Most employees start out as a new employee, develop competency in their roles, and then move forward to the expert stage. As you work with employees on development, it can be helpful to look at the stage they are in to appropriately plan with them their career development.

Why is employee development so important? If you want to retain your strong contributors, you have to know where they are at and what they need. There are many major studies focusing on employee development, and this posting is the very simplified version for a busy manager’s schedule.

==>One-Year-Old Employee

In this post, I am addressing the employee who has been in their position around a year. This employee is competent and contributing to the success of the department. Competency at this level means they are able to perform the essential functions of their role and are ready to take are new responsibilities within this role.

Note: I use one year as a marker for this employee…they now show competency. This employee is contributing but still has room to grow. Depending on the role, this can occur at 6 months or in roles that are more complex one year. Whatever the case, you know this employee because they are still happy and enthusiastic with their continuous learning.

==>Continuous Learning

All employees are more productive in a learning environment. A basic premise about retention is if the employee is increasing their knowledge, skills, and abilities while they are working, you got their attention and loyalty.

With an employee in this stage, you don’t have to do very much except offer the learning opportunities. Obviously, you still need to direct them, though they should be working independently.


It has been proven in many studies that managers that build recognition in their every day interactions with their team members are more successful in meeting their business objectives.

Recognition is an important retention motivator for this group. Why?

They are experiencing success in their roles
Are still enthusiastic about what they can learn
Are willing to go the extra mile to attain what they want
Are close to understanding the challenges in the role and are looking for additional training and development

You can make your like easier by building in time to provide appropriate recognition.

==>So what can you do as their manager?

--Insure they are contributors in problem solving issues within the department.

--Suggest they create a vision on how to build their professional reputation.

--Expect that they will participate in their own career development…suggest they do their research.

--Support them in building their expertise in their role.

--Recommend that they participate in appropriate professional organizations.

--Encourage them to learn on their own.

==>Final Note

It is not all up to you, as the employee also must take responsibility for their professional success and satisfaction. What is important is that you drive this process so you can retain your strong performers.

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