A big part of being a great employer is making sure your employees are continually learning and growing; it benefits them and benefits the company at large. 

So how can you ensure that your new employees stay on the right track months down the road? 

Creating an employee development plan is a great way to ensure your new employee is consistently engaged with the job, while helping them level up their skills in a way that can help you grow your business. 

You’re also responsible for adhering to employee standards, which guarantee the safety and rights for all employees while on the job. In this post, we’ll be outlining how to create an effective employee development plan as well as employee safety standards. 

What Is An Employee Development Plan? 

Employee development plans outline a course of action for an employee to learn and develop new skills. This could mean sharpening a skill they already know, or learning a whole new set of skills so they can take on new responsibilities.  

A development plan could even include working on soft skills like creative thinking or conflict management. 

Ultimately, an employee development plan is essential for an employee’s success, improving both retention and job satisfaction. Developing a sound plan is a great way to nurture an employee’s growth trajectory as an individual and as a team member at your company. 

Here are a few guidelines and examples to follow when creating a development plan. 

What Does Your Business Need? 

Before you begin constructing an employee development plan, think about your business and what you currently need in order to succeed. This can be a shorter term goal (like a website refresh) to something longer term (like expanding into a new market to increase revenue).  

Identifying what opportunities your business has helps you determine what kinds of skills are most useful to your company, which informs the most valuable skills to nurture in your employees. 

Think About The Employee’s Role 

A good development plan will consider the employee’s current skill set, their role within the company, and any professional goals they share with you.  

Individuals with untapped skill sets may have the potential to grow into diverse or senior roles at your company. Helping your employees reach these goals is a great way to add value to your team as a whole, and thus help the company grow in specific verticals. 

In a nutshell: play to the strengths of your employees, and think about how they can contribute to company objectives. 

Provide The Right Opportunities 

Once you have an idea of which skills your employee can develop, you can start to look for ways they can begin to grow. Here are some ways your employee can learn new skills: 

  • Online courses 
  • Job shadowing 
  • One-on-one mentoring 
  • Additional projects and assignments that go beyond the role’s scope (sometimes doing is the best teacher) 
  • Professional conferences and networking events 

Track The Results: Start Setting SMART Goals 

Now that you’ve established what skills your employee can improve or build upon, your development plan needs actionable goals. 

A great way to create an actionable goal? Make it SMART. This handy acronym is meant to help make your goals precise and clear: 

  • Specific: your goal should have a very specific target. What are you trying to achieve? 
  • Measurable: how will you measure progress? 
  • Attainable: if it’s not realistic, it’s not doable. 
  • Relevant: is the goal related to your company’s overall goals? 
  • Time-Bound: a time-frame helps keep the goal focused and makes it more tangible. 

Creating a plan with detailed goals gives your business a path designed for growth… and by creating a thoughtful development plan for your employees, you can show that you’re invested in their growth, too.  

What Is The Employment Standards Act? 

While it varies from province to province, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) guarantees certain privileges and rights for employees not under federally regulated industries.  

As the specific rules can differ across Canada, be sure to consult the provincial guidelines for the location your business is based. 

Generally, the ESA covers the following: 

  • Wages, breaks and hours of work 
  • Vacation time 
  • Leaves of absence, such as parental leave, jury duty, or compassionate care 
  • Statutory holidays 
  • Termination and severances 

Of course, depending on the province you’re located in, you may also have additional legislations and guidelines to follow, such as health and safety acts, pay equity, and human rights codes. 

Workers Need to Know Their Rights 

The following is important; Employment standards posters must be made available to your employees within 30 days of their start date.  

These posters can usually be downloaded from your provincial government website; there may be several you’ll need to have handy, depending on how many acts your business needs to follow. 

Employment standards are regularly audited, so it’s good practice to make sure these standards are not only implemented, but enforced.  

Following The Fire Code 

If your business is in a physical space, you will also need to follow a fire code. This becomes even more important as your business grows: you’ll need a way to safely evacuate your employees in case of emergency. 

You’ll also need a fire marshal, or fire warden, who checks and oversees that a proper plan is in place in the event of a fire.  

While the specifics might vary, a fire code can include: 

  • The number of smoke and fire alarms necessary, and their maintenance requirements 
  • Exit plans and safe meeting places once evacuated 
  • Required fire drills 
  • Occupant load determination; how many people can safely be on a floor or in part of an area 

An All-In-One HX Solution

If you want to learn more about how to effectively enforce compliance standards, how to facilitate healthy staff relations, employee training, performance reviews, and more, check out PaymentEvolution’s HX. Our service helps small businesses establish and enforce reimagined human experiences. 


  • Sam Vassa

    With a passion for technology, Sam looks for ways to help small companies to compete and save money. He's worked in Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada, geeked out at Digital Equipment Corp and hung out at Microsoft. He founded PaymentEvolution.com to help businesses like yours.

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