We all have that one area of expertise we wish we were just a little better at.

Whether it’s that you want to be better at communicating or improve how you use a certain software solution, there’s always room for growth.

To ensure that your team feels fulfilled in all aspects of their work, you’ll need to build an employee development program that combines the needs of the employee and the organization.

Sometimes also referred to as professional development, the overall goal of employee development is to continue learning that nurtures professionals across all industries as a way to help employees progress on their individual career paths. 

Why is employee development important?

It’s absolutely crucial that your business offer employee development across all departments. After all, an investment in employee development is an investment in your company’s future. Without a plan in place, chances are good your organization will be left in the dust.

Not only can this program be worked into your recruitment marketing tactics, but it’s also a great way to show your team just how invested you are in them. 

The talent landscape is changing

Technology isn’t the only thing that impacts the workforce. So does the demographic shift in who your employees are. Millennials already make up the largest segment of the U.S workforce, and by 2030 that number will be at 75%.

The millennial generation has already shown their preference for more flexible career options and they aren’t holding any punches when it comes to their personal development either. The Bureau of Labor reports that older employees are more likely to stay in a position longer than their younger counterparts.

So what does that add up to? Younger employees are increasingly dominating the talent market with no signs of slowing down. These employees are more likely than their older counterparts to leave a company that doesn’t invest in their professional development.

That means your outdated human resources practices and a refusal to invest in employee development could not only be driving away your current talent, but it also could be scaring away new talent.

Provides career growth opportunities 

When employee development is done the right way, it has the potential to create career development opportunities for everyone within your organization.

When you take the time to develop your employees and invest in growing their skills, you’ll be rewarded with improved performance as they strive to reach their career goals. This makes it possible for your organization to stay competitive within its niche as you outperform the competition. 

87%

of millennials say that professional development and career growth are very important.

Source: Gallup

Assists in unexpected situations

How often do strategies change at your company? Chances are, it’s pretty regular. 

Changes can not only bring challenges for the workforce but when they’re handled correctly the first time, they can open up unexpected opportunities. As your team develops new skills, you could be surprised as to who raises their hand or volunteers a new idea or strategy that can solve challenges that could have otherwise thrown your company for a loop.

Attract new hires

As you develop a recruitment process, one way to ensure you entice top talent to apply for vacancies at your organization is to showcase how you make employee development a priority. Experienced HR professionals know that it’s not enough to just advertise an open role; it’s equally important to draw top talent in and attract the best to apply.

When you want only the best and brightest to join your team, show them the culture based around learning new skills and developing employees that your company has built.

Promotes employee loyalty

Employee development programs can do wonders in boosting employee retention and loyalty.  Retaining top talent can be a huge challenge for organizations across all industries. When a well-rounded development plan is in place, this becomes less of a burden. 

A loyal employee is less prone to quitting, which is why employee retention is such an important factor as you create a development plan. When your employees know that your organization is willing to provide top-notch training and development, it makes them feel important, which boosts their loyalty. 

94%

of employees agree to stay longer if the company invests in employee training.

Source: Leftronic

Improve employee engagement

What happens when your employees become bored at work? Usually this results in sloppy and lazy work habits, a negative attitude, and a potential to damage relationships with not only other team members but customers, too. 

A great way to boost employee engagement is to create a development path to keep things exciting and thought-provoking. When the development program is full of interesting training programs, courses, and events, employees have something fun and challenging to look forward to. 

This will help break up the monotonous workday and stave off boredom in its path.

Promotes cross-departmental collaboration

No matter how big or small your company is, it can be difficult to get members from different teams to collaborate and discuss the topics at hand. To promote cross-departmental collaboration and establishing a bond, consider an employee development program.

When members from various teams and departments sign up to learn about new and exciting topics, they’ll come together to bounce ideas off one another, share their thoughts and expertise, and get to know one another in new ways. 

Emphasizes on soft skills

When building a modern workplace, you need employees who not only have a skillset full of hard skills but soft ones, too. 

Soft skills include things like:

  • Strong work ethic
  • Effective communication 
  • Smart problem-solving 
  • Positive mindset
  • Motivated leadership

Employee development programs that focus on these, in addition to hard skills, create new learning opportunities, as well as a well-rounded and adaptive place to work filled with employees who are critical thinkers and are able to work together in a variety of situations and circumstances.

68%

of employees say training and development is the company’s most important policy.

Source: ClearCompany

5 tips for creating an employee development plan

Now that you know just how important an employee development program can be for your company, let’s get started on knowing how to build one that works for your unique organization.

1. Keep business goals in mind

Before you can get started setting objectives for your employee development plan, you need to align the development needs of your employees with your company’s business needs.

To do this, you’ll need to think about both the long- and short-term goals of your organization. Maybe you have a goal of boosting sales numbers for the first half of the year. Or perhaps you want to find and implement new software across your accounting department.

Whatever the case may be, once you have the business goals in place you can then make moves to identify the necessary skills and basic competencies that can support these goals. Focus on the skills needed to assist in achieving goals across the organization, both in the present and future. 

2. Have clear communication with employees

Companies that assume their employees’ skill levels and career aspirations are likely to build a development program that isn’t best suited for their staff.

Instead of assuming, take the time to talk with your team members and get a better understanding of who they are, the unique career goals they have, and what they’d like to learn to help them grow. 

Find out if they have any areas in particular where they feel like their skill set is lacking or if there are specific challenges they have in their current role. When you know where they’re struggling, you can pinpoint additional training or mentoring that can help them succeed.

3. Consider various types of employee training and development

When it comes to training and development programs, they should never be one-size-fits-all. What works for someone on your marketing team may not work for someone in accounting. 

Because of this, you need to have options for programs, courses, conferences that you can offer your employees. 

When coming up with varying types, consider options like:

The more your employees have to choose from to develop and grow, the better.

4. Utilize the right software

In order to streamline the employee development process and get everyone on board, it’s in your company’s best interest to get the right software within its tech stack. For that, you’ll need corporate learning management systems, otherwise known as a corporate LMS.

These tools make it easy to manage efforts across the board as you train employees, as well as remain organized, and track the progress of your team as they go through various types of programs. 

Because a corporate LMS will work as a centralized location of learning content for both your employees and your administrators, you can deliver next-level content to anyone interested in growing their skillset, reaching new heights, and developing their career. Best of all, the courses can be created using the built-in tools or through a separate course authoring system

5. Ask for feedback

Depending on the type of development programs offered, it can be hard to gauge the immediate benefit of your employee development plans. Because of this, to have a better understanding of what’s working and what needs to be improved upon, ask for feedback from those who either completed the programs or who are in the middle of a program. That way you can see where you need to improve or change things up in the future to ensure maximum benefit. 

Top 5 corporate LMS software solutions

When you’re looking to track, organize, and manage efforts as you train employees, customers, and external patterns, a corporate learning management system (LMS) could be right for your company. These tools are used as a way to manage individualized training programs that go hand-in-hand with onboarding, development, and compliance training initiatives. 

A corporate LMS can be used to assign courses to employees to complete. Then, employers can track individual progress as they complete vicarious lessons and assignments. 

In order to be included in this software category, a product must:

*Below are the top five corporate LMS software from G2’s Winter 2021 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.

1. Paylocity

If you think Paylocity simply helps HR professionals run payroll, think again. It’s also a comprehensive corporate LMS tool designed to take your employees to the next level. Users can easily assign courses tailored to training on new skills, policies, products, and more. Subject matter experts can even create condensed learning to share their knowledge with other members of their team. 

What users like:

“There are so many layers to this software. One of the biggest features is that you can control who has access to each functioning piece by granting them full to limited access. Timecard management, from your desktop or your app if you are traveling. Employee timecard management you get a notification when an employee has requested time off or missed a time punch saves time when having to approve time cards and time-off requests. Recruiting and onboarding a new employee. Recruiting integrates with several job boards making advertising a breeze. You can set up and customize your recruiting process to fit your needs. 

Onboarding is made simple by making everything digital to save time on employees’ first day from contact information, direct deposit, I9, to offer letters. They also integrate with Checkr to run a background check all with a few simple clicks. You can review your checks on the self-service portal that you can hide your paycheck amount that way when you are clocking in and out and that information stays private.”

Paylocity Review, Brittney D. 

What users dislike:

“Some pieces can take a little bit getting used to. Navigating through new layouts just takes time and has a little learning curve. Wish they had more training to attend to- not just articles to read.”

Paylocity Review, Erika H.

2. SAP Litmos

SAP Litmos is used to rapidly implement training for a customer-focused enterprise. It combines a powerful LMS with a fully loaded course library as a way to target learning, boost employee experience, and protect the brand by ensuring the organization is compliant. 

What users like:

“SAP Litmos is very user-friendly both as a user and an admin. There is a lot of functionality baked in that is helpful when organizing an education program for a large company. I like the bright UX design, the current feel, and the ability to customize the experience the best.”

SAP Litmos Review, Jess P.

What users dislike:

“SAP Litmos does integrate with several HRIS systems, though the integrations can sometimes be problematic and cumbersome. Care must also be taken when utilizing the bulk-upload feature to assign teams or large groups to specific courses/Learning Paths or Teams. While the mechanism itself is pretty straight-forward (CSV template upload) care needs to be taken to ensure that the static data submitted matches what already exists in Litmos, otherwise records and reporting can be messed up.”

SAP Litmos Review, Scott J.

3. Lessonly

Lessonly is a software solution created to help teams learn, practice, and excel in their day-to-day work. With over 3 million happy learners, Lessonly makes it possible to share knowledge, develop crucial skills, and reinforce best practices across varying industries. 

What users like:
 

“Lessonly is head and shoulders above the competition for several reasons. They approach our vendor relationship as a true partnership and not only provide customer support but truly come alongside the L&D function to drive results and build out learning as a strategic function of the business. Additionally, the platform itself is intuitive, robust, and the product team is consistently iterating and adding new features. I can’t say enough great things about this platform and the Lessonly team!”

Lessonly Review, Alyssa B.

What users dislike:

“I would love for Lessonly to provide content as well (similar to LinkedIn Learning). I know that this is not their main purpose but with a company as awesome as Lessonly I would look for any way I could to have them take over more of what we pay for elsewhere.”

Lessonly Review, Michael B.

4. Docebo

Docebo is complete with a robust content library that makes formal learning more engaging by opening new possibilities for social learning amongst your teams. Plus, it eliminates the need for multiple systems because it’s fully ready to scale alongside the growth of any organization.  

What users like:

“The Docebo Knowledge Base is hands-down the best I’ve ever seen, supporting an LMS. When the product rolls, there’s zero lag between the product functionality and the knowledge-base. This made it possible for us to train our top-level administrators within a matter of weeks, instead of months. The ability to rapidly find answers for yourself will result in YOU being in control of the data flow. You’re only limited by your imagination on how to use the Docebo solution.”

Docebo Review, Jerry S. 

What users dislike:

“Let’s continue to work to make the ILT experience as trackable and easy for admins as possible. I understand why the recent enhancements were made, however, they do create a couple of extra steps for admins. 1) Having to track attendees in Sessions and Enrollments. It felt more streamlined before, having sessions and enrollments under a single tab. We now have to enroll them in both and complete them in both. It could also be that I’m doing it incorrectly.”

Docebo Review, Steven P. 

5. Adobe Captivate Prime LMS

Adobe Captivate Prime LMS is a next-generation software solution for those in need of an LMS tool. It delivers a personalized learning experience across multiple devices as it trains employees, partners, and customers. Users love how it reduces skill gaps to manage a learner ecosystem that is compliant, updated, and engaged. 

What users like:

“The thing I appreciate most about Adobe Captivate Prime is its ease of use and practicality. I have to admit that at first, it was a bit difficult, but when I started watching the instructional videos, everything started to fit together. As an intern, look at my training calendar, which I like a lot. It is easy to navigate and helps to plan the sessions you are training for.”

Adobe Captivate Prime LMS Review, Eliza D.

What users dislike:

“The report feature comes up short to meet our requirements. Being able to manage knowledge checks, quickly see what a learner missed and what they selected compared to the correct response is key to meet our reporting requirements and takes a lot of manual manipulation to get there.”

Adobe Captivate Prime LMS Review, Ty M.

Never stop learning

If you want both your organization and your employees to succeed, it’s in everyone’s best interest to grow and scale a development program that everyone can learn from. Doing so makes your workforce more effective and knowledgeable, while also making your company a better place to work. In short, everybody wins.

Take your skill sets even further by understanding the ins and outs of a learning experience platform (LXP), how they differ from an LMS, and why you should start utilizing one.