Ten Types of
Developmental Activities for the Workplace
and organizations that support and implement developmental activities
often see positive growth in motivation, morale, and performance.
Providing employees with meaningful developmental activities can
increase skills, encourage collaboration, expand knowledge, and nurture
a desire for additional learning. The best developmental activities
balance the employee’s needs and interests with the organization’s
goals and objectives - a win-win situation for both. In
short, developmental activities are a means to creating an engaged and
United States Department of State, Bureau of Human Resources, has
outlined ten basic types of developmental activities.
Team leaders may skillfully implement these types of
developmental activities to strengthen the capacity and depth of their
Types of Developmental Activities
Cross Training. Cross
training is training someone in another activity that is related to
his/her current work. This
is a good way to learn new skills, combat boredom, and increase an
individual’s value and flexibility.
Formal Training. Formal
training is a classroom type of learning that can be done “in-house”
or externally (training centers, colleges, private vendors, etc.)
Matrix Teams. This is the formation of work groups, cross functional
teams, problem solving teams, task forces, committees, and special
project groups. The goal is
to share information, knowledge, collaboration, and expertise.
Mentoring. Mentoring falls
into two basic categories: formal and informal.
Formal mentoring is based on an explicit agreement with specific goals
and a structured process to achieve those goals.
Informal mentoring has a looser structure where a more experience
employee takes another “under his or her wing.”
The mentor provides the protégé with advice, insight, and
On-the-Job Training. Here the employee is working as he/she
learns a job. We only get
about 25% of what we use in our jobs through formal learning. The other
75% of learning happens as we creatively adopt and adapt to ever
changing circumstances. It happens when we ask a coworker a question and
get an answer or when we collaborate with members of our team on a
Position Enhancement. This kind of learning involves modifying an
employee’s responsibilities to meet a personal development objective.
Job responsibilities are stretched in some way. This can either be
vertical or horizontal.
Enlargement is the horizontal expansion of a job. It
involves the addition of tasks at the same level of skill and
Enrichment is the addition to a job of tasks that increase
the amount of employee control or responsibility. It is a vertical
expansion of the job.
Self-Directed Learning Projects.
An employee is assigned or voluntarily undertakes a specific
project that promotes the expansion of skills and knowledge through
self-directed learning or research and produces a final product that
contributes to organizational objectives.
Special Assignments. A
Special Assignment is a learning strategy in which the employee performs
temporary duties on a full or part-time basis. These duties may be
performed within or outside the current organization.
Special Developmental Assignments.
When working on a developmental assignment, employees are still
assigned to their regular positions, but for a period of time they will
work on a particular assignment often with a different team leader.
During the assignment they will perform tasks assigned, based on the
identified career goals and interests and/ or the position they are
filling. It can be a great learning experience and can assist employees
in their career goals and help them determine if a particular job would
be right for them. It broadens their knowledge of other functions and
departments and offers them different and challenging job experiences.
Self Developmental Learning. Team
members are directed self-learning materials that they can use on their
own time to enhance their skills and knowledge.
This may include books, DVDs, Internet courses, workbooks, etc.