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Development planning

People-led design

Once you've defined what you need, the next step is to create the plan that will make it happen. The good news is you can improve employee engagement and motivation by involving your people in the planning process, from the very start. 

Is it the right activity?

Development activities can take many forms – from workshops and seminars to computer training and job shadowing. If you're wondering whether to include a certain activity in a development plan, you can view its likely effect through one of the following filters:

  • What will the individual be able to do that they couldn’t do before?
  • How will it improve what they are currently doing?
  • What are they going to be able to do differently as a result of the activity?

Each activity must also have an agreed set of objectives. These objectives should be SMART (Specific; Measurable; Agreed, attainable and achievable; Realistic and resourced; Timebound). You should also be able to explain how the activity relates to the organisation's vision.

Weighing up the cost

Once the objectives are agreed, you can weigh up the investment being made and what effect it could have on performance. If you think it will benefit the individual, team and organisation, then it's worthwhile. If not, you'll have to go back and review the need and the activity until you can agree on its value.

Do it

It might seem obvious, but after all the planning, make sure you follow through with the activity. It will send out a positive message to your people, showing that you take the responsibility to ensure planned activities actually happen.

Measuring the impact

Then it's simply a matter of measuring the results of the activity, to check that it did the job it promised. Here are three methods of individual evaluation:

  • “Happy sheets” completed at the end of an activity give an overview of how it went. These are a good starting point for evaluation but don't work as a measure of the longer term business benefit
  • The manager and the individual may sit down once the activity is finished and review how things went. They can then review the agreed return on investment.
  • The manager and the individual may agree a longer term evaluation of the activity over three to six months. 
     

It is, of course, crucial to remember that these development activities may require a significant investment, and one that has to be quantified and measured against the potential impact of the plan.