Staff development

It is important in a company for employees to be able to develop and acquire new skills. Here is the process explained.

Staff development measures are a factor of success for all companies. Implemented appropriately, they make it possible to improve the productivity, competitiveness and flexibility of employees.

Employee motivation is strengthened, which helps to reduce staff turnaround and fluctuations. This is not just an additional cost for the company but a profitable investment in its human capital.

Adapting structures

Before suggesting possibilities for employee development, it is necessary to compare the current situation against requirements for the future.

The company first needs to define whether employees have the requisite potential for development: an engineer, for example, is not necessarily suitable for conducting a sales interview. It is necessary to evaluate each job and assess to what extent extension or enrichment of the area of activity is feasible.

These measures usually require a lot of time and money. It is therefore essential to check afterwards that the employee has indeed achieved the objectives and that the return justifies the expense. The company can check the learning process by using specific tests or asking for feedback to find out whether the knowledge acquired is actually being put into practice.

Offering training

In-house training constitutes one of the central elements of staff development. It can be offered in the form of courses at the place of work, external seminars and conferences, coaching or monitoring.

Some companies also introduce a rotation and replacement system which means employees can work in other departments and be trained in different activities.

A distinction should be made between in-house training and vocational training. The latter provides the basic knowledge necessary to do a particular job. The former makes it possible to explore an area of activity in greater detail, or even explore new areas of activity.

Career plan

A career plan helps employees review their professional development and consider their aspirations. This can give a boost to their career or point to certain in-house development opportunities.

For example, this can mean identifying shortfalls in terms of training in order to maximize the employee’s potential.


Coaching is an individual variant of learning. It requires involvement over time. The coach can be a manager, an experienced employee within the company, or even someone from outside the company.

For the coaching process to work, both parties must be invested. Each person must be highly motivated to work with the other person and commit the necessary time. This implies mutual respect and trust. Coaching can be applied to managers at all levels.

Before starting such a relationship, it is useful to define the various procedures. For example, the extent of monitoring, the goals to be achieved, the employee’s availability for the coach, the content to be passed on and the duration of the coaching.

One of the main advantages of this approach is the focus on the company's actual and specific problems. In addition, the close relationship between coach and learner usually provides good results, but also requires a lot of time and energy.

Source: Personalmanagement, Theorie und zahlreiche Beispiele aus der Praxis, Marc A. Hermann and Clarisse Pifko

Last modification 27.02.2020

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