University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Identifying and Discussing Employee Development Needs

Beginning the Discussion

Successful employee development depends upon conversations held in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. To engender such an environment:

  • Find a private, comfortable spot for the discussions
  • Allow plenty of time - a rushed sense will not help build rapport
  • Make sure you listen as you establish a two-way conversation
  • Ensure that any goals set are clear and attainable
  • Outline the next steps and responsibilities for each step

Your role as a supervisor is to provide information and support the employee during this development process.

Employee Experiences and Actions

Essential for successful employee development is participation in various experiences. Some of these experiences can be educational (training classes, workshops), but there are many other experiences that can contribute to employee development:

Job Experiences

  • Temporary assignments
  • Cross-training, rotation
  • Conducting meetings, conferences, forums
  • Preparing and making presentations
  • Participation on a larger-scale committee
  • Job shadowing
  • Networking


  • Mentoring by more experienced co-worker
  • Job sharing and back-up
  • Coaching a less experienced co-worker
  • Career coaching

Individual Development Plans

When working with an employee, it's helpful to work together to put together an Individual Development Plan (IDP). This tool translates goals into concrete action steps.

Individual Development Plans

Identify Resources

From classes and workshops, to individualized consulting, many resources exist on campus to assist with employee development.

Resources for Employee Development