12 Ideas for Employee Development and Growth in 2022 | Thomas.co

There is more to employee development than simply job skills. It’s about developing your team to be the best it can be whilst increasing employee morale and strengthening your business at the same time. 

By embracing a culture of continuous improvement and development, you are allowing your organisation to attract the best talent to join your business and hopefully, stay for a very long time - beating your competitors and offering something constantly evolving and different to the marketplace. 

In this guide you will learn more about employee development, why it is essential in 2022 and finally provide 12 effective employee development ideas that you can implement in your organisation today. 

What is employee development?

Employee development (also known as Talent Development) is a strategy to ensure that your workforce has the skills necessary to perform exceptionally in their role. Training focuses on current and future business needs and the skills that are and will be necessary to support them.

Employee development is a process of educating employees so they can continue providing valuable contributions to their company.

When considering employee development you want to understand the relationship between staff development and staff training. The latter is all about doing, and employee development is more about being. Employee training focuses on developing skill sets, whereas employee development focuses on developing mindsets. Naturally, this will contribute to the success of any company when marrying the two components together. 

Another consideration to employee development programs is how they can be aligned with the organisation’s plans and budget - and done so to the benefit of the organisation. These programs should have clearly defined objectives and be informed by the needs and wishes of employees. For example, an organisation that specialises in software development could benefit from a development program on time keeping or going a little more left-field and developing creative ideas. 

There are two main types of employee development opportunities - on-the-job and off-the-job. The former is where training is provided at the workplace during the performance of the actual job, the latter is when training is given outside of the workplace and is more theoretical than practical. Other differences between the two are that for on the job training it is more a training solution delivered by experienced employees and the principle is to learn by performing; the latter on the other hand is learning is acquired by knowledge and the training is delivered by professionals or experts. 

Any employee development program can use traditional delivery methods such as workshops, video training and formal education. However, there are new ways and methods of training that should be considered such as gaming, video learning and many more which we will discuss later in the guide.

Why employee development is essential in 2022

Employee development has always been an essential part of the working experience but in the last three years and certainly during the pandemic, it has been put on the backburner for many organisations. In fact, the skills gap between colleagues who are experienced and new starters has grown over this time. 

According to a McKinsey & Company study, it found that a large majority of companies worldwide (87%) are aware that they either already have a skills gap or will have one within a few years - this is why employee development has become an essential part of working life - especially to remain competitive and to motivate employees who may be looking for new opportunities after the global pandemic. 

When analysing the skills gap that is affecting global businesses it also showed that more than half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new responsibilities driven by automation and new technologies as according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Thanks to these new challenges (AI and automation), it places a greater emphasis on achieving strong employee development programs to not only manage the requirements for the business today, but also for the future. One of the advantages of the digital age is that we can take current technology to already better prepare teams and access ongoing staff development through online courses, training and interactive programs that can be tailored to the individual. 

The pandemic has also ushered in the WFH revolution that has meant that skilled people can work for global companies - from their homes - which is even more pressing when it comes to developing your employees as they need to be motivated and require input into their professional growth.

The right staff development programs can also work to help reduce staff turnover, reduce absenteeism, boost motivation and morale and promote employee engagement. Not only is this good for the employees but naturally for the organisation as well. 

12 effective employee development ideas

When developing an employee development program or plan, you need to think clearly about the objectives and goals of your organisation and how they can help contribute to the development of your employees as well. An employee development plan is used to ensure that the employee is growing personally, developing their ability to achieve more in the workplace, retain top talent and meet the organisation’s goals. They are working documents which should also be designed to be flexible for the individuals and organisations goals. 

Before creating a plan, you want to consider a few different things and these should include:

  • Analysis of the current staff development provisions 

What is currently being used, what is lacking from the training needs of the staff - i.e. technology or time. 

  • Feedback from employees regarding what they want - and the formats they prefer

What methods does your staff better learn from? What formats are preferred - i.e. in person training or online learning away from the office. 

  • Budget and buy-in from the board

For any development program to fully work it requires the budget and the buy-in from the board. 

Here are just a few ideas that can be used to develop your employee training program:

Ask employees what they want and need

If you want to better develop your employees, start by asking them what they want to develop. Work on getting feedback from your employees in one-to-one meetings and even in group chats about the kinds of things that they specifically want and need when it comes to their development. 

This will not only help with employee engagement - in the whole process - but it will provide a more tailored solution to the requirements of the staff and the organisation. 

Establish a training schedule

Make it easy for employees to set aside time in their schedules for professional development by establishing a regular time for training sessions.

It could be that you do your training on Thursdays and call them “Training on Thursday’s” so that it also creates a wider organisational culture around training and development. It could be that there are different types of training happening each week of the month.

Start with skill training which could be slated for the first week, leadership development could happen in the second week, with other types of development activities scheduled for the other weeks. 

This will make it easy for employees to engage in training and development - without impacting their regular work priorities and also schedule anything around their development so it keeps it at the forefront of their mind. 

Create a leadership development program

A leadership development program is designed to provide staff with a clear development path that provides mentoring, training and organisational planning, with individual activities such as job rotation, job shadowing and even project leadership. 

Not only does it help staff to remain engaged but it can also help retain personnel as their needs are being met. Another important aspect of the development of a leadership development program is, it is future proofing the organisation’s leadership needs.

When it comes to transitioning the organisational leadership, whether that is in a few years or in many years to come, a program that is designed to pick out the future leaders is only to the benefit of the organisation. 

Provide opportunities for knowledge sharing

If you are looking for a way to not only team build but also develop better interpersonal relationships around your organisation, one of the most effective ways to do this is to run knowledge sharing sessions. This could be done through workshops or even, one-to-one guidance to workmates who need specific skills etc.

If your workplace culture is defined by open communication, it’ll help foster an environment conducive to growth. Providing opportunities for employees to volunteer and share what they’ve learned with other team members — this can be done via profiles or interviews in the employee newsletter or company-wide updates.

One of the key benefits of developing knowledge sharing around the organisation is that departments get to know each other and speak about issues that they may be encountering as well finding new and different solutions to their issues. 

Establish a mentoring program

As part of the knowledge sharing ideas, a mentoring program could be established to take this one step further. This is where a formal mentoring program is created so that trainees are paired with knowledgeable and experienced mentors who can be beneficial to the development of the ideas and knowledge base around the organisation.

Other advantages include, building employee loyalty and fostering a culture of belonging, building leadership skills for both junior and senior employees,  and even cross department knowledge of the organisation. Importantly, tap into your resources to help develop your employee development needs. 

Introduce lunch and learn sessions

One of the big developments in training over the last decade has been the ‘lunch and learn sessions’ which are designed to be short sessions, based around lunch time, where a member of the team or senior employee gives a training seminar whilst others can have lunch and equally participate and ask questions throughout. 

The organisation could even provide lunch - to help make the training session more attractive for the participants but, this kind of training is useful for remote workers as well as those in the office. 

Training is also not limited to in-house professionals, it could be that you bring in external presenters or tutors who have a more relaxed atmosphere to work in. 

Pay for tuition

There are many different types of tuition that you can look at to help with your employee development, whether that is undertaking formal and external educational programs (e.g. degree courses) by covering the cost of tuition - or partially covering the cost - or specific training programs which focus on one particular skill set - again, paying fully or partially for the tuition fee.

Recognise and reward accomplishments

If employees are completing training, be sure to give kudos for their achievements. Whether it is something as simple as awarding certificates of attendance for training sessions or programs to something more elaborate like a company wide email, this can help motivate staff and encourage them to develop further.

If you offer multiple courses, combine related topics into programs and celebrate when students “graduate” from topic-specific programs or levels of achievement. You could even host an awards banquet quarterly or semi-annually to recognize team members who reach development milestones and have made significant contributions and changes thanks to the development program. 

You want to develop a platform that makes it easy and fun for people to be acknowledged and acknowledge their own accomplishments and contributions. 

Gamify eLearning Opportunities

eLearning has shaped a lot of training opportunities during the pandemic but, there is a high percentage of participants that don't finish the programs (completion rates below 20%). This can be down to time required - especially if people are at their desk all day at home to the program not being interesting enough in the first place. 

But gamification of these resources boosts engagement and completion rates up to 90%. The competition aspect of gamified learning generally inspires employees to work harder on their tasks and score even higher on their assessments. 

Use video and virtual simulations

A study in psychology today found that the human brain can process and retain video information up to 60,000 times faster than text - using video and virtual simulations are widely being recognised as one of the most effective and engaging ways to educate staff.

However, there are right ways and wrong ways to deliver video sessions and simulations. Keep them short, combine them with other learning resources, focus on delivering sessions that reinforce quizzes and games to help with learning and even little tests to see if the lesson has been absorbed by the participants. 

Invest in mobile-friendly learning resources

Mobile learning is an extension of the previous point but it’s a great way to help gain  access to educational content via mobile devices, allowing learners to complete courses anywhere and at any time. During the pandemic this was helpful for many who were working remotely or from home but today, those who commute on the train or have time after work can easily access this information through their most used mobile devices. 

It helps to provide training and appeals to those with busy schedules - making learning and development opportunities more accessible.

Derive and provide feedback more frequently

Annual or bi-annual staff feedback surveys and performance reviews may not provide the timely, real-time feedback needed - in both directions. By creating ways in which two-way feedback can be shared easily and without fear, a culture of free flowing support and development can be fostered. 

From one-to-one meetings to review sessions every quarter, training can be developed alongside this feedback loop and in return, a better understanding of what is working and not working can be used by senior management in the programs provided. 


By embracing a culture of continuous improvement and development, you are allowing your organisation to attract the best talent to join your business and hopefully, stay for a very long time. Employee development is a process of educating employees so they can continue providing valuable contributions to their company.

From increasing staff morale to providing opportunities of growth and development within the organisation, focusing on employee development over 2022 is a business opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.  

Thomas assessments allows hiring managers and HR professionals to track training and development in their employees. Contact our team today to find out how we can help you develop a training plan suitable for your organisation.