How to use personal development plans
- 1 Identify who should be responsible for each employee's personal development plan (PDP) - typically, the employee's line manager.
- 2 Create a learning culture which encourages everyone to develop; consider using external mentors for the most senior managers.
- 3 Make sure the employee understands the company's objectives and how he or she contributes.
- 4 Develop a standard set of questions to use as the basis for discussion about the employee's objectives, strengths and development needs.
- 5 Encourage the employee to identify personal development objectives - even if these are not directly related to the job.
- 6 Assess how employees' objectives match your requirements; be prepared to negotiate a mix of objectives to suit both the employee and the company.
- 7 Consider whether challenging, long-term objectives or more immediate needs suit the employee best, and discuss preferred learning methods.
- 8 Agree up to three specific, realistic and measurable key objectives and deadlines; identify priorities and any interim objectives.
- 9 Identify how learning in the workplace can contribute: for example, providing new tasks and responsibilities, together with on-the-job guidance.
- 10 Identify any role for formal training, particularly if several employees will be able to benefit or if special expertise is needed.
- 11 Identify opportunities for self-directed development, together with support and encouragement from the manager.
- 12 Ask the employee to assess progress against the objectives, and discuss problems, typically every three months; provide positive feedback.
- 13 Agree revised objectives and new development opportunities.
- 14 Measure how cost-effectively PDPs contribute to achieving business goals; identify other factors preventing success (eg poor systems).
- use PDPs for every employee
- encourage the employee to identify personal objectives and needs
- negotiate objectives which suit you both
- focus on a small number of priorities and establish clear objectives
- regularly review progress
- provide support and encouragement
- impose objectives
- assume that one size fits all
- limit development to isolated training exercises