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

How do I monitor PDPs?

As with any business improvement tool, PDPs are intended to be an ongoing and closely monitored process.

To effectively review PDPs, follow these steps:

    • Agree on a timescale for subsequent meetings. How long you leave between PDP reviews depends on the needs of your business. Most businesses find twice a year is sufficient to monitor progress, but in times of rapid change or uncertainty, you might find anything down to once a month useful. Just ensure you give your employee enough space to achieve their objectives without constant harrying.
    • Canvass feedback on the process. Give each employee a form to fill out, asking them what has gone well about the PDP process, and what they feel could be improved.

Use the PDP meeting for feedback. Maximise the effectiveness of the meeting by giving credit where credit is due – always important when trying to motivate a workforce – and looking at areas where an employee could improve.

What kinds of objectives suit what kinds of employee?

Again, each PDP should be focused on the individual, and you should be wary of making sweeping generalisations. However, some general approaches can be taken based on the past performance of the employee concerned.

For example, ambitious high-flyers will be seeking constant advancement within your business, and are likely to leave if they can’t achieve this. Your objectives for them should focus on achieving these lofty ambitions; use incentives like promotion, pay rises and greater responsibility to spur them on to new heights.

A different approach is generally required for underperformers. PDPs should encourage them to take a sober view of their own shortcomings, rather than point the finger at others. Then, the PDP should address these shortcomings through specific, short-term goals designed to address the most obvious areas of concern.

How do I measure the success of PDPs?

When measuring the effectiveness of PDPs in bringing about positive change in your business, consider the following:

  • Measure key performance indicators closely. Assess the benefits to your business against the costs of PDPs. In addition, link KPIs to employee performance to see where improving staff skills could benefit your business as a whole.
  • Identify what is holding people back from achieving their objectives. For example, staff might be unable to improve their customer support because your IT systems need replacing.
  • Listen carefully to feedback. As part of the PDP process, you should have been canvassing feedback from employees on what is working and what isn’t.
  • Try to identify hidden benefits. Don’t just look at cashflow when identifying benefits. Improvements in areas such as customer service can bring intangible, but no less valuable, benefits to your business.
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