Top 10 Employee Development Methods
Talent Development

Top 10 Employee Development Methods

8 mins read

by Pete Ford

Updated On Nov 01, 2023

Table of Content

Globalization is weaving its way into our everyday lives. Companies must keep up with changing trends and technologies to remain competitive. Investing in the development of employees is essential for businesses to continue to grow and thrive. 

The only way to enrich your employee’s journey is by introducing them to various training and development methods. However, this goes beyond training videos for your professionals. 

We all have moved past the era of attending recorded lectures/workshops and reading through piles of books. It's time to make way for technologically diverse onsite/virtual live courses that cater to every worker’s unique needs and challenges.

What are Employee Development Methods?

These are activities designed to help employees learn new skills, improve existing competencies, and put their knowledge into practice. 

Implementing these practices aims to engage your professionals, make work more fulfilling and meaningful, and enable the workforce to progress personally and professionally.

According to LinkedIn - Workplace Learning Report -  93% of employees would stay in a company longer if it invested in their learning. 59% of employees are likely to stay with a company that invests in their career growth.

10 Types of Employee Development Methods

Here are the ten types of employee development methods that every organization should consider when improving the productivity of the organization.

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1. On-the-Job Training (OJT)

On-the-job training, or OJT, is a hands-on method where employees learn by doing. This training occurs in the actual working environment and during regular job hours. An experienced colleague or supervisor typically administers it, allowing employees to gain practical experience in their specific roles' tools, equipment, and methodologies.

OJT is advantageous because it offers a real-time understanding of job roles, making it easier for employees to relate to and remember. It bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Immediate feedback can correct mistakes, ensuring the employee's learning trajectory is right.

However, the success of OJT often depends on the quality of the trainer. If the trainer has developed bad habits or is unaware of the latest techniques and practices, the trainee might inherit these inefficiencies. Moreover, training amidst a live environment can pose risks. A mistake made during OJT can have real-time business consequences.

Learn More: How to Select a Trainer for Your Company?


  • Practical and relevant learning
  • Cost-effective, utilizing existing resources
  • Immediate feedback and correction


  • Dependent on the trainer's expertise
  • Potential for real-time business disruptions
  • Risk of propagating incorrect or outdated methods

2. Mentoring and Coaching

Mentoring and coaching are developmental strategies to enhance an employee's skills and competencies. While they are often used interchangeably, they serve different purposes.

Mentoring is a long-term relationship where a senior or more experienced individual (the mentor) supports the growth and development of a less-experienced person (the mentee). The mentor provides guidance, shares knowledge, and offers wisdom to help the mentee navigate their career path.

Coaching, on the other hand, is generally a shorter-term relationship focused on specific development areas. A coach provides direct feedback and instruction to improve the coachee's performance in certain areas. Unlike mentors, coaches don't necessarily have to be more senior but must have expertise in their coaching area.

Both mentoring and coaching offer employees a chance to receive personalized attention, guidance, and feedback. They empower employees to take ownership of their learning and growth, offering them tools and perspectives that can be transformational.


  • Personalized feedback and guidance
  • Fosters a culture of continuous learning and development
  • Encourages deep personal and professional relationships


  • Requires a significant time commitment
  • Success is dependent on the chemistry between the pairs
  • Potential for bias or favoritism

3. Corporate Training Programs

Corporate training programs are formal learning initiatives companies organize to enhance their employees' practical skills and technical knowledge. They can range from in-house training sessions, workshops, and seminars to extended courses. The content can vary widely based on the company’s needs, from technical skills, soft skills, and leadership training to compliance and safety protocols.

These programs often provide a structured learning path with predefined objectives, course materials, and assessment methods. They're typically conducted by experts or trainers specializing in the subject matter, ensuring high-quality instruction.

However, the effectiveness of these programs can sometimes be challenged by the one-size-fits-all approach. Only some employees might find the content relevant or the pace suitable, leading to varied outcomes.


  • Structured and organized learning path
  • Conducted by subject matter experts
  • Addresses broad organizational needs


  • It can be expensive
  • It may not address individual learning needs
  • Logistical challenges in organizing and attending

4. Stretch Assignments

Stretch assignments are tasks or projects given to employees beyond their current skill set or knowledge base. They are designed to push employees out of their comfort zones, allowing them to learn and grow. By navigating through the challenges of a stretch assignment, employees can uncover hidden talents, develop new skills, and gain confidence.

While the idea is to promote growth, care must be taken to ensure that the assignment is manageable beyond the employee's capability, as it might lead to excessive stress or burnout.


  • Promotes rapid skill development
  • Uncovers hidden potential and talents
  • Provides a sense of achievement when completed


  • Risk of overwhelm or burnout
  • Potential for project delays or mistakes
  • Requires careful monitoring and guidance

5. Job Rotation

Job rotation involves moving employees through various jobs to broaden their experience and exposure. It allows employees to understand various facets of the business, promoting a holistic view of the organization. This not only enhances their skill set but also promotes adaptability and flexibility.

While job rotation can be a valuable tool for cross-training and succession planning, it can also be disruptive if not managed well. Continuously moving employees can lead to a lack of role continuity, affecting productivity.


  • Broadens skill set and knowledge
  • Enhances adaptability and flexibility
  • Useful for succession planning


  • Disrupts continuity in roles
  • The initial decrease in productivity during transitions
  • It might lead to role or responsibility confusion

6. Online Learning and Microlearning

Online learning refers to educational activities that take place via the Internet. With the surge in e-learning platforms, employees can now access many courses anytime, anywhere. Microlearning, a subset of online learning, breaks down information into small, bite-sized units, making learning more manageable and digestible.

These digital methodologies leverage multimedia – videos, quizzes, interactive modules – enhancing engagement and retention. While they offer flexibility, the lack of face-to-face interaction might not suit everyone, and the onus of motivation rests heavily on the learner.


  • Flexible and can be accessed anytime, anywhere
  • A wide variety of topics and courses are available
  • Microlearning aids better retention with bite-sized content


  • Lack of face-to-face interaction
  • Relies on self-motivation and discipline
  • Technology barriers for some learners

7. External Workshops and Seminars

External workshops and seminars allow employees to step outside their regular work environment and gain skills from external experts and institutions. They provide a fresh perspective, networking opportunities, and exposure to industry trends and best practices.

While they can be stimulating and enlightening, they also come with costs such as registration fees, travel, accommodation, and time away from regular work.


  • Exposure to external experts and fresh perspectives
  • Networking opportunities
  • Keeps employees updated with industry trends


  • It can be expensive
  • Time away from regular work
  • Information may only sometimes be directly applicable

8. Training

While this might seem like a generic term already encompassed by other methods, standalone training sessions are often organized to address specific skill gaps or introduce new tools, processes, or methodologies, they can be internal or external and vary in duration, from a few hours to several days.

Training sessions are systematic and often have a clear curriculum, objectives, and assessments. They ensure that employees have the necessary skills to perform their jobs efficiently.


  • Addresses specific skill gaps or needs
  • Structured and systematic approach
  • Immediate applicability in most cases


  • One-size-fits-all may not address individual needs
  • It can be time-consuming
  • Requires logistical planning and resources

9. Task Rotations

Similar to job rotation, task rotation involves shuffling tasks among team members. While job rotation focuses on changing roles, task rotation delves into the nuances of tasks within a role. It prevents monotony, reduces burnout, and ensures team members develop multifaceted skills.

However, like job rotation, task rotation can lead to initial confusion and might require a settling period during which productivity might dip.


  • Breaks monotony and reduces burnout
  • Enhances multifaceted skills
  • Promotes a better understanding of team roles


  • This can lead to initial confusion
  • Requires a settling period
  • Potential for mistakes during transitions

10. Corporate Mental Health Programs

Corporate mental health programs focus on the psychological well-being of employees. With increasing recognition of mental health's importance, companies offer counseling services, stress management workshops, mindfulness sessions, and more. These programs aim to create a supportive work environment, reduce burnout, and enhance productivity.

While they offer invaluable support, the success of such programs often hinges on the corporate culture. These programs might be viewed skeptically if the work environment doesn't genuinely support mental well-being.


  • Promotes a supportive work environment.
  • Reduces stress and burnout.
  • This can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.


  • Might be viewed skeptically if not in line with corporate culture.
  • Requires ongoing commitment and resources.
  • The stigma around mental health can hinder participation.


Employee development methods are integral tools that organizations utilize to nurture talent, foster growth, and ensure the continuous evolution of their workforce. Each method has unique strengths and challenges, from hands-on approaches like On-the-Job Training to the more introspective Corporate Mental Health Programs. 

The key to effective employee development lies in understanding the workforce's diverse needs and crafting a blend of these methods tailored to those needs. An organization's investment in development equips employees with essential skills and demonstrates a commitment to personal and professional growth. 

This, in turn, can bolster employee satisfaction, loyalty, and overall productivity.

You can boost your business's and your employee's productivity in the workplace with Edstellar, a one-stop solution for all your organization’s training needs. A well-rounded approach to employee development can be a significant differentiator for organizations aiming for excellence.

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