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Personal development plans (PDPs) are not only a roadmap to success for individuals—they also help improve an organisation’s overall performance. As employees achieve their goals and acquire new skills, businesses benefit from their improved skills and productivity. From entry-level workers to seasoned career professionals, everyone benefits from strengthening their abilities, learning new skills, and becoming more effective in their role. This is because PDPs help individuals map out their growth path to achieve an overall goal, such as learning new hard skills or developing soft skills. Are you ready to level up your organisation's performance?
According to a Gallup study, an engaged workforce amounts to a 21% increase in productivity levels. PDPs can help your employees develop and boost their confidence levels. This may appear to be very insignificant but can make a huge difference for your business. If your employees are in a client-facing role, then that surely reflects in their communication as they come across as more confident than ever. The client is more likely to recommend your business if they have a positive experience while speaking to your confident employees.
A Personal Development Plan shouldn't just be a mandatory thing that a manager looks into before the annual appraisal. A well-structured plan provides focus and charts out the growth path for the company. It also encourages you to strategise as per business priorities and put things back on track when they go wrong.
Benefits of personal development plans
Personal development plans hold the following advantages for businesses and employees alike, as they help you or the organisation to:
How to create personal development plans for business
A personal development plan outlines the skills and personal attributes individuals need to work on to support sustainable business growth. This is why many companies incorporate PDPs as a standard component of the performance management process.
Personal development opportunities keep people motivated, which in turn increases engagement and reduces employee turnover. As employees expand their skills and advance their careers, they are better positioned to achieve business-related objectives.
Keep the following steps in mind when making personal development plans:
1. Start with self-assessment
Most PDPs start by compiling a list of a person’s strengths, weaknesses, areas of development, and goals. One effective way of organising this self-assessment is by using a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats:
A SWOT analysis helps individuals evaluate their existing knowledge and skills and identify factors that could impact their ability to meet their goals. This is achieved by answering questions relating to each component of the SWOT diagram.
A thoughtful, well-organised SWOT analysis helps provide clarity when creating the goals of a personal development plan. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, as well as any threats or opportunities, employees are able to identify what they want to accomplish.
2. Set SMART goals
Once team members understand how their knowledge, interests, and skills relate to their career goals, each individual can identify areas for improvement. Start by talking with employees to gain insights into their career goals. This helps you assess how their goals can be aligned with the requirements of your company’s objectives or business plan.
The goals set in a professional development plan should be SMART, which means they are:
SMART goals are more realistic and attainable than generic, loosely defined ones. For example, a weak goal might be something like “I will help my team communicate better” or “I will help my team close more sales.” By using the SMART goal framework, you have defined steps to take, understand what resources are required, and have milestones to track your progress along the way.
A PDP breaks down SMART goals into manageable action points and structures them as short-term objectives. This makes it easy to achieve goals by completing one small step at a time, keeping PDP followers focused on the benefit of realising their larger end goal.
3. Develop goal attainment strategies
There are various resources and strategies that can be used to achieve the goals of a personal development plan. According to the 70-20-10 model, employees perform best with a combination of informal, formal, and social learning strategies:
By leveraging a variety of training and development options, personal development plans can be customised to reflect an individual learner’s weaknesses and opportunities.
For example, if an employee needs a management certification to advance in their role, they will benefit from formal learning in a certification course. If another individual struggles with business relationships, they might seek out short course where they can develop their emotional intelligence skills.
4. Monitor progress and adapt accordingly
Meeting regularly with employees helps monitor their progress in obtaining their PDP goals. Ask for specific feedback regarding what is going well, where they need support, and if parts of the plan need to be adjusted or improved.
As individuals work on their goals, they can document the changes made and steps taken to achieve their objectives. If they are struggling to complete tasks within the specified timeframe, find out what is going wrong and why.
For example, was the goal not achievable within the given amount of time or did they not have enough support? Then, rectify and update the plan accordingly. A personal development plan is not rigid, and it can and should be adapted as individuals work toward their goals.
Are you planning to reduce inefficiencies and inaccuracies of the traditional PDP and performance process to empower your employees and managers alike to take a proactive approach to performance management?
Our human resources consulting services can be engaged on an hourly or ad-hoc basis, or called in on a contract basis to help your managers and employees identify areas for improvement, set goals, measure progress, and outline a strategy to achieve those objectives. Either arrangement benefits your organisation based simply on the level of expertise our consultant brings to your business. Since Gestaldt HR consultants have worked with many different businesses throughout their career, dealing with a variety of workplace issues, your business stands to benefit from such widespread knowledge and experience.
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