March 5


Supporting Your Employees’ Development Needs with AI

By Sara Canaday

March 5, 2024

ai, ai at work, artificial intelligence, career success, leadership, leadership skills, professional development, professional success

*This article is part of a special leadership series on how you can use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to not only boost your productivity, but also help you make smarter business decisions, amplify your communications, and enhance your impact.

The expectations for leaders today are higher than ever. Your days are already jam-packed so—let’s be honest—helping to strategize your team members’ professional development (or your own!) frequently gets bumped to the bottom of the list.

Thanks to AI, the tools are now available to help you make the development planning process much more efficient and increasingly targeted. Let’s look at how ChatGPT can be used to create personalized learning journeys that significantly enhance knowledge and growth for you and your employees.

How to Develop Actionable Career & Professional Development Plans

Step 1: If you haven’t already gathered this information informally, use ChatGPT to design an initial assessment that will uncover your team members’ development preferences and needs.

Sample Prompt: “Create a 5-question survey that helps me understand my employees’ strengths, learning preferences, and opportunities for improvement.”

Outcome:  Here’s an example of the ChatGPT output resulting from a similar prompt. Try it with your own spin and see what it generates for you.

1.      What are the three skills or competencies you believe are your strongest? How do these contribute to the team?

2.      Are there one or two skills or areas you believe could benefit from development or improvement?

3.      What aspects of your work are you most passionate about? Are there projects or tasks that particularly excite you?

4.      Where do you see yourself the next 3-5 years? What kind of roles or responsibilities interest you?

5.      What types of learning experiences do you find most beneficial for your professional growth (e.g., formal education, on-the-job training, experiential training)?

Step 2: Ask ChatGPT to generate a customized learning plan using the insights you gained from the assessment.

Sample Prompt: “Create a personalized, 6-month development plan for a digital marketing employee who wants to develop her data analytics skills. This employee learns best from self-paced learning and hands-on activities.”

Outcome: Here’s an example of the first month of the plan provided by ChatGPT. Imagine the possibilities given unique and customized prompts.

Month 1: Foundations of Data Analytics

Weeks 1-2: Discover the Basics

Resource: Enroll in LinkedIn Learning’s online course, “Learning Data Analytics” by Robin Hunt, to begin understanding the fundamentals.

Activity: Complete the course modules and take chapter quizzes.

Weeks 3-4: Introduction to Marketing Analytics Tools

Workshop: Attend a workshop on Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to learn how to track, analyze, and report website traffic and user behavior.

Activity: Set up Google Analytics for a mock or real company website and start tracking basic metrics.

Have one-on-one conversations with your team members before, during, and after the process to gain agreement on their areas of strengths and opportunities, plus the fit of their AI-generated development plans. Does it make sense for this employee given other deliverables? What changes might you suggest? Getting involved throughout the process and providing your wisdom as a leader will ensure the plan is aligned with individual and team goals. Remember, AI is meant to augment your role as a leader, not replace it.

I’m a huge advocate of empowering employees to take an active role in their own development. One effective way to facilitate this is by introducing them to robust, AI-enabled learning platforms. Here are some options which may be available through your company’s enterprise account.

  • LinkedIn Learning: This platform provides personalized, online course recommendations based on a person’s job role and skills, as well as the learning trends among professionals in a participant’s industry.
  • Coursera: This platform offers a wide range of courses, specializations, and degrees from universities and organizations worldwide. Many of Coursera’s offerings include AI-driven assessments to gauge your knowledge level and tailor the learning content, ensuring that the training is relevant and adapted to your needs.
  • Headspace and Woebot: These platforms can provide guidance on topics like mindfulness, stress management, and productivity. When used consistently, they can play a big role in helping you improve your well-being and performance.

How to Support Your Own Development Needs

As leaders, the responsibility for guiding your team’s development is paramount, but it’s equally important to invest in your own growth. The steps listed above can certainly apply to you too, but here are a few additional suggestions.

Consider tapping into the resources of customized chatbots. Some L&D teams are partnering with their LMS vendors to get access to tools that can be used in real time to address specific leadership challenges. For example, I offer some of my corporate clients on-demand access to a chatbot called “Ask Sara” It fields all types of leadership-centric questions, providing instant answers and insights pulled from my decades of industry expertise, including my books, courses, and keynote presentations.

I’m also a huge proponent of creating your own peer learning group. This can give you a place to share role-related challenges with other leaders while receiving support, feedback, and advice that helps you sharpen your skills and evolve as a professional. To explore that opportunity, I invite you to check out my online LinkedIn Learning course called Peer Coaching for Leaders, Managers, and Teams.”

Since professional development is vital for you and your employees, don’t allow a lack of time to keep you from giving it the attention it deserves. By combining the powerful technology of AI with your own leadership intuition and judgment, you can be more efficient and intentional about sparking the growth that can fuel success for you and your team.

What other ways are you using AI to augment learning and development on your team?

Until next time,

Sara Canaday

About the author

Sara began her journey working full-time while she earned an MBA. As she climbed the ladder of corporate America, she repeatedly observed a surprising phenomenon: the most successful people weren’t necessarily the ones with the highest IQ or best job skills. She recognized instead that career advancement was much more closely linked with how people applied their knowledge and talents — their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and influence others.

Today, Sara is happily fulfilling that commitment as a keynote speaker, author, and executive coach. These venues have given her the opportunity to mentor and support thousands of people in diverse situations, inspiring many of them to move from insight to action with dramatic career results.

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