Employee learning and development is an essential part of any business. With the right plan, obviously you can maximize your employees' contribution to the business.  But what if you could inspire, motivate and build something amazing in your staff?  With the right plan, you can definitely have this and more.

Step #1 - What do YOU (not them) want?

Seriously, if you aren’t clear on your outcome, how can you expect to create theirs?  Hopefully it will be something like “to create an inspired, happy and productive team.”  But it might be “to get rid of dead weight”.

Netflix culture has the famous saying “we’re a team, not a family.”  

It doesn’t matter what it is, just so long as it is true to you.

Words Create Worlds - Abraham Joshua Heschel

Step #2 - Know your boundaries & limitations – what restrictions are you working under?

Generally this is either time and/or budget.  You need to be clear on what you can (and can't do) before you start the conversation.

Step #3 - This is where the fun begins!  What do THEY want?

Be careful of hearing the “right” answer.  Some people will tell you want you want to hear.  You need to dig deeper than that.  You’re looking for some emotion, some juice.  Even better if they say something that has nothing to do with their job or the company.


  • The QA tester who wants to become a Software Developer
  • The Software Developer who wants to become a Business Analyst
  • The Software Architect who wants to become a Pastry Chef

I know right - pastry chef?  Hang in there, I'll address this next:

Step #4 -  How do you think we can achieve this?

I love this question, because it puts the responsibility back on them.  Your job isn’t to “do” the work for them.  Be prepared to give prompts, guidance or support.

Pastry Chef - what does that mean?  Is that school for 1 day a week?  Is it work in the evening?  I dunno...  That's their job to find out what it requires.

But lets say it is 2x evenings per week and they need to leave early to get to class on time.  Great!  There's still work to do - how will that get done right?  

Who knows?  But one thing I can assure you - if they really really want to learn (anything) an engaged, committed staff member will move heaven & earth to make it happen!

Step #5 -  Track, Monitor & Measure

This should be self-evident, but it critical.  How will you know if you are on track (or not)?

I have always loved the metaphor of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.  When Buzz Aldrin & Neil Armstrong were off track (ie if they continued, they would miss the moon!) They didn’t panic, they didn’t loose their mind.  What did they do?  They did slight adjustments to put themselves back on track.

You should do the same with your staff!

To create the perfect employee learning and development plan requires work – on both sides.

Sure, my approach is a little unconventional.  But it works!

Give it a try, if it doesn’t work, throw it out and go back to your old ways.

But what if it does…  What if it does work?  What would be different?  What could change in your team member(s)?  What could change in you?

Good luck!

You got this 😉