Underused Talent Management Features: Development Plans

Posted by Judy Fort on April 29, 2019

Why talk about performance and development? With the conversations and surveys we conduct, we know firms in the industries we serve are struggling to find and retain high performing talent.  According to Gallup, only 19% of millennials say they receive routine feedback and an even smaller percentage of millennials (17%) say the feedback they do receive is meaningful. When you combine this with other research that shows that only 30% of employees strongly agree that in the last six months, someone at worked has talked to them about their progress, or that only 40% of employees strongly agree that in the last year they have had opportunities to learn and grow, you can see where there is room for improvement.

Development plans are used in onboarding, gap mitigation, and growth initiatives to bring feedback, learning, and growth into the employee experience.  For onboarding, this can help your new hire get acclimated to new role (initial or transitional) and get “up to speed”/billable sooner.  As a part of gap mitigation, development plans can help employees become proficient in current roles or get acclimated fully to a new project.  As part of employee growth, development plans can aid in preparing an employee for a lateral transition or promotion.

Development plans wrap objectives together to ensure an employee has accomplished a set of variable items, including things like internal learning, external learning, certification, stretch assignments, and shadowing, on-the-job learning, and skill and competency gains.

Using Development Plans in Deltek Talent Management

Development plans are available no matter which Deltek Talent Management module(s) you implement.

  1. Create a new development plan. Give the plan a meaningful name, and indicate if the plan is for addressing gaps or growth. Make sure to set a target date for plan completion.

     my employees dashboard

    1. Performance review. Plans can also be created for specific competencies in a performance review.
    2. Career path gap analysis. When performing a gap analysis within a career path, development plans can be added where gaps are found.
    3. Succession plan. In a succession plan, you can create a plan for gaps or for multiple potential successors at once.
  2. Add plan items. Set specific items the employee can do. For example, if we are working on communication skills, or overall plan name might be “communication,” but an individual item on the plan might be “interpersonal communication.”  Make sure an objective end date is set.
  3. Tie to skills and competencies. If the plan will help address a specific skill or competency, tie your plan to those items.
  4. Make use of recommendation. With different Talent modules, different recommendations are available.
    1. Courses. Courses in the Learning module can be setup to address specific skills and competencies.  If you use the modules and select skills and/or competencies for the development plan item, courses related will be shown and can be tied to the development plan item.
    2. recommendations screenshot

      The solution will recommend courses based on the items you add to the development plan

    3. Development Plan Suggestions. Your Talent administrator can maintain suggestions for competencies to be included in development plans.  This ability is available with any Talent module.
    4. recommendations screenshot 2

      Suggested activities and tasks can easily be added to development plans

    5. Library resources. The Learning module includes the ability to keep track of library resources linked to specific skills and competencies. These can be added to development plan items as recommendations.
    6. Mentors. The Development module includes the ability to identify employees available to be mentors. Mentors who have the needed skill or competency at a higher level than the employee needing mentoring will be presented here and can be added to the plan item.
    7. Other Actions. If no existing recommendations are ideal, the manager can type in other activities or resources.
  5. Monitor plans. Keep up with progress as it happens.  Mark development plan items complete or add new plan items when they are needed.
    1. Navigation. Employees can access their development plans through the left navigation menu.
    2. Total Talent Profile. The development plans are also on an employee’s Total Talent Profile and can be access here by the employee, managers, and HR.
    3. Employee Profile

      Managers, employees, and HR practitioners can keep tabs on development plans by viewing the Total Talent Profile

    4. Main Dashboard. Managers and employees can add widgets to their Main Dashboard to show individual and team progress for development plans.
    5. new dashboard

      Utilize dashboard widgets for an easy to consume snapshot of development plan progress

    6. My Employees. Managers can view development plans and progress through their My Employees page.  They can also create new plans here.

    my employees dashboard

  6. Document discussions. Use continuous feedback sessions to keep up with conversations about employee development and growth.  Learn more about continuous feedback in our blog post Quick Tips for Implementing Continuous Feedback.

Key Takeaways

Consider development plans as a key part of your employee retention strategy. Development should be places at the very center of your human capital management strategy. Development plans aren’t just about creating leaders; they are about supporting your employees in their own aspirations and providing a framework that makes them successful. Employees who feel they have a future with your firm are far more likely to stick around. Remember, development plans are relevant for ALL employees, whether they staff your project teams, answer the phone, or issue your invoices.


About the Author

Judy Fort is a member of the Deltek Solutions Engineering group and bridges the gap between technology and real world users. For a decade she has been working with diverse HR organizations helping them to achieve their goals.