An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an organized approach to professional and personal development. While Individual Development Plan as a concept is fairly evolved, it is only in the recent times that a lot of multinational organizations have started implementing the same.
A well thought out plan gives employees the clarity and opportunities on how to enhance their skills and craft their career. It is natural for employees to come back to the management with questions like “Do you have a Development Plan for my role?”, “Will the completion of my plan guarantee a senior position?” Or even “How does successful completion of a Development plan impact on my career?”
As HR Professionals, it is our responsibility to not let these questions go unanswered.
So here is a brief insight into what an Individual Development Plan really is:
1. It is a concise document on the professional development of an employee/ a role
2. It is finalized after a “Development Discussion” between the employee and their manager
3. It focuses on the key priority areas such as “How”, “What” and “Why”, providing a more holistic career graph guidance.
An apt Individual Development Plan is always personalized and made as per the capabilities of the employee occupying the said role. It must never be purchased off the shelf. Some of the steps involved in creating an ideal IDP are mentioned below:
1. Organizational Goals and Objective
An employees’ goals must preferably be aligned with the organizational need, goals and objectives. Once you have identified the objective, it becomes easier to trickle down to the skills and competencies required to support those goals.
For example, if you are expecting a growth and expansion of business in the next 1-2 years, then the organization would obviously be in need of more leaders. Do your current employees have the skills? Or would you prefer hiring from the market?
While external hiring might seem lucrative in terms of the having to invest lesser in training and faster delivery of, developing a talent pipeline internally for such key position, is a far better option to go for. This not only saves you the recruitment, on boarding and induction cost, but also motivates the existing employees to look forward to that dream position.
The Goals and Objectives must be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely).
2. Development Discussion
As managers and HR Professionals, never assume the competencies and career goals of your employees. It is suggested a “Development Discussion” to be arranged, for a better understanding of their career aspirations.
While some employees might already know what it is that they want from their career, there may be others who have not realized their potential and some guidance would be needed for them to take the next step.
3. Knowing the readiness of your employee team
There is a difference between Potential and Readiness of an employee. While one of your employees may be interested in moving into a managerial role, he may not be “ready” for the movement as yet. Readiness comes in a variety of forms such as skills and experiences.
For example, the employee might be interested in the next level role, but may not be ready to travel as much as it may require in the new role due to personal commitments. Hence, a conscious call must be taken to avoid the devastating aftermath of pushing an employee to a higher role that they were not ready for.
4. Decide what skills your employees need
While you begin with getting an understanding of your employees’ abilities and experience, as well as your organisational needs, it’s time to decide exactly what skills each person needs to acquire. You should make sure that your employees’ goals are timely specific. If your employee objectives are too vague or non specific, it makes your job that much more difficult particularly when you need to measure an employee’s progress.
5. Training and Developmental Needs
Now that you know the objective and current status (in terms of readiness) of the employee, you need to enlist the various means via which the employee would acquire the new skills.
Some of the options like Class room learning, online courses and mentoring can be considered. Giving small tasks that the new role might entail, is another sought after method of briefing employees of the routine and challenges involved.
6. Create an Action Plan
With the employee objectives in place and having identified your training and development needs, it’s time to understand how your employee will achieve them. Most development programs include a combination of activities which include formal training, reading, one to one mentoring as well as visits to development institutions.
You need to consider what can help you put your employee’s plan into action. Several questions that you can ask will help you with this. You need to know if there is any preparation that you need to do and if your employees need to take time away from work. With these details, it is far more helpful to create a schedule that your employees can use to pursue their goals as well as measure the success.
7. Before, During and After Plan
you have identified some of the learning opportunities for your employee(s), it is best to pen everything down against specific timelines. It is practically impossible to measure performance with there is no specific timeline alongside.
Since organizations invest a considerable amount of time and sometimes, money, that it is important to make sure that the expectation setting has been done right.
Feedback plays an important role in deciding how the employee will perform in their new role. In case there is a gap or lack of understanding, the same must be cleared immediately, to avoid major setbacks at a later stage.
As you may have understood by now, Individual Development Plan not only makes employees more efficient and effective, but also brings immense amount of Job Satisfaction. This further leads to higher employee retention.
What decides the success of an Individual Development Plan?
This can be explained with the 70-20-10 Plan.
70 % – The Primary responsibility of executing the final development plan and taking proactive steps to ensure consistency, is that of the employee.
20 % – The secondary responsibility of drafting a successful Development plan is that of the line manager. As mentioned earlier, a plan must be drafted in discussion with the employee and not in silos or based on any assumption. The Line manager should provide support and guidance when required.
10 % – The HR Professionals and Management must empower their line managers with the necessary tools in such a way that they in turn are able to develop and revise the IDPs of their reportees.
Do you have any ideas on creating a result oriented individual development plan? please feel free to share with us in the comments.