How to implement Personal Development Plans (PDP) for your team: Prepare, Review, Reflect

PDP blog - Featured image - Prepare Review Reflect

What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

A Personal Development Plan is a meeting between line managers and their employees to discuss their development and training needs. It is an individual action plan which reflects the development needed for your team to achieve their current objectives.

The PDP meeting happens annually between an employee and their line manager as part of the appraisal process. It focuses on an individual’s skills, knowledge and experience and their future training and development needs.

It is intended to identify current skills, knowledge and experience, match these to the requirements of the position, identify gaps and agree how these will be filled, then agree a personal development plan for the year.

Performance Development Review meeting

Preparing your team for their PDP

Before the annual meeting ask your team members to:

  • Think about the overall purpose of their role.
  • Identify any gaps in their knowledge, skills and experience which are needed to do their job effectively. ​Think about how they can improve?
  • Ask if there is anything hindering their success? e.g. time management, costs, ability to maintain work/life balance. Understanding any threats to development can help you to include them in their plan and solve any problems before they occur, giving everyone the best chance of success.
  • Understand their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Understand the areas they need to improve and develop to meet their objectives.
  • Articulate their individual goals and what they want to achieve. Are these goals really what they want to achieve more than anything else? Will these inspire them to take action?
  • Think about what they will need to do to achieve these goals?

Reviewing Personal Development Plans

It is worth taking the time to review your team’s activities against their plans on a regular basis. A quarterly meeting between line managers and employees to review this document and progress against objectives is useful. If you meet less often, you may find that you are not placing a high enough priority on development activities and letting progress slip. More often, and you are likely to find that not enough progress has been made, or that you are tempted to put the review off, because the last one was so recent.

Performance Development Plan form

Reflective practice and Action Learning

What is Reflective Practice?

Reflective practice, in its simplest form, is thinking about or reflecting on what you do. It is closely linked to the concept of learning from experience, in that you think about what you did, and what happened, and decide from that what you would do differently next time.

Thinking about what has happened is part of being human. However, the difference between casual ‘thinking’ and ‘reflective practice’ is that reflective practice requires a conscious effort to think about events and develop insights into them. Once you get into the habit of using reflective practice, you will probably find it useful both at work and at home.

What is Action Learning?

This is a form of reflective practice and is the methodology that Business Clan has chosen to adopt as a working practice for all internal and external projects. A key part of this methodology is to capture your learning about yourself and others, and to write down your actions and commit to completing them within a specific timeframe. Action cards are used to capture this and are used as a reference point after a period of reflection.

Action cards use a ‘parking zone area’ to capture ideas and questions that are not immediately relevant so that you can come back to them later. There is an art to asking good questions to help reflective practice and these are key to Action Learning.

Download an example of an Action Learning Card.

Download our example of an Action Learning Card

If you are looking to update or implement your appraisal process or want advice on better ways of working give our HR team a call.

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