Learning & Development, Talent

Career Development, Employee Development, and Leadership Development: What’s the Real Difference?

As a learning and development (L&D) professional, you understand the importance of creating different types of learning and development programs for your organization and promoting them across your organization. But sometimes, terms and titles can get jumbled, and it may become a little complicated to decipher when you should offer what type of program and to whom.development
Here’s the difference among three different types of development programs that you’re probably already creating and promoting.

Career Development

Career development programs should map out different career pathways for each employee who’s enrolled and will consider where each employee is currently in their desired career and what he or she needs to do to achieve the long-term career pathway that he or she desires.
This type of program is typically best suited for individuals who know the future title or level of responsibilities they want to own at your organization. For instance, someone might start out as a general sales representative with your organization and state the desire to manage an entire sales region one day.
So, an individual career plan will be developed for him or her that lays out what he or she needs to do and learn in order to be an effective district sales manager in the future.

Employee Development

Employee development programs more often focus on what types of skills and learning opportunities each individual employee needs to learn or practice. Such learning and development opportunities might focus on desired future roles but mostly focus on upgrading an employee’s current skill set for his or her existing role.
Sometimes this type of development can include refresher trainings, as well as training opportunities that encompass newer skills that are becoming more relevant to a particular occupation or role. For instance, whenever new safety guidelines and regulations are made, operations managers in factories need to learn about what they are.

Leadership Development

Leadership development programs focus on developing your employees into effective managers and leaders at your organization. But even if they don’t manage others, employees can benefit from learning more about how to adopt leader-like qualities and skills. These programs should also offer refresher training options too, as leaders need to continually be engaged and updated on how to be more effective and influential.

How They’re All the Same

Each of the development programs listed above should focus on the individual employee and his or her existing skill sets, interests, and short-term and long-term professional objectives. They each require a certain level of personalization if they’re to be effective.
As you develop your learning and development programs, be sure to consider where and how they’re different, as well as how they’re similar.