Employee Learning Plans
Have you completed an Employee Learning Plan lately? Consider doing so!
The Employee Learning Plan is a document between employee and supervisor that captures the professional and personal learning goals of the employee, aligns them with organizational needs and priorities, identifies the necessary steps and resources, and forms a plan to achieve those goals over the coming year(s). The plan is a living document that should be reviewed and renewed time over time based on changing goals as well as those which have been reached.
You are unique
There is no single career development path that is right for everyone. People have different skills, interests, values and goals – and each person’s career and individual development plans must take these differences into account. The same is true for individual positions at Red River College Polytechnic. Although two jobs may have the same general description, the specific circumstances and environment of a position may vary.
As you progress in your career development, different skills and behaviors may be needed in different combinations in order to be successful. For example, as an employee progresses from entry level to more senior levels, the need for increased competency in leadership, financial knowledge and supervisory skills may be important.
It is your career. Take the time to develop an employee development plan so that you document your own career goals. Work with your supervisor on your Employee Development Plan to help achieve yearly personal learning goals. Keep your plan – and your supervisor – up to date to reflect changes in your goals.
The keys to developing strong Learning Plans are: information, communication, joint decision-making, and a willingness to learn. Each of these is further described below.
In addition, RRC Polytech recommends a range of resources to help you reflect and expand on a mix of informal and formal opportunities that you may want to include in your development plan. These resources include:
- Developmental Activities List
- Exercises and Self-Directed Assessments
- Organizational Development’s Leadership Library, which includes resources that any RRC Polytech employee can borrow (contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime), including:
- Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing A Job You’ll Love (Kaiden, 2016)
- Strengths Finder 2.0 (Rath, 2007)
- Strengths Based Leadership (Rath, 2008)
- Values and Skills Assessment Cards (Winnipeg Transition Centre)
Employees need to identify their own strengths, preferences and career goals, as well as options for future career progression within the College. Creating an Learning Plan is a good way to keep track of this information so you are prepared to discuss your career with your supervisor.
Supervisors need to understand the organization’s current staffing and performance needs, as well as the knowledge, skills, experience and competencies needed to perform in the current role and in the future.
The employee is responsible for making supervisors aware of their career and professional development goals, especially if they change.
There are rapid changes in today’s educational environment: initiatives and projects begin and end; budgets go up and down, and the need for skills and abilities can change quickly. It is up to the supervisor to communicate the current and anticipated needs of the organization so that decisions can be made that are in the best interests of the organization as well as the employee.
Although career development plans are unique to each employee, they do not exist alone. Employees need to consider important issues like available funding, workload, and the needs of other employees when making decisions and career plans.
Likewise, supervisors need to take employees’ goals into consideration as they consider what development initiatives to support, and how to allocate available funds within their units.
Understanding employee career goals may help supervisors identify alternative development activities that meet those needs when budgets are tight.
Willingness to learn
Gone is the time when good employees can expect to automatically move up a predefined career ladder. Employees need to be agile in finding the right jobs throughout their careers. A demonstrated willingness to continue to learn and use new skills is critical to long-term career success.
Organizations are moving toward flatter structures, and the traditional movement “up” the career ladder is no longer the only way to achieve success. Employees need to be creative in identifying ways to move along in their career – such as lateral moves, on the job learning or experiential opportunities or even career changes that will broaden their experience or help leverage them into a different area.
Supervisors need to stay aware of individual employees’ development needs, and make informal and formal opportunities available to employees that will help them achieve their career goals and contribute to their work unit’s success.