Individual Development Plan: Using the Tool (B)
What is the Individual Development Plan tool? What are the personal attributes?
Posted: Aug 2009
The Individual Development Plan is the formal development tool that provides structured approach to development of employee. The Individual Development Plan is describing the activities from different areas. The approaches of developments are Work Assignments, Manager's Coaching and attending the Education Courses/Seminars.
IDP – What to Do? Chose two to three important development needs that will improve the performance of the employees. The IDP should not contain too many development areas in one development cycle. The development activities should be focused on areas where there is the need for development. At same time those areas should be relevant for the employee position.
IDP – How to Do? Manager and employee should do the Individual Development Plan jointly. All activities and time frame should be defined. The Individual Development Plan should push employee deeper into his/her job. The goal of IDP is not to move them away from their job.
The IDP should be defined on annual level. The IDP is set up at the beginning of the year. As IDP can easily lost in every day’s rush and other priorities, it is necessary to follow up the development on periodical basis, usually quarterly.
The logic of IDP plan should be focused on areas of quick wins at first. The employee performance depends upon several different personal attributes: knowledge, skills, attitude and personal traits. As the knowledge is the easiest attribute to fix, probably it should be the primary goal of IDP. Still, other personal attributes should be considered for the IDP.
The Knowledge seems easiest to fix. A simple knowledge may be sufficient. Classroom trainings can be a good solution for knowledge transfer. On-job-training is also a good way of knowledge acquirement.
The Skills takes time to build. They require training, practice, coaching and feedback. On-Job-Training is the best way for skills building. Classroom training can also help. Basically the knowledge applied through time become skill.
The Attitude of employee is more difficult to fix because it comes from culture and habits of employee. Those habits and culture were built probably even before the employee was assigned to current position. Intensive coaching and exposure to a new way of thinking can change attitudes gradually.
Personal Traits of employee are highly inflexible, since they are personal characteristics of an individual. The change of personal trait is not likely to be changed, especially on the short term. Although, the people can change over long period of time. For example person that was neurotic while it was young can became more emotionally stabile as it matures. The person that is introvert at the beginning of career can be more extrovert as it gains experience and knowledge during the career.