Employee Development Best Strategies for Productivity & Growth [2024]

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As a sales or revenue team leader, you probably know how important upskilling and reskilling are to improving performance, retaining talent, and bridging productivity gaps. According to research, 94% of employees say they would stick with an organization if given access to better learning opportunities. Investing in your employees and, in turn, employee development programs, is the leading way to maximize employee performance and,  ultimately, retention. 

While every business owner wants to build an A+ sales team, there’s been a talent shortage in the workforce. This is why job placement professionals recommend that companies provide better employee training. Rather than searching for skilled workers, you can equip current employees with skills that help them grow professionally–to ultimately grow your business. 

However, a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to employee development programs. This post will review all the employee development best practices that can help you build an effective strategy that fosters sales productivity and growth.

What Is Employee Development?

Employee development is the long-term process of contributing to employees' professional growth by creating opportunities that help them improve on existing competencies and acquire in-demand technical and soft skills. It’s a collaborative effort that benefits both the organization and the employees. 

An employee development plan usually includes training methods, such as microlearning, job shadowing, mentoring, workshops, and on-the-job learning. The most effective plans usually combine two or more methods to achieve the best results.

Why Is Employee Development Important?

employee meeting

Proper employee development fosters an agile, innovative, and motivated team capable of steering your company through the ebbs and flows of the corporate landscape–ultimately leading to boosted engagement, productivity, and revenue. 

Improved Employee & Business Performance

Employee development is essential to business success. By creating a work environment committed to the career advancement of your employees, you enable them to build skill sets that increase their productivity and performance. As your workforce grows professionally, highly skilled employees will give your business a competitive advantage. 

For example, if you want to drive revenue enablement within your organization, enabling your sales and revenue teams with a B2B sales qualification method, such as MEDDIC, will help them close more deals and generate higher revenue. 

Culture of Learning

Companies with strong learning cultures report higher profits. To stay competitive, businesses must employ a workforce that can adapt to these changes. Employee development creates a culture of learning that ensures your workers are always ready to learn competitive skills. 

Note that if you want to encourage your sales and revenue team to buy into a learning culture, it’s critical to prioritize relevant and actionable skills. According to research, 57% of employees seek external training because their companies are offering training and development programs that aren’t useful. 

Attracting Top Talent

Employees are willing to switch jobs to upskill. If your company is known for investing in the career growth of its workers, you will not only retain top talent but also attract top talent from the industry. 

Employee Retainment 

Employee development also plays a crucial role in retaining the talent you've worked so hard to acquire. In a 2018 survey by SHRM, it was discovered that every year, more than 1 in four workers leave their jobs to work for another company–and a frequent reason is career development. 

When workers feel stagnant in their positions, they look for jobs that allow them to grow their skills to their fullest potential. Basically, if you don’t support the development of your workers, then they’ll go to someone who will. 

Building and maintaining an organizational structure committed to upskilling employees will increase job satisfaction and motivate workers to stay, reducing employee turnover. 

Higher Engagement

A Gallup report reveals that 85% of workers are actively disengaged. Imagine the effect of that on a company’s overall productivity and performance. 

Take, for example, a revenue team. A revenue team typically works within the sales and marketing departments to generate revenue.  When your revenue team receives training that helps them perform better, they’ll become more confident in their role and have higher job satisfaction. This encourages the team to engage more at work.

Employee Development Plan Best Practices

This section covers things you need to know to create an effective employee development plan:

1. Know Your Long-Term Goals

You must clearly understand your long-term goals when creating an employee development plan. This would help you maintain a performance measurement system that benchmarks actual employee development against set goals. 

Is your long-term goal to scale revenue to a certain amount, increase the number of deals your sales team closed, or improve employee productivity? Understanding what you want to achieve will enable you to decide what training program and tools are needed to make it happen. 

For example, if your sales team wants to learn how to leverage AI to win deals, you would provide AI sales training programs.  Or,  if your revenue team wants to scale their sales and marketing efforts and expedite revenue growth,  you could offer training on revenue enablement. 

2. Determine Areas of Improvement

Let’s say your sales team isn’t bringing in as many prospects as they should, or your revenue team is poorly managing the sales pipeline; your training efforts should focus on those areas. It wouldn’t make sense for a sales team to take a sales lifecycle training when handling customer objections is the area they need to improve. 

3. Build Out Your Tech Stack

Effectively training employees requires a lot of effort. Building a tech stack of training tools makes the process easier. You need content authoring tools, learning management platforms, sales enablement software, analytics tools, etc. 

If you’re looking for a platform that will help you improve the learning and development of your sales and revenue teams, try Spekit

Spekit delivers contextual, personalized coaching and enablement to sales and revenue teams directly in their flow of work. This means your workers can actively learn while on the job–no more searching for answers, context-switching, or unnecessary disruptions.

The platform provides a just-in-time coach for your reps to reinforce sales methodologies and processes inside your CRM, sales engagement, or conversation intelligence tools. Spekit also helps organizations create an everboarding program designed to make every employee their best employee.

spekit topics

Let’s say the sales team is working on the Salesforce platform, and they need to learn how to create a Quick Cadence. When they select Quick Cadence in Salesforce, Spekit’s topic feature will bring up relevant topics in a sequence to help the team create a Quick Cadence. Each topic comes with Speks that offer tips and tricks.  

Want to make learning quick and easy for your employees? 

Try Spekit today!

4. Personalize Employee Development Plans

Personalized learning requires more than planning.  As a manager, you need to consider each worker’s skill set, needs, and educational background to create a training program tailored to their growth. By offering diverse learning opportunities, you keep everyone engaged. 

A platform like Spekit helps you streamline personalized learning. Using Speks, you can embed personalized training content into whatever tools your employees are using. Moreover, Spekit’s topics feature enables you to organize and group Speks so that your employees easily pick out what they need.

Personalize Employee Development Plans

5. Evaluate Your Efforts

Monitoring performance is crucial to achieving impactful employee development. Evaluate learning and development efforts by conducting regular check-ins and creating channels for employees to communicate feedback. This helps you monitor the progress of long-term goals and make necessary changes. 

Spekit’s analytics uses employee development metrics like engagement, retention, and feedback to show who participates in training, how much knowledge is retained, and whether employees find the training helpful. 

topic dashboard

Employee Development Examples

The common methods of employee development include:

Professional Training 

Professional training involves equipping employees with all the knowledge and technical skills they need to perform their jobs. A revenue team, for example, would get professional training in analytics, marketing automation, and sales. 

For effective professional training, you need a knowledge base like Spekit’s. It would be discouraging if employees had to source training materials from different platforms. Spekit’s knowledge base is a one-stop arena for storing all professional learning material your employees need. 

Using this feature, you can sort training materials into easy-to-follow learning paths, manage employee access to content, and see analytics that offer insights into whether your training method works. 

Analyze Employee Development Progress

Mentorship Opportunities

Mentorship offers both professional and personal development. It is ideal for developing leadership, communication, and strategic management skills. 

Typically, it involves connecting employees to mentors based on similar areas of interest and expertise. The best way to do this is through an application process where employees choose mentors that resonate with them. Mentorship progress should be monitored by holding regular check-ins and feedback sessions.

Soft Skills Coaching

Technical skills alone aren’t enough for career advancement. Top-performing workers have a good combination of technical and soft skills. Soft skills coaching helps employees better interact with fellow workers and customers. It involves developing skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, etc. 

Soft skills coaching is important because how employees interact with people outside the organization influences what people think about your business. 

Personalized Coaching

Personalized coaching caters to each team member's needs, skills, and goals. For instance, a sales or revenue team member might receive specialized coaching in client relationship management, negotiation techniques, understanding customer needs, or mastering sales software tools. 

If your employee development goal is to build an A+ sales enablement team or a revenue team that generates profit, a platform like Spekit will help you scale from ideation to driving revenue impact. 

With Spekit, you can create and share personalized training content in seconds. Spekit’s generative AI enables you to translate training materials into multiple languages, summarize lengthy content into bite-sized training, generate baseline content for playbooks, tool definitions, sales scripts–and much more.

personalized sales content

More about Employee Development 

Other factors to know when upskilling and reskilling employees: 

What is the employee life cycle?

The employee life cycle refers to the various important stages that employees go through within an organization. There are six stages in the employee life cycle: 

  • Attraction: This occurs when a potential applicant decides to apply to your organization. What draws applicants at this stage is your branding/organizational culture. 
  • Recruitment: Here, an applicant becomes an employee. The applicant's experience during this stage mostly determines their perception of your organization. 
  • Onboarding: Introducing employees to your organization’s corporate culture. It is important to onboard employees properly and even offer a continuous learning model
  • Retention: Keeping employees engaged and satisfied with their jobs. 
  • Career development: Supporting employees’ professional growth and development.
  • Separation: All good things must come to an end. This stage covers the process that occurs when an employee inevitably decides to leave the organization. 

This lifecycle enables HR managers to attract top talent, manage staff turnover rates, and help employees grow their careers.

What are the four stages of employee development?

This four-stage model helps create an effective training framework. The stages are: 

  1. Onboarding: Employees usually have high commitment and low competence at this stage. You must motivate them by providing adequate learning materials to help them blend into your organizational culture. 
  1. Performance: This stage of employee development involves researching and identifying what skills a new employee needs to do their job. Let’s say your new hire is in customer service; you would provide call center training in product and service knowledge, effective communication, problem-solving, etc. 
  1. Management: Here, an employee has grown enough to manage new hires. They must now supervise others, delegate work, and offer feedback. 
  1. Leadership: Employees become great managers during management, while some become great leaders. Offering leadership training will help employees fully grow into their potential.  

What does a good employee development plan look like?

An employee development plan is a formal document that covers the when and how of employee development. A good employee development plan is SMART. 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

It clearly shows the specific skill to be acquired, breaks down actions to be taken, and provides a realistic timeline for achieving the goal and a good basis for measurable progress. 

Improve Your Employee Development Processes

Employee development is a total win-win. You get highly skilled workers who contribute to the success of your business, and your employees get to advance their careers. 

Learning and development platforms like Spekit enable you to create and implement your employee development plan easily. Spekit’s just-in-time learning platform is what you need to turn every employee into a top performer. 

With Spekit, your employees don’t have to switch from their work platforms to a learning platform. The platform surfaces your training, knowledge, and coaching directly within the tools your reps use every day–so employee development is efficient, effective, and engaging. 

Automate and optimize your employee development process today. 

Try Spekit today!

About the author

Elle Brayton
Director, Content & Communications
Elle is a boy momma 2x, brand builder, storyteller, growth hacker, and marketing leader with 12+ years of experience scaling SaaS B2B organizations.
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