Do You Have the Right Development Plan for Your People?

Norb Slowikowski / November 2018

The biggest obstacle in the industry right now? Finding and retaining great talent.
Are you doing everything you can to find top performers on your in the marketplace?
Are you doing everything you can to make sure that your top performers are happy?
Do you even know how to make your top performers happy?
Partnering with employees in regard to professional development is essential in today’s work climate. You have to work in a cooperative manner with your people on an effective development plan to ensure job productivity and job satisfaction.
Creating an effective development plan includes the following features:
Specificity. Goals and action steps need to be stated in a coherent manner—easily understood by both parties. What do you want from the employee, and what does the employee want from you? What results need to be achieved to keep both parties working together as a team?
Focus. Include no more than three major development areas in the plan.
Career development:

  • Where does the employee want to go within the company?
  • Is he/she satisfied in their current position?
  • Does he/she want to embark on a management track?

Skill set:

  • Does the employee know how to do his/her job?
  • Does he/she need to learn new skills to keep up with the rest of the team?
  • Does he/she need to receive additional training, if moving on a management track?


  • Is the employee getting the pay he/she wants?
  • What kind of benefits does the employee receive? Is that satisfactory to the employee?
  • What are the incentives and rewards you offer employees for continued excellent performance?

Commitment. When the boss/employer and the employee work together on a development plan, you tend to get agreement from both parties.
To seal the deal, you as the employer must provide the employee with the resources he/she needs to fulfill the plan.
Gaining commitment breeds trust.
Incremental Moves. Take steps in smaller increments. Break down the overall goal to smaller short-term tasks so that the ultimate goal can be attained. Set realistic time frames with target dates so progress can be monitored. People are busy and don’t want or need to be overwhelmed.
Support. Serve as a constant guide and support to your people in the form of time and feedback, reinforcement and encouragement, ongoing coaching and financial resources.
If you work on the above features to create a successful development plan with your people, you will procure and retain top talent. Top performers will not only want to stay with your company, they’ll also work at their highest level of peak performance to ensure productivity and profitability for you and for them—as team players on all aspects of the job.

Norb Slowikowski is president of Slowikowski & Associates, Inc., Darien, Ill. To contact him, email