A Guide to Personal Development Plans for Business

A well-drafted PDP will give an employee the motivation to improve themselves, benefiting your business as a whole. Read our guide to the process here

A Guide to Personal Development Plans for Business

PDPs can be an enormously powerful tool. They provide meaning and direction to employees, allowing them to feel more fulfilled in their jobs whilst becoming more effective at achieving the wider aims of your business.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of how to use PDPs in your own business, including what they involve, who should have one, and how to implement them. Read on to find out more.

How do PDPs differ from training programmes?

Traditional training programmes will involve putting groups of employees through a standardised process; PDPs are very different from this.

Essentially, PDPs are more focused on individual development; each PDP will be personal to each employee, and focus on their individual skills and how they can improve them. They will also focus on your wider business goals by tying in individual aspirations with company-wide objectives.

PDPs also differ from training by taking a longer view. Most traditional training programmes will focus on short-term objectives; PDPs can set objectives in terms of months or years.

A good PDP will also have a clear structure; whilst you should focus on long-term goals, these will be broken down into achievable short-term objectives. This will root the document in practical reality and allow the employee to start improving themselves right away.

PDPs will also very often be supported by other resources in your business. You are likely to achieve the best results by backing up PDPs with training, cash incentives, a mentoring scheme, and outlays on additional business equipment.

Who is involved in the PDP process?

If you have a system of PDPs in your business, you should commit to giving everyone a PDP in the interests of fairness and consistency. Employees who will particularly benefit include:

  • Junior employees: PDPs will help them to map out their career path and set their goals accordingly.
  • Long-serving staff: A PDP can help break a long-serving member renew stagnant motivation.
  • Managers: PDPs will keep senior people motivated, guarding against creeping complacency.

When it comes to developing PDPs for individuals, you should generally give your line managers or other senior employees control over the process. They may well need training in how to manage PDPs effectively – you can even build these skills into their own PDP. Your local business support organisation or the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development will be able assist you with your training needs.

More generally, you should try and foster a mutually supportive learning culture in your business to help people achieve their objectives. Get senior employees involved in mentoring less experienced employees.

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