According to BreatheHR, 66% of employees stated they have no Personal Development Plan (PDP) in place at all, and about 47.8% of employees feel their PDP is not taken seriously by their current employer."
We understand that running a business is incredibly challenging and leaves you with very little time to focus on other things. A PDP might seem like a trivial thing when compared to other important tasks. But focusing on the growth and development of your employees could have potential benefits for the overall success of your business. Also, it will keep them interested in your company and they will stay with you for a longer period of time.
Before we delve deeper into how you can implement a PDP, let's understand how a PDP benefits your business employees.
4 Reasons why a Personal Development Plan is important for your business employees
A PDP shouldn't just be a mandatory thing that a supervisor 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 strategize as per business priorities and put things back on track when they go wrong.
Here are some ways how you can benefit from a well-defined PDP:
1. Creates a happy and engaged workforce
If your employees feel that their needs are taken care of, they're getting the required opportunities to grow in their professional career, they will definitely perform better.
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. A client is more likely to recommend your business if they have a positive experience while speaking to your confident employees.
2. Minimizes staff turnover
There is no getting over the fact that recruitment is an expensive and time-consuming process. If a PDP is properly implemented and managed, that will result in lesser attrition rates.
3. Helps in the recruitment process
It is possible that even after implementing a carefully designed personal development plan, some employees may choose to quit. But if you have consistently recorded your PDP data, you will be able to identify the top concerns - job descriptions, job roles, transitions, etc. that led to the attrition and be able to address those in your future hiring plans.
4. Develops in-house employees
It's always a good idea to retain existing employees, but you also need to ensure they are given the right role and responsibilities to advance their careers. Besides the pay, employees care about job satisfaction and fulfillment. PDPs help in identifying the high-performing candidates and if they're provided with appropriate training and guidance, they could be assigned to business-critical roles that offer great opportunities. Further, a PDP will also help you spot the people stuck in incorrect job roles and are disengaged.
7 Ways to Implement a Personal Development Plan
Now that you know about the benefits of a PDP, the next obvious question is how do you create and implement a PDP.
Here is a blueprint for you to get started with implementing your PDP.
1. Get started with a skill-gap analysis
The first step is to figure out what is the gap that you need to fill. You can conduct a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) that will not only help you understand the missing skills but also which of the employees need to be trained first. This analysis further prioritizes your organizational goals before anything else. Subsequently, all the training efforts can be streamlined to achieve maximum benefits.
2. Identify employees who are hungry for growth
The next step is to identify the employees who are interested in growing their careers and taking up leadership roles. When you feel they're ready, invest in leadership programs that will further boost their potential. The bonus point here is when the employees realize you are invested in their personal development, they'll be more committed to helping your company succeed.
3. Align the individual goals with business goals
When you have identified the areas of development along with the employees who show the promise of growing within the company, the next step will be to align the organizational goals with individual goals. Discussions with your employees regarding their job satisfaction and career growth plans will help you align the goals successfully.
4. Consider future growth prospects
A PDP shouldn't just focus on the current growth opportunities but should also consider how it will grow over the next five or ten years. A few questions you need to keep in mind here are:
Do you plan to explore new industries or service offerings?
How many leaders do you need to train to help in the expansion process?
Do you have the right people in your organization who can take up this responsibility or do you need to hire from outside?
5. Utilize personal development plan templates
There are two kinds of personal or employee development plan templates.
A. Individual development plan template:
This template helps your employees reflect on their personal career goals and how they could align their growth with organizational goals.
B. Success plan template:
This template helps your organization understand where and how they need to expand. It also highlights what resources are currently available and what could be developed to meet their long-term needs.
6. Ensure the employee training matches the job role
Once you have identified the training opportunities for your employees, make sure they fit the job roles and responsibilities. You may consider different learning modalities or delivery methods to train your employees effectively.
For example, leadership training could use a variety of approaches like coaching, job shadowing, or mentoring.
On the other hand, you could use different tools, such as microlearning, Augmented Reality (AR), or On-the-Job Training (OJT) to upskill your employees based on their skill gaps.
7. Evaluate your success with relevant data
You have invested a lot of time and effort in coming up with a PDP. How do you know that your employees have benefitted from it? Do a regular check-in with your employees and ask them how it is going with the PDP. Ask for specific feedback - what do they need more or less of. As an organization, make sure you have an individual or a team dedicated to measuring the success of the PDP, only then you will see its benefits.
Help Your Business Employees with PDP!
If you're the owner of a business and look forward to developing a comprehensive PDP, then you should check some of the online resources. One thing you need to remember here is to get the procedures correct from the very beginning. That way you will be able to minimize the overall time you need to modify and adapt to the PDP. Also, collect meaningful data to evaluate the success of the plan and empower your teams to include them in their growth plan.