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What is Employee Development and Why is it Important?

12 min read

Imagine a workplace where every employee is culture driven and enthusiastic about their work, every new employee who comes in immediately engages with the work culture and is every bit as enthusiastic as the others. 

It sounds like an HR’s dream, doesn’t it? 

Now, imagine the same scenario but with each passing day the employees start to feel a little less enthusiastic about their work, and eventually one of them feels that their work is getting monotonous or repetitive.  

They start to look for what more they can do in their work so that they can have a bit of a change, but they are convinced that it’s a dead end, all the enthusiasm towards their work suddenly plummets. 

Before it even catches on to the HR’s radar, the employee is disengaged and wants to exit the company. 

What could have gone wrong, where was the gap that the HR or the management of the organization couldn’t see that drove the employee to feel that they were stuck in a dead-end job? 

And with a feeling as such, how long until the employees walk out? 

The answer to all the questions is Employee Development 

What is Employee Development?

Employee development is a process of upgrading and working on finetuning the employees’ existing competencies and helping employees develop new skills so that they are more aligned with the organizational goals. 

Some important focus points to remember about employee development are: 

  • They are not just about the organizational learning and development programs 
  • They go beyond the annual meetings with the employees and discussing their shortcomings and highlighting the areas of improvement 
  • It is more than implementing mandatory training for all employees. 

Employee development, like other things, requires investment, both in terms of time and effort as well as finances, but when done right the results pay off in the long run. 

For an organization, to let go of an employee with limited skills or to develop the same employee with the required skills that are on par with the company standards will cost money. 

However, when you upskill the employee and take time to develop them, you end up retaining them in the long run, which is win-win for all the parties involved. 

By doing so, the company can avoid the time and cost of hiring a new employee as a replacement, it has helped the company to get more out of the time and money invested in the existing employee, and it helps the HR to build better learning and development programs for the organization that suits each department the best. 

Benefits of Employee Development 

A carefully crafted and thought-out employee development strategy is crucial on all levels. And when you execute it well it can show benefits to all the parties involved. 

Some of said benefits are: 

Performance Improvement 

Companies need to maintain their ‘A game’ to stay and thrive in the competition. Organizations need to constantly outperform their competitors. 

Employee development can help to exceed performance expectations. 

Poor performance is often the result of employees not being completely aware of how their job is done properly. 

Investing in employee development from your bottom-line up can have a positive impact and will significantly improve performance. 

Better handle on uncertain and unexpected situations 

Today’s world is all about changing tides, it’s the same in the business environment as well, this change does not just create challenges, but also provides opportunities of growth that would be otherwise unexpected. 

It is therefore absolutely vital for the employees to be able to adapt quickly and effectively to these changes and ever-evolving times. 

Creating a culture of learning within the organization 

Companies usually advertise their job postings with attractive perks that are offered to the employees, however, it is also important for the prospective applicants to want to apply to the posted jobs. 

Helping the employees develop their talent through personalized development plans can create a significantly attractive work environment. 

Companies with a more mature employee development plan are more likely to use it as a recruitment tool. Implementing a robust development program is a step towards that direction. 

Cost effective (via retention of employees) 

Investing in your existing employees’ skill development programs is essential to ensure that the workforce is able to do what it must do to “keep the ship afloat”. However, employee development can also be a huge money-saver in the long run. 

Grooming the potential of good employees to great leaders 

If an organization is expected to survive and thrive in the long run, it needs to consistently produce and shape a stream of good employees into great managers. 

Unfortunately, great leaders are hard to find but good employees with potential are all around us. It’s an HR’s and a manager’s responsibility to identify such potential and groom the employees. 

To identify such potential, one must look for leadership traits in the employees. 

List of Top 10 Leadership Traits 

  • Be Results Orientated 
  • Be Customer Focused 
  • Have a Vision 
  • Be Strategically Focused 
  • Effectively Get Work Done Through Others 
  • Be Good at Dealing with Conflict 
  • Ask Great Questions 
  • Make High-Quality Decisions 
  • Be a Trusted Leader 
  • Be an Incredible Communicator 

A more engaged workforce 

Having a workforce that is highly committed and motivated at every level is crucial for an organization’s success.  

It’s no secret that all the employees always have room for improvement. Making the employees aware of the gap between where they currently stand and where they need to stand to be the best creates a drive for them to close that gap. 

Having a good employee development program lets you lend the employees a hand in closing that gap faster. 

A well-defined employee engagement program should include aspects of training and skill development in order to balance out all the critical motivational factors. 

Effective methods of employee development 

There is not one sure shot method when it comes to employee development. There are many methods that one can choose from, although some of them are more effective than others. 

There is more to employee development than just planning a training or upskill program. It is a lot more robust and complex. It involves exposing the employees to new information and ideas in many ways. 

From delegating more work to them, switching them to other roles and even building a mentorship program. 

As for the learning, it depends on the person that is being trained. Despite the different kinds of learners, here are some methods that have been proven to be more effective than others: 

Effective Methods of Employee Development Infographic

Impact of Employee Development on other aspects of HR: 

With an effective implementation of employee development in an organization, it does not just help the employees that are being trained but the organization as a whole. 

Employee Development, like many other functions, has a domino effect, which can also be defined as gear effect, when one is turned, it has a parallel effect on many others. 

We will be exploring more into the effects of its impact on these other aspects of the organization and HR. 

A few to name are the following: 


As mentioned in the benefits part of this article, employee development leads to employee engagement. 

When given an opportunity and a platform to grow, employees set new goals and work towards them therefore being more engaged with their work. 

Training programs are also a great interactive platform where employees can be in a social setting in the organization. 


When an employee feels that they have hit a dead-end at their workplace where they can no longer grow in their career, they feel less engaged and soon will look for other opportunities. 

When these employees are given an opportunity to learn and develop their skills within the organization, they feel motivated as they are now presented with an opportunity to grow in their career. 

Providing opportunities for growth and development helps in engaging the employees and retaining them. 

Employer Brand 

Employer brand in the essence of it is all about creating value in the organization where the organization gains a reputation such that all the potential candidates want to be a part of the organization. 

When the organization creates a culture of learning the employees can not just see a career path but also are willing to work towards it.  

This leads to a positive shift towards the employer brand as the company culture engages the employees and also works towards developing and polishing their skills. 


Placing employee development in the center and making it part of your culture benefits your business in more ways than one. 

Investing in your employees leads to a more engaged workforce that has proven to be more effective and productive than those that have a disengaged workforce. 

Employees who feel appreciated by their company for the work and effort they have put in are more likely to reach out and engage in their work and fulfill their potential. 

In turn this employee- employer relationship promotes career growth in the robust company culture. 

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    Meet the author

    Balaji Sogathur

    Trying to get my head out of the world of anime and manga and adding bit of that flavor in my work is not just fun but also satisfying. My ignition on the creative engine never goes off, maybe you’ll see a bit of that in my puns.


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