Employee Development Plan Template: How to DIY + Done-for-you Templates

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Last updated:
January 14, 2022
Time to read:
6 minutes
How to create your own development Plan Template - including ready-to-use versions in Excel or PDF format.

The secret to winning over your employees can be summed up in two words: Career growth.

LinkedIn’s 2021 Workplace Learning Report reaffirms this notion. The research found that an overwhelming majority of employees value learning. Especially Gen Zers—who will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025.

So, how do you attract a workforce of twenty-somethings who have a different approach to work?

To ensure your organization is aligned with their career interest, an actionable employee development plan is the way to go. While having a plan is a good first step, you need a repeatable formula for success aka a template.

This article will take you through various employee development plan templates that increase flexibility, reduce rework, and speed up development time. 

As a shortcut, you will also find a downloadable template as PDF and Excel you can use right away.

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How to create an employee development plan template

The key to a successful template begins with a comprehensive development plan. If you don’t have one, here’s what it should include:

  • Company and employee needs
  • Skill gap analysis
  • Goals and learning outcomes
  • Timelines
  • Documented methods and activities
  • Implementation strategy
  • Metrics for success
  • Tracking methodology
  • Feedback process
  • Room for iterations

Check out our full guide on how to create a development plan for employees.

Contrary to popular belief, templates are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Their purpose is to help you customize your employees’ learning and growth for individual success. Before you create a template that works, here’s what you need to do:

Get buy-in for your plan from all internal stakeholders

Your L&D initiatives are more likely to succeed when everyone is on board. Managers and employees alike must agree on the activities and goals to create a win-win situation.

Choose your tech stack

You can either create a template using low-tech solutions like Google Docs, Sheets, Excel, or choose automation platforms that can help you scale with ease. Choosing the right tech stack comes down to the complexity of your plan and the size of your organization.

Create a process for feedback

Templates are iterative by nature. Getting feedback early and often allows you to revisit the workflow and make changes to see the effects quickly. 

Elements of a good employee development plan template

Ease of use

Anyone using your template should be able to understand how it works at a cursory glance, especially if you require them to fill in data regularly. 

Easy access

Hiding the template on clunky learning platforms requires several steps to access. This can trigger an out of sight out of mind response. Make sure it’s available on tools employees and managers use regularly.


The template acts as a starting point to create individual development plans. Encourage your managers and employees to customize it based on specific goals.

What should an employee L&D template contain

What should an employee development plan contain?

2 ways to create a template

Creating a template designed for success takes considerable effort and buy-in from multiple stakeholders. Speed up the process using one of two ways:

1. A pilot program

A pilot program is like a mock test of  your employee development methods. You can fix any preliminary errors, and find the right tech stack. Choose a small segment of learners to test your template and closely monitor their progress. A successful pilot also opens up room to invest more in L&D, and automate repetitive tasks.

2. Rapid iteration & A/B tests

You don’t always need a detailed plan. Even if you have an outline of what the template should look like, you can use software development principles to rapidly iterate and test your hypothesis. A/B test the template by splitting employees into two groups to see which version has a better response. 

Employee Development Plan Template (PDF + Excel)

Whether it’s developing your employees’ skills or job-specific knowledge, an employee development plan template helps you to streamline the process. It gives you a basic framework on what needs to be done and how, in what time period, and at what budget. 

If you’re new to this process, use this as a basic outline of what to include in a development plan template:

Focus AreaSMART GoalActivity DeadlineBudget

Presentation skills

Increase presentational skills to be more convincing in sales calls and improve peer presentation feedback by 10pts.

Inhouse mentoring

Video Course








Data analytics

*Concrete Goal*

Activity 1

Activity 2





As a leader or an HR manager, given your busy schedule, you’d want a solution that’s easy to implement and repeatable – one that scales with your L&D initiatives. 

Development plan template Excel

Keeping this in mind, we designed a customizable employee development plan template – download our free excel version or a pdf file that’s ready to use.

Development Plan excel Preview

Development plan template PDF

If you're more a PDF kind of person, you can directly take this editable template which you can directly give to employees and people managers alike. Download it here.

employee development plan template PDF

Employee Development Process by Zavvy

Implementing a one-time development plan is a good start to growing your employees further into their role. To improve their long-term satisfaction, and retention, you need a platform that provides measures, guidance, and much-needed engagement. 

With Zavvy’s customizable development plan programs, here’s how you can streamline the whole process:

  • Establish a development framework: One that strengthens your employee’s developmental process. Use our templates to define the cycle length and notification channel to make it your own.

  • Build a plan that aligns goals with measures:  Define focus areas and hands-on activities needed to achieve the goal. Bring your people manager and employee onboard to bridge the gap between theoretical plans and actual measures.

  • Engage, track, repeat: Motivate employees by making progress visible, enable managers to offer targeted support, and guide everyone through the process with automated reminders, tasks, and more.
People develpo

Talk to our experts and find out how we can help your people grow with a development program that’s a perfect fit for your organization. 

Employee Development Plan Template Examples

Venngage template maker

Venngage is an online tool that offers a host of templates – from employee development plans to individual progress tracking. You can use them to quickly create aesthetic looking documents. 

Free Canva learning wiki

Jessica Liu, Learning Designer at Canva, created Canva University taking 800 employees through 11 unique programs and 1,200 workshops with just 13 people. The result? A $6 billion growth spurt. Get your copy of Canva’s learning wiki here.

Google’s learning development guide

80% of Google’s training is run through an employee-to-employee network called g2g. In-house trainers and outside vendors are sparingly used and aimed at executives. Use their guide to set up your own peer network to fast track learning.

Reimagining employee development plans with templates

76% of Gen Z and 61% of millennials believe that learning is at the centre of their career success. And helping employees learn and grow only benefits your organization. 

But ask top performers why they leave an organization and they’ll cite a lack of career advancement. So what gives?

Comprehensive employee development plans are hard to create and scale. According to SHRM, a lack of accountability, and meaningful analytics cause even the best laid plans to fail. But above all, inconsistent execution takes the cake. 

That’s why creating an employee development template even on a platform as simple as Google Docs is always more fruitful than having no plan. As your organization outgrows low-tech solutions, look at next-gen solutions to minimize repetitive tasks and automate learning and feedback. 

At Zavvy, we’ve found the L&D plans that work are the ones integrated in regular workflows. Reminders on Slack, automatic invites to check-ins, sharing feedback over email results in meaningful learning compared to a clunky LMS that hasn't been updated since the industrial era.

We helped the leaders at Freeletics feel 100% supported in their growth and development with our initiatives. Want your company to be next? Talk to our experts to get started with your learning and development process


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