs

A starting point for businesses is to initially identify what the needs are for the business and those of employees, it is a key stage to the success of a workplace development plan. Firstly, analyse the goals, plans, and vision of the business – what does this involve?

Following this, you need to establish the skills and knowledge you need from your employees to excel and move forward to achieve your business goals and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the market.

Are you aware of shifts within the industry? Will these changes impact your business and require you to adapt? Do you need to consider modern technologies to allow your business to evolve?

Looking at this from an employee perspective, you need to understand the knowledge and skills of your current employees and evaluate these through reviews and skills gap analysis. Due to the growing skills gaps across all industries, this is something we are seeing greater emphasis on before businesses try tackle skills gaps with existing and future employees.

2. Set goals and objectives

For a business to move forward and have effective planning in place, it is vital to set goals and objectives that are achievable and give employees a focused and clear goal to work towards together. Having these goals can help motivate employees, can encourage collaboration, and make them feel engaged and part of the bigger picture.

A common framework for goal setting is the SMART objectives:

Specific – Create goals which focus on specific skills of knowledge that is a focus of development. Goals need to be well-defined and clear.

Measurable – Goals must include metrics so that progress can be both measured and tracked, ensure you can demonstrate improvements of the activities that contribute to the goals in place.

Attainable – It is important to set goals that are realistic and achievable but that also push and challenge, so it requires striving towards.

Relevant – The goals created need to be in line with both organisational and individual employee needs, for example – when it comes to establishing skills gaps within a business and how to address this, choose a goal which is relevant to skill development.

Time-Bound – To measure the success and result of goal setting, deadlines must be set for achieving a goal objective.

3. Establish development strategies

Following the phase of goal setting, the next step is to establish which development strategies you are going to implement and use to reach these goals.

Some considerations include training programs and courses, mentorship either internally or seek external mentorship, job shadowing and learning cross-skills in departments, and a focus on knowledge building through the attendance of events, networking, and conferences relevant to your market.

4. Implementation of plans

This is the phase of action; how do you implement these plans to facilitate this development and support for your employees?

Provide your employees with all the relevant tools and resources they need such as training materials and financial support to access external qualifications and skills development.

A growth mindset in a business is a great way to develop a culture of ongoing learning, celebrate this in your business to engage with employees and encourage them to adopt a growth mindset too.

5. Review and evaluate

The evaluation phase is not static, this needs to be done on a regular and ongoing basis to assess the effectiveness of plans and to make changes where necessary to improve the overall success.

Using the metrics set out in the goals, track progress and employee development – how well are things progressing?

Assess the effectiveness of development activities by gaining feedback from both employees and their managers. In areas where little progress is apparent, is it clear why this is the case? Adjust as and when needed to see if these adaptions impact the development strategy success going forward.

Speak to a specialist recruitment consultant 

At CSG Talent, we support businesses across the globe, not only with hiring needs and strategies, but we also consult and advise across a breadth of workplace related topics, workplace development planning included. If you’re keen to hear market insights, or would like a confidential conversation with a member of our expert team – Get in touch.