A professional development plan generally applies to skills and knowledge attained for both individual growth and career progression. Whether you’re looking to advance in a particular position or focus in on your goal for a new one, creating a development plan will help you reach your goal.
A Professional Development Plan, also known as an Individual Development Plan (IDP), or Employee Development Plan (EDP), is used as a tool to help plan a career, guide development and assess progress toward your career goals. Here are a few steps to creating a development plan:
Conduct a Self- Assessment - Decide what you want to change or improve.
Identify Support - Make a list of resources that will help you to make those changes: Books, online courses, continued education, informational interviews and people.
Create Goals and Action Steps - Schedule a specific amount of time each day towards using those resources to achieve your individual development goals.
Monitor Your Progress - Track your progress by taking notes or journaling. This will keep you focused and encouraged. Take time to celebrate all successes, big and small.
An EDP is a more formal document, typically involving Human Resources, along with conversations and input from your direct manager. If you don't have one in place, be sure to ask your HR department what the policy is for career advancement. As an employee, it's a good idea to create a development plan to chart career progression, to make sure you know how to move up the ladder at work and what that ladder looks like. Most individuals want to advance in their current position of employment or be promoted to new ones. A realistic plan is needed to do this effectively. As an employee, there may be development opportunities provided by the employer:
Training – If there are areas that require improvement, training is a great option. Some employers may offer tuition assistance and/or paid time off to pursue learning opportunities.
Employee Mentoring – Employee mentoring programs are a major factor in employee retention and increased profitability and productivity within a company.
Change in Job Design – Aspects of your job are reviewed and suggestions are made as to how the job might be redesigned to increase efficiency.
Delegation of Special Projects - Assigning a critical task to an employee is a definite sign of respect and value. The more important a project is deemed, the greater the implied confidence, because of its impact if it succeeds or fails.
In the past, we thought career development was something that ended when we graduated from high school or college. Now we know that is far from the truth. There is an ever-increasing need for us to keep learning to keep up with the rapid growth in information and the rate of change of our workplace environments. Whether your plan is to prepare for another job, or to develop skills to be used in your current job, be proactive and take personal responsibility for your own growth and development. New skills and knowledge will keep you motivated and help you to remain competitive in the job market.