What is it?

Who needs it?

A career development plan is a great tool for both an employer and employee.

A career development plan is an outline, with specific goals and resources to guide a person in their career path to get to where they want to be. Simply put it’s a plan you put into action.

For yourself, there’s no real reason not to have your own career development plan. Having a plan keeps you on track, you have an itinerary when you go on vacation – stands to reason that you’d want a plan for something as important as your career. This is something you can do on your own, you can ask your employer / manager to help you develop based on their experience or you can get a coach / mentor to work with you on this. There’re many options, you can use any or many of them depending on your needs.

First, you’ll want to figure out where you want to be. This can be the most challenging part of it. Do you want to stay in your current company? Do something entirely different? What would really tickle your career fancy? Once you’ve narrowed it down to something you can actually name it’s time to get down to planning.

The actual framework can be different for everyone. Some people use a timeline, you can use a graph, you can use an outline – basically you are making a rubric for your career to get from part “A” where you are now, to part “B” where you want to be. So much like in college where the professor gave you a rubric to let you know the expectations for their course. You are going to assign yourself coursework related to growing your career.

To an employer this can be a tool to keep employees growing within the business rather than leaving because they’ve become bored or having complacent employees who never grow. Managers can use this tool with their employees when they do their annual review by asking if the employee is interested in developing a career development plan for themselves. If they are, they can work with them during review time pointing out improvements to be made as well as resources for the employee to use to develop themselves into whatever position they are looking to grow into. *Be careful to point out this is for the individual to use on their own if they choose, not management’s responsibility.

Why would you want to help your employees develop themselves?

There’s not real valid reason why not. Studies show that employees become unsatisfied over time if there’s no room for advancement or improvement. As with customers, it’s better / easier to keep a happy employee than to gain and train a new one. The new general thought is a person leaves their manager, not their employer. Wouldn’t you rather be the manager encouraging your team to improve themselves? The manager who shows they believe their people can do anything? That’s the hero of management. That’s the person whose team people want to be on.

Explore, encourage, develop and be excited about it!

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