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How Personal Development Plans Can Drive Your Business

Published: Wednesday 23rd October 2019

As a business, your people are your most important resource. After all, it is them who generate the revenue that keeps your business alive and thriving. So it’s vitally important that they’re performing to the best of their ability. One way you can help them do that, and keep them feeling fulfilled in their jobs, is through a Personal Development Plan, or PDP. 

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The importance of getting it right 

A PDP scheme demonstrates to your employees that you’re interested in their professional development and personal growth. It also makes them feel that their effort is recognised. 

But to achieve those benefits, your PDP scheme needs to be done right. That isn’t always the case. A workplace survey by Breathe HR found that 47.8% of employees felt that their Personal Development Plan wasn’t taken seriously by their employer 

When a PDP scheme is implemented properly, it can generate real benefits for your business, reinforcing loyalty, effort and commitment among workers. They’re more inclined to get behind your vision and the company’s organisational goals. Take care of your employees and, in turn, they’ll take care of your clients.  So what exactly is a Personal Development Plan and how do you develop your initiative in order to gain maximum benefit for your organisation? 

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Questions to ask 

A PDP is essentially a short document that maps out how an employee can develop their skills and progress in their role at the company, while also becoming more of an asset to the organisation. In order for the PDP to achieve these goals, it’s vital to get buy-in and trust from the employee and make sure that managers have all the resources they need to achieve the objectives of the scheme. One way to do that is to ask questions that allow employees the freedom to define the objectives of their own PDP, such as: 

  • What do you want to get out of work? 
  • What are your strengths and what would you like to improve? 
  • What is preventing you from developing as much as you’d like to? 
  • What are your personal interests, and can these enhance your work performance or make you more fulfilled at work? 
  • How would you like to learn new skills? 

For a personal development plan example, see here. 

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On track for success 

Objectives should be broken into short-term, easily definable goals for the next 12 months. These don’t necessarily need to be work relatedThe whole point is to motivate the employee so they’re fulfilled in their work and perform to the best of their ability.  

Potential objectives, for examples, might be to gain a language skill, improve customer service, or, for a new recruit, to find out more about what key people do within the company. Once the objectives are defined, the next step is to find ways to achieve those goals. In the above instances, that might mean a programme of induction for the new recruit, or enrolling on a language course/customer service training 

Regular reviews are essential to make sure that the PDP is on track and make sure the resources are there to keep the worker moving along their timescale. Managers may need training themselves in order to implement the PDP scheme effectively.  

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PDPs should be seen as an investment in the company rather than a cost. Done correctly, they will deliver measurable benefits, and even reveal insights into underlying problems within the business. 

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