How to Help Employees Set Personal Development Goals

Author ProFlow Learning Centre, 1 month ago |

One of the key roles of managers is to train and develop employees to maximise their skills and strengths. A good way to achieve that is to regularly set personal development goals for each direct report.

Doing so won’t just boost productivity, but also improves overall work satisfaction and employee engagement. Managers should know what are the most effective ways to train and develop employees.

Investing on an employee's personal development

How to Ensure Every Employee’s Personal Development

Managers should be experts in goal setting. Setting attainable and measurable goals makes it easier to oversee an employee’s improvement while strengthening the business and enhancing the organisation’s reputation. 

Create personal development goals and discuss their objectives

Don’t make it a habit to discuss the employee’s personal and professional goals only during the yearly performance assessment. Remember that the lives, experiences and ideas of people change constantly. What they want to achieve now may not be the same six months ago.

Therefore, managers should set regular 1:1 meetings with their direct reports to know how they’re doing. It’s also a good chance to talk about their personal development goals. Managers should seek the employee’s inputs frequently when it comes to planning their preferred career path.

Offer learning opportunities, such as leadership training courses 

While not everybody in the workplace can be a manager, everyone can act as a leader in their own ways. Professional development means learning new practices and skills. Enrolling in leadership training courses gives employees a way to gain new knowledge and insights on how to do their jobs better.

These types of training also support employees who may want to pursue a different path in the company. Equipping them with what they need to move forward is an advantage to the company, as there may be no need to hire new people to fill new or vacant leadership positions.

Find creative ways to initiate personal development among employees 

The introduction of new technologies forces employees to learn something new. They have to familiarise themselves with any new industry updates in order to apply them confidently in their everyday tasks. Employees learning together can trigger engagement and collaboration.

Be sure to introduce technologies that would enhance the soft skills of employees, such as communication, active listening, adaptability and work ethics, among others. The new technology, such as a company feedback tool, should inspire employees to improve themselves.

Provide coaching and mentoring 

Providing coaching and mentoring is one of the surest ways to train and develop employees professionally. Mentoring and coaching aren’t just about understanding what the employee needs and providing for it. It’s also about connecting them with people who may give them more learning and career opportunities.

Setting up a mentoring program or hiring a career coach can greatly help. Employees can see and appreciate the things that the company and their managers are doing. Managers should seek many other ways to effectively train and develop employees both personally and professionally.

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Offer invaluable feedback 

Feedback is crucial in shaping and honing employees. Employees who would like to develop their skills are likely to be more receptive to feedback, even if they are constructive criticisms.

Managers should be very observant of the employees whom they are training, coaching or mentoring so that they can immediately correct their ways, practices and behaviours. They should be the first to provide insight into how the employee should improve.

Let employees define their own goals 

Personal goals are somewhat different from organisational goals because the former is mostly defined by the employees. Since employees drive such goals, they should be more actively involved in the process.

Managers should help employees in building a framework that they can work with. They should also inspire them to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves and provide them with adequate support and opportunities.

Accurately measure the employee’s personal development and growth 

It’s not enough that managers create SMART goals for their direct reports. They should also accurately assess where they are in terms of their aspirations and where they ultimately want to be in their careers.

By doing so, managers can invest in the right learning and development programs for each employee. Employees thank managers who are actively involved in their personal development by being more productive and delivering high-quality output for the company.

Consistently monitor their progress 

Goals that were created but left unmonitored are practically useless. Managers should be involved in monitoring employees as much as they were involved in the goal-setting process.

Personal and professional goals may be measured along with the employee’s annual performance review but shouldn’t be taken against the employee. Instead, the manager should continue to find ways on how to help the employee achieve his or her personal goal.

Ways to train and develop employees


To be effective, personal development goals must not only be created but also revisited frequently so they can be achieved faster. Managers must realise that every employee is a valuable member of the organisation. As such, they should be fully invested in their success.

Learning and development programs can help retain and engage high-performing employees. These people are crucial to the company. Through personal development goal setting, employees become crystal clear about their goals and how they’ll grow in the organization. But more importantly, it allows them to push themselves to become better employees.