The Definition of Employee Development

by Kathy Adams McIntosh; Updated September 26, 2017

Employee development refers to the steps taken within a company to encourage each employee’s professional and personal growth. Employees within organizations that offer employee development feel valued by their employer and produce larger amounts of quality work. By developing the employees both professionally and personally, the organization benefits from this growth.

Employee Development

Employees constitute any person hired by the company and working for the good of the company. A company depends on its employees to keep the company operating and will in turn compensate employees' performance accordingly to improve motivation, morale and work quality. As part of the employee compensation package, many companies offer development opportunities to employees. Some employee development opportunities are required, such as learning a new computer system. Others are optional, such as participating in an employee fitness club. Employee development includes professional, personal and organizational development.

Professional Development

Professional development sessions improve the skills and abilities of the organization. Professional development opportunities include training sessions to increase the employee’s ability to work productively on the job, attending local meetings of professional organizations, participating in internal training sessions or pursuing a higher degree. Each of these training opportunities increases the employee’s professional knowledge and ability to apply this knowledge on the job. Some employees hold professional certifications and require professional development sessions to maintain their certifications.

Personal Development

Personal development sessions provide an added benefit to the employee. Personal development opportunities include health and fitness education, personal finance courses or stress relief techniques. These opportunities do not directly improve the employee’s job performance; however, can improve an employee’s perspective on everyday tasks and rejuvenate their attitude. Employees who participate in personal development opportunities recognize that this opportunity benefits them and they gain a renewed motivation before returning to their desk. Companies often offer personal development sessions during a lunch break or after a workday.

Organizational Development

Organizational development sessions benefit the company overall. These include creating a company mission statement, strategic planning, or required legal training for employees. The company mission statement documents the direction the company wants to proceed in and what the company feels is important. Strategic planning includes decisions made by senior management which dictate the future actions of the company. Legal training encompasses required training sessions for all employees.