May 7, 2024
7 min read

How to Create an Employee Growth Plan in 6 Steps + Template

In this article:

While it may seem that everyone understands the importance of professional development, almost one in five companies struggle with misguided reskilling goals for employees.

Insisting on a one-size-fits-all approach to professional development programs often overlooks the unique strengths and career aspirations of your employees that could benefit both them and your organization as a whole.

The solution is to create personalized employee development plans that meet both employee's interests and organizational needs. As a result, your employees will be more motivated to pursue their career development goals.

In this article, you'll learn how to create an employee growth plan that benefits everyone.

What is an employee growth plan?

employee growth plan


The employee growth plan is a strategic plan of action that focuses both on employee personal development and professional goals while making sure they align with the company's broader objectives. 

Employees and their supervisors or HR managers typically collaborate on creating development plans that serve as a roadmap for employees to acquire knowledge and new skills or improve existing ones and a checkpoint against which to measure their progress.

Every professional development plan should consider three elements:

  1. Company's needs: What kind of skill sets and expertise does the company currently need to stay competitive in the market? Are there any internal job openings that need to be filled?
  2. Employee's competencies: What are their strengths and weaknesses? Which skills can be leveraged to improve company performance? Which areas need to be improved?
  3. Employee's interests and passions: The most successful growth plans are those based on job aspects the employee is genuinely interested in and their own job motivators. Look for those areas and see whether some of them overlap with your company's goals or can be slightly modified to help support company growth.

How to create an employee growth plan in 6 steps

We'll now guide you through concrete steps of creating employee development plans.

Ask employees to do a self-evaluation

employee growth plan


Self-evaluation is the first step that serves to prepare employees for the meeting with the HR manager and make sure they're clear on what they actually want.

Encourage your employees to reflect honestly on their strengths, weaknesses, career aspirations, and skills they want to improve. You could also provide them with a template or self-performance review examples to help them come up with their own.

Self-evaluation has many benefits: it's cost-effective, it saves you a lot of time and it can increase employee motivation, as it makes them feel like they're in charge of their career development.

Conduct a 360-degree performance review

Employee Growth Plan on effy ai

A 360-degree performance review allows you to collect feedback on your employees' strengths and weaknesses from multiple sources: their peers, managers, subordinates, and even your clients and other stakeholders.

The fastest and most efficient way is to do this through 360 feedback software such as Effy AI. Here are some things our tool offers:

  • Ready-to-use templates: Just pick a template and you're ready to run your performance reviews. Check out these 360 feedback questions to see what it can look like.
  • AI-generated summary: If you don't have time to analyze all the responses, our software will do it for you and provide you with a summary or even create an individual development plan for each employee.
  • Anonymization: Our tool supports creating an honest feedback culture by allowing your employees to stay anonymous and express themselves freely.
  • Fast deployment: You can set up our tool with only a few clicks and run your employee surveys on Slack. And the best thing is that you can run unlimited reviews with its forever-free version. Sign up today and check it out.

Our target market is enterprises and small businesses alike, as you don't need an in-house HR team to do performance reviews regularly.

Identify growth areas

If some complaints or suggestions keep repeating, that's great because it means you've just identified potential areas of improvement for employees.

Here are some of the most common growth areas:

  • Communication skills
  • Technical and digital skills
  • Time management
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving skills

However, we suggest focusing on one or a maximum of two areas at a time, as you don't want to put too much pressure on your employees. A skill gap analysis is another useful tool to help you choose areas to prioritize.

Set goals with employees

Once you've decided which areas are your top priorities, it's time to break them down into measurable goals that will help your company and employees achieve growth. There are many goal-setting systems, but the SMART framework remains one of the most popular for a good reason.

Make sure that the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Goals should be relevant both to your individual employees and the broader company's plans.

Create an action plan

employee growth plan


Finally, it's time to create a personalized growth plan for each employee. They should be clear and detailed, provide guidance, and ideally be broken down into milestones.

Here are the three key elements:

  1. Actions: Here, you should specify the exact steps the employee needs to take to reach their goal.
  2. Resources: Identify all the resources that can support employee's professional development, whether they're already available or you need to obtain them. Resources can include courses, training programs, materials, and new tools, but also people like mentors and business trainers. They can be internal, such as mentorship provided by a senior colleague or external like purchasing an online course or hiring a professional trainer if there are no people with adequate skill sets in your organization.
  3. Timelines: You should set realistic deadlines not only for the final goal but also for all the steps along the way, making it easier to track employee's progress over time.

Schedule check-in meetings

Once you've broken down employee goals into smaller milestones, you should schedule check-in meetings. Their frequency can depend on many factors, such as how big or complex employee's goals are and the level of support they need.

The more often, the better. However, at a minimum, you should schedule quarterly check-ins if you don't want employee's goals to get lost in day-to-day tasks.

Employee growth plan: Template

Click on the link to download a printable employee growth plan template.

Why create an employee growth plan?

There are many benefits to creating growth plans for your employees, but these are the main ones:

  • Higher employee retention: According to McKinsey's research, one of the most common reasons people quit their jobs is a lack of career development. Therefore, providing growth opportunities and clear employee career paths leads to more satisfied employees who are more likely to stay with your company.
  • Improved engagement: Employees are more likely to be engaged and motivated when working on career goals that are aligned with their personal aspirations and interests. The way to achieve that is through collaborating on creating personalized growth plans. Also, allowing them to create their own professional development plan shows that you value and respect them.
  • Reduced skill gaps: Finally, this approach to employee development leads to benefits organization-wide. You'll not only be able to close skill gaps without having to hire many new employees, but you'll also make sure that your workforce evolves alongside the industry’s changes, making you more prepared for potential challenges in the future.


Creating an employee development plan starts with assessing your employees’ current skills, strengths, and weaknesses.

What if we told you that you could do that in one day and completely free?

We've prepared templates that you can use right away to gather feedback on your employees' performance from multiple sources. And if you don't have time to analyze it, our software can do it for you.

What's more, it can even create custom employee development plans with only a few clicks.

Create a free plan today!


How do you write a growth plan for an employee?

Start by assessing each employee’s current level of skills and defining clear development objectives that align with your business goals and employee preferences. Break down larger goals into smaller milestones, outline actionable steps, and set a timeline for review and adjustments.

What should I write in my employee development plan?

You should write down areas of improvement, including clear goals and action steps for each area. Then, add the necessary resources and specify the timeline for implementing action steps and check-ins.

How do you write a growth goal?

Make sure that the goal is measurable, achievable and relevant to both an employee and your organization. Growth goals should also be specific and time-bound, so add a deadline for achieving the goal.

What’s Effy software?
Performance review
Easily launch review cycles in your way, track progress.
360 degree feedback
Collect feedback from peers and managers. Identify strength and improvements areas.
Choose templates that are right for you. Start review process in 15 min.
Collaborate effectively with team meeting agenda, action items and meeting notes
Personal development plan
Develop your people by providing them an explicit plan to the next level. Track goals progression.
AI generated insights & Analytics
AI will generate an extended summary for every employee, including top strength, areas to improve and action plan.
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