The Best Employee Development Plan Examples for 2022

By TERRA Staffing Group

Posted on March 24, 2021

Coworkers gathered at desk.

When it comes to cultivating growth in new employees, it’s best to develop a plan with each individual. A new staff member’s manager should take the time to get to know them and learn about their talents and goals. Finding where those facets intersect with the company’s objectives and opportunities—that’s the sweet spot where the employee and company can work together in incredible ways. And the only way to identify those opportunities is to engage staff in meaningful conversation on these topics.

Employee development plans provide staff, management, and HR with written documentation of each person’s professional goals. This plan should be developed by the employee and their manager together, adding more detail and steering into the appropriate direction where necessary. If it sounds like a lot of work—it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we’ve taken the time to curate some of the best employee career development plan examples to make the process easier and more meaningful.

Keep reading to find an employee development plan template that works best for you:

Top 3 Employee Career Path Examples

Nobody wants to reinvent the wheel, and that’s why we’re excited to share a few of our favorite planning tools with you. These documents can get department heads geared up to put their team members on the right career paths. Here are the best professional development plan templates to help your new staff members get off on the right foot.

Individual Development Planning Template

The Individual Development Planning Template from Canada’s HR Council lays out a great framework for getting employees to think about their skills and goals.

Then, they are asked to consider their knowledge gaps and what tools or training they need to achieve their goals. Additionally, the worksheet encourages the employee to consider how their skills and goals fit into the needs of their organization. It’s a solid yet simple tool to get your new hires thinking forward.


To be fair, SMART GROW isn’t a template, but it would be very simple to make a goal-setting worksheet template for your organization using this acronym:

  • Specific: Don’t settle for vague goals; specific goals remind us exactly what we’re aiming for. The more specific, the better.
  • Measurable: This feeds into the need for specificity. Employees shouldn’t say they want to make more sales next quarter—they want to make 25% more sales next quarter.
  • Attainable: Don’t let employees set themselves up for failure. Make sure their goals are realistic.
  • Relevant: It’s wonderful to set goals for one’s personal life, but ensure this particular goal is directly tied to their work responsibilities.
  • Time-bound: Goals need deadlines. Make sure the employee knows when they will need to re-evaluate their performance to assess whether they achieved their goal.
  • Goal: What are the employee’s career development goals? Where do they want to be in a year, three years, five?
  • Reality: Make sure the employee’s career goal is grounded in reality. It’s great to aim high, but no mail clerk will become CEO in six months.
  • Options/obstacles: What might stand in the way of this employee achieving the goal? Do they need to pursue additional training or gain more experience in a particular area?
  • Way forward: What are the action steps the employee will take to make their goal happen?

Career Path Worksheet

For a more career path-focused format, consider the Career Path Worksheet template from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The form starts with the end goal in mind: What does the employee envision as the pinnacle of their career path? The subsequent sections help them develop a plan to get to that pinnacle. As the employee outlines their plan to grow into that pinnacle career, a manager can assist them with input about what skills and jobs could help them along the way. This tool is great for helping driven and high-achieving employees delineate their plan toward goal completion.

Download our eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement

Company culture and values are growing priorities for employees and job-seekers, and employee engagement is more important than ever. Read our eBook, “The Ultimate Guide to Employee Engagement” for insights on making your organization a more meaningful place to work.

Download the eBook

More Ways to Drive Employee Growth

Cultivate a Culture that Encourages Growth

In order for staff members to really maximize their potential, the organization has to create and maintain a workplace culture that encourages growth. Sometimes growth is messy. It almost always involves risk-taking and mistakes. But it also results in happier, more productive employees.

Cultivating a culture of growth helps you identify high-potential employees who could innovate the new products, services, and processes that will launch your company into a whole new level of success. According to Deloitte, 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success, and more engaged employees grew revenue around 250% more than companies with less engaged employees.

Make Sure Leaders Continue to Develop

The most effective managers lead by example. Additionally, your organization’s managers should have a strong commitment to their own professional development plans. When team members see their leaders growing personally and professionally, those managers gain credibility and prove to all staff that development isn’t just busy work for the lower-level staff. According to Gallup, 70% of the difference between excellent, good, and bad cultures is based on the knowledge, skills, and talent of the team leader. When it comes to company culture, leadership makes all the difference.

Want more HR tips?

For more information on employee development plans, check out our HR HotSpot webinar on Crafting Meaningful Development Plans. For staffing solutions that work for your organization, find one our branches today.

Categories: Employee Development

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