7 Steps to Creating Amazing Employee Growth Plans

Edge Team
November 22, 2023
min read
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When it comes to local businesses, your frontline employees shape your success.

But how do we ensure our employees feel valued? How do we retain our staff over time? What can we do to turn our employees into advocates for our brand? The answer lies in employee growth.

Career development plans keep your team happy, driven, and ambitious. This encourages an exceptional standard of service that keeps your customers coming back time and time again.

In this guide, we're going to explore the seven steps you need to employ to create a fantastic employee development strategy. But first, let's start with the basics. What is an employee growth plan, and why does it matter?

What is an employee growth plan?

A growth plan is an employee development program that outlines how a person will grow within your organization. Whether it's achieving a promotion, developing new skills in a current role, or transitioning into a new position entirely, fantastic growth plans help keep your frontline employees at the heart of your service.

Why does employee growth matter?

In a recent study, the Pew Research Center revealed that 63% of employees who leave their jobs do so because there are no opportunities for advancement. If this statistic tells us anything, it's that employees want to feel like they can grow within your company. Here are four key ways providing growth opportunities are essential for your business.

Growth opportunities turn employees into brand promoters

When you provide opportunities for employees to grow within your company, they become more engaged, motivated, and driven. This makes it more likely your staff will genuinely care about your service business, empowering them to become loyal advocates for your brand.

Growth opportunities improve employee retention

Personal development plans give your employees something to work toward, meaning it's more likely they'll be motivated to stick around for the long run. Plus, growth plans show you value your current employees, improving their workplace satisfaction.

Growth opportunities benefit your customers

Developing a tailored progression plan for employees makes your employees feel like a valued part of your local service business. Your staff will become invested in your success because they understand you want the same for them. This empowers your team to have authentic workplace interactions, helping to increase customer satisfaction.

7 steps to outstanding employee development plans

1. Create a positive environment for growth

When it comes to your local service business, a positive, inviting workplace culture is the cornerstone of professional growth. Ensuring employees feel safe in their roles means they have the confidence to aim higher, learn from their mistakes, and push themselves to improve.

To achieve this goal, foster employee autonomy and encourage open communication. When you empower individual employees to make decisions and take ownership of their successes and failures without fear of repercussion, you improve employee satisfaction, drive engagement, and motivate employees to learn and grow.

When an employee makes a mistake, use it as an opportunity for learning. When they go above and beyond to satisfy a customer, reward them with praise and incentives. If they provide constructive feedback, take it into account. The more you can prove to your staff members that you value them, the more they'll understand they have the opportunity to develop within your local service business.

2. Understand your business goals

If your career development plan is going to succeed, you need to make sure you can fulfill your end of the deal.

Promoting the possibility of internal growth and salary boosts to your staff is a great way to boost employee motivation in the short term, but if your organizational goals don't align with this promise, you'll struggle to keep employees engaged in the long run.

Is your local service business planning to expand? You'll need new staff leaders. Testing a new customer service strategy? In that case, a training program can help your employees grow their confidence under your new system. Planning to launch a new menu in the coming months? Perhaps you have a staff member interested in learning how to market.

Understanding your company goals is the first piece of the employee growth puzzle. Now, when you ask your employees about their career aspirations, you'll already have a framework in mind of how their individual goals can align with your own.

3. Ask your team about their career goals

An effective employee development plan is never one-size-fits-all. Your strategy must be employee-driven and tailored to every individual's aspirations, strengths, and weaknesses. It's all too common to assume that every frontline employee hopes to transition into a management role, but many people have other professional goals that drive them.

For example, some employees may want to achieve a better work-life balance that aligns with their family commitments. Others may want to develop a new skill set, feel a deeper sense of work satisfaction, or grow their confidence.

The first step to employee retention and long-term growth is understanding what your staff wants from your business. Arranging a one-on-one meeting to discuss career paths is a great way to understand how your frontline employees hope to progress. It also shows that you care about their long-term goals, fostering employee engagement and leading to long-term job satisfaction.

4. Build an action plan

At this point, you have all the essential ingredients for a great professional development plan. Now, it's time to put these elements together.

When constructing your employee growth plan, ask yourself these key questions:

  • What does my employee want to achieve?
  • How can their career goals intertwine with my business objectives?
  • What does my employee need from me to achieve their goal?
  • How can I meet these needs?

Building an individual action plan is a collaborative process. It's essential to listen to feedback from your employees and work alongside them to create a tailored plan that works both for you and your members of staff.

5. Invest in development opportunities

Now that your plan is in place, it's time to put it into action.

Offering training opportunities for your staff to learn new employee skills shows you care about their long-term career growth.

For example, providing coaching and one-to-one training is an excellent way to support employees who want to build leadership skills. Similarly, group workshops, classes, and assignments are a great way to help employees gain communication skills and customer service techniques. These training plans show that you value your staff and want to help them achieve their development goals.

In all situations, investing in continuous learning opportunities and additional training is the best way to help your employees meet and exceed their career growth plans.

6. Recognize and reward good performances

As your employees work towards their goals, it's important that you reward their performances. Giving bonuses, financial incentives, or verbal recognition shows that you recognize your staff and care about their personal development. Incorporating a culture of recognition into your workplace will help you retain high-quality employees for years to come. 

7. Choose the right employee growth platform

Employee development plans can be a real challenge for local service businesses. Keeping track of great performance, fostering a positive workplace culture, and remembering to reward employees for hard work can be a logistical nightmare.

Fortunately, by leveraging technology like Edge's employee growth platform, it's now easier than ever to review and reward your employees for their hard work. Here’s how the platform works:

1) The Edge platform automates the feedback process, prompting customers at the Point of Sale to mention employees by name in reviews. 

2) When an employee receives a mention, they receive real-time recognition and can even gain rewards for their efforts.

3) Our innovative dashboard makes it easy to set up sales competitions, monitor employee performance, and recognize your top performers.

4) Motivated employees translate to better job performance, higher retention rates, and more loyalty to your business.

5) Our platform empowers your employees to become advocates for your local service business, helping to promote positive customer experiences.

With Edge, you'll have all of the tools you need to help your staff reach their short-term goals and achieve long-term success. And the best part? 

Shutting up shop

Employee growth is the beating heart of your local service business. When talented employees feel valued, they perform better, work harder, and care more about your company. This translates into better customer experiences, which leads to more employee recognition. It's the perfect cycle. 

We hope this guide has set you on the path to success. If you're searching for a way to make the journey easier, choose Edge. We're making it easier for service businesses like yours to leverage the greatest asset you possess—your very own frontline employees.

Find out more about Edge today and browse our pricing plans today.

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