A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is a framework - within an occupational context - for matching individual needs to organisational needs, in a mutually fulfilling manner. It is an approach that encourages individuals to take responsibility for managing their own learning and development goals, and aligning these to orgnisational objectives. The PDP sets out the actions people propose to take to learn, and develop themselves, with the support of the organisation and their line manager. They should also work with those around them (peers and direct reports) and consider obtaining a 360 degree review, to assist them identify training and development needs.
As a process Personal Development Planning involves the individual:-
- identifying their current situation,
- identifying where they would like to be in the future, and
- developing a plan outlining the learning & development required to get there.
PDPs can vary in focus, but generally include elements of:
- job related development to assist performance in current role and attainment of organisational objectives
- career development to align individual career planning & organisational 'succession' planning so that the optimal match of individual & organisation needs are achieved
- non-work related development focusing on non-work related skills to enhance personal effectiveness generally, which will often have a tangible occupational benefit
- holistic development - incorporating all of the above, emphasising the 'whole person' in all aspects of their life.
PDPs can be beneficial to individuals by giving them greater control over their destiny, achieving work-life balance, enhancing their employability and other less tangible benefits e.g. alignment of personal goals & values with emotional & intellectual committment to their work. From an organisational perspective, PDPs can facilitate the effective accomplishment of goals, san focus developments on job related needs, show that employees are valued, form a key component of learning organisation ethos, increase employee retention and provide a cost effective return on investment in training & staff development.