The Importance of Employee Development at Work

This article will guide you through all things employee development—from the benefits to the practical ways you can deploy training at work.

Employee development session with one team lead and two team members highfiving

What is Employee Development?

Employee development is any kind of training that aims to add new skills or improve existing ones for workers of any level in the organization. Common examples include soft skills training, industry knowledge development, skills training, professional certifications, continuing education, and more.

Importance and Benefits

A stagnant workforce causes a stagnant organization. If the employees do not grow, there is no way the organization will continue to prosper. 

Infographic on the Benefits of Employee Development

Benefits and Importance of Employee Development at Work

Employee development is all about creating opportunities for growth and innovation. In fact, LinkedIn reported that workplace learning and development is the secret to an organization’s success. Here are some ways employee development is so essential:

  • Boosts productivity: When you invest in employees’ growth, they’ll feel valued. This means that they’ll work harder to achieve their goals and contribute more effectively to their teams.
  • Improves retention rate: Growth is one of the top assets modern employees seek in their roles. When team members feel like they are growing in responsibilities, they’re less likely to move around and feel restless at work.
  • Increases morale: Teams that grow together are more likely to enjoy working together. When everyone is improving and learning new skills, they’ll have a healthier disposition at work.
  • Cuts costs: This doesn’t mean your workplace won’t invest in experts. How you can cut costs with employee development is through efficiency. When workers are well-trained, they’re less likely to make mistakes or keep the workflow inefficient. With highly skilled employees, your business will more likely profit and grow than remain unmoving.
  • Gets an edge over competitors: A key part of growth and employee development in the workplace is innovation. When you train employees in high-level skills, you’ll be able to keep your business ahead of the competition. Investing in learning, training, and development includes encouraging innovation and creativity.

Types of Employee Development Programs

Various kinds of employee development methods depend on the specific training goals. Strategies for promoting employee growth within organizations are also tied to the current level of each team member. For example, new hires require onboarding training, while more senior employees will want to be involved in certifications in career advancement.

Here are some common examples of employee development programs you can roll out to your teams:

  • Compliance training: Think of compliance training as essential to any employee development program. These programs are required by the government or regulatory bodies to help employees become more effective, productive, and safer in any workplace. 
  • Skills certification: Certification is a great way to motivate employees to build their skills. With certification, your team members can be sure they’re getting standardized training programs with proper recognition that they can use in future endeavors. 
  • Diversity training: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training is an asset to any employee, for it shows their dedication to keeping a workplace safe and productive. Several studies have shown that diversity training impacts employee performance, so this has become an important aspect of the modern workplace.
  • Leadership training: Getting your employees ready for managerial roles and leadership responsibilities involves training them in essential skills like relationship building, decision-making, systems coordination, and more.
  • Soft skills training: Soft skills are behaviors and abilities that define and redefine how an employee performs at work. Communication, creativity, and critical thinking are just a few soft skills that your employees can develop to give them an edge and contribute more impactfully at work.

Effective Ways to Deliver Training in the Modern Workplace

Traditional forms of employee training often include sit-down lectures, long talks, and even seminars, which learners don’t always look forward to. Modern training technology and strategies have addressed these issues through new tools and effective training practices.

Here are some examples of effective ways to deliver training in your workplace:

  • E-earning: Modern workplace training involves technology like learning management systems and online learning courses to help training be simpler, etc.
  • Social Learning: Learning with experts in your workplace leverages existing knowledge within your teams without sourcing outside help. Social learning can be done through forums, feedback sessions, and virtual classrooms.
  • Microlearning: Microlearning is a kind of e-learning strategy that involves bite-sized training courses that are designed to help learners retain information much more efficiently. This is done through interactive and engaging microcourses that are personalized and targeted for the learner.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Development Training Programs

Employee development doesn’t stop at delivering training programs. Instead, among their important aspects include assessment and growth. Working with your teams to understand the impact of training will help make the overall learning process more effective. 

Understanding the performance, profile, and progress of learners will help you gain insight into creating more effective programs. Here are some practical ways you can measure the impact and effectiveness of your training programs:

1. Set employee development goals.

One of the best ways to assess employee growth is through goals and objectives. Employee development goals are signposts of achievable progress that will motivate your learners to achieve their potential. 

Here are some examples of employee development goals you can provide your teams with:

  • Deepen industry knowledge: Aim to familiarize your team members with industry terminologies and skills that are relevant to their role or future career progression. When they set their goal to deepen their knowledge, all things follow.
  • Improve communication skills: Communication is necessary in all fields and even more important when stepping into bigger roles. Set your sights on becoming effective communicators to ensure your teams will be invaluable to any project.
  • Achieve baseline technical knowledge: Learn the basics of anything. Simplifying your employee goals will encourage them to broaden their horizons down the line. You can break the rules when you don’t know them.
  • Maintain consistent time management: Time management can be an underrated goal because it doesn’t come across as a necessary skill. But it is. Time management needs to be practiced and exercised. Encourage your teams to make it their goal priority because it will be essential to growth in all ways.
  • Foster problem-solving skills: The most effective employees are the ones who are great problem-solvers. Aim to problem-solving teams, and you’ll be surprised where it’ll take your employees and teams. 

2. Use effective employee development tracking methods.

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to track progress. Tracking comes in different forms, and depending on your team goals this can also vary. It is highly recommended that your tracking is personalized and relevant to your employees. 

Progress monitoring allows you to understand the challenges your employees are facing in their development or training stages. Here are just some ways you can track development progress:

  • Surveys
  • Assessments or quizzes
  • 1-on-1 discussions
  • Data analytics and reporting

3. Improve training programs with feedback and evaluations.

Now that your teams have gone through training and development programs, it’s time to evaluate and improve training development even further. Think of this step as another collaborative process for your teams. The best practice is to send feedback forms or evaluation surveys to your teams for assessments.

Discuss the points of contention and improvement and apply them accordingly. These surveys and feedback sessions will also help you broaden the scope of your training programs. 

Continuous learning in the workplace is key to an ever-evolving and innovative team. E-learning tools have this step integrated into their courses, so automation is a great way to go.


Here are some of the difficulties you and your teams can face when deploying or developing employee training programs:

  • Time: Training can take a lot of time away from your team’s main roles and responsibilities. It doesn’t simply end after your courses, for some programs require homework or follow-up evaluations.
  • Lack of resources: Learning tools and resources can be quite costly and inaccessible. 
  • Learner pace: Your employees can learn at different speeds, which can affect the overall training programs.
  • External factors: Unforeseen circumstances and work-related factors can impact the duration, effectiveness, and schedule of your training.
  • Employee engagement: Sometimes, your employees will lack the motivation or drive to put themselves out there for growth and training.

FAQs about Employee Development

Either your people teams or managers take charge of employee development and training. Depending on the organizational goals, training delivery will also differ. For example, for onboarding it will be HR or people teams that will handle general organizational information.

The best practice is to evaluate right after the training program or whenever they finish a course. It’s also important to evaluate the overall progress of learners based on their entire training program. At least twice a year is also recommended.

These terms tend to be interchangeable, but a good key difference is their impact. Employee training tends to be short-term, aimed at equipping employees with the skills they need at their day-to-day jobs. Meanwhile, employee development looks at the long-term (career-long) goals of the employee.

Discuss training goals with your team members directly. If you can, automate this process by sending in surveys and assessment forms to give you a broad perspective on team needs. Make sure these are aligned to both short and long-term goals.

Alec Bailon
Article by
Alec Bailon
Alec Bailon is an eLearning expert and content writer for SafetyCulture. They specialize in training, learning technology, mobile workplace development solutions, and related fields. Their experience in the eLearning industry helps them write effective learning solutions for workplace safety.