Creating a Successful Career Development Plan in 3 Steps

An administrative professional uses a career development plan to advance.

Your administrative staff work hard, and you want to provide them with the very best developmental opportunities. What can you do to help them get started and encourage them along the way?

Career development has two big benefits. It empowers employees to grab the reins of their own career and take it in the direction they find most rewarding. It also provides employers with more qualified, more experienced workers who can assume additional responsibility and higher-level roles. But ensuring employee development efforts are successful requires effort on your part and your administrative staff’s.

Here are three steps for creating a career development plan for your team.

1. Write it down

Work with your employees to develop a career development plan that detail specific goals you’ll set together. The plan should be written and outline the employee’s professional goals, as well as the steps the person must take to reach them. The plan should allow you to regularly review, update and discuss an employee’s developmental goals. 

When a member of your administrative team is ready for the next level but no position is available, the career development plan can be used to identify growth opportunities within the existing position so the person remains challenged and motivated. 

2. Facilitate mentoring

Mentoring can help new employees acclimate and develop key relationships within your business. But perhaps the most valuable application of mentoring is its use in advancing career development for your team. Mentoring is especially useful in helping employees acquire administrative skills best learned on the job or directly from others. 

Well-chosen mentors can assist staff at any stage of their careers. A mentor should not be someone who is in a position to evaluate job performance or affect salaries but someone who has the experience to talk strategically about career and workplace issues. 

Mentors can also offer input on specialized workshop sessions and certification options — like the Certified Administrative Professional program from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) — that will support an employee’s career development plan. 

3. Monitor their progress

During the annual performance review, discuss with your administrative staff their career development plan, any developmental opportunities they have pursued and how they feel their mentoring relationships are going. Ask yourself: 

  • Do your admin employees feel like they’re progressing in their career? How are they using what they’ve learned?
  • Is there an overall positive effect visible within your department or in other parts of the company?
  • Are there new growth opportunities you can recommend?

The help you provide your staff in continuing to grow professionally is a vital part of your role as a manager. Career development is a win-win for the employee as well as the company. Admins acquire know-how that will benefit their careers and their ability to contribute both immediately and in the future. 

Be sure to download your free copy of Office of the Future: How to Hire All-Star Administrative Professionals and Maximize Their Potential, a guide from OfficeTeam and IAAP that can help you build the best administrative team.