Are people growing in your organization??

As soon as an employee joins an organization the cycle of growth and career development begins for him. Laying down a solid foundation in this respect right from the start of an employee’s career is resulting in creating ‘Individual Development Plans (IDP)’ for them. It’s the job of the HR Manager to help his people visualize a successful career in the future and that their decision of choosing them as their preferred employer was right.

Talking of the traditional approach adopted by organizations where people were merely given importance and career development, growth etc were topics least interesting for any company, times have changed and now organizations with the help of Human Resource department are taking the extra effort to draw up a development plan for the employee.

What is an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?
The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is an organized approach to professional development activities and programs that are designed to improve the employee’s professional skills and the department’s productivity. This is a joint process, both in design and execution, in that managers are more familiar with the department’s future directions and the employee is more aware of specific, individual needs and aspirations.

The purpose of the IDP is to target competencies and skills to be developed for three purposes: for use in the employee’s current position, for growth within the employee’s current position, and for future career goals.

How IDPs are helpful for an employee?
They provide direction to career development as they are not generic, but based on assessment of areas for improvement given the employee’s current role and perhaps the immediate future role.
They are prepared jointly by the employees and their managers. Hence, there is a commitment on both sides to realize the plans.
IDPs normally state what competencies are attempted to be built or what gaps are aimed to be closed and therefore, they help employees to build competence, confidence and comfort with their roles.
IDPs focus on the strengths and developmental areas of an employee. It encourages the employee to look at ways to leverage on his/her strengths, document the same and write out action steps.
It also looks at the developmental areas of the employee and encourages him/her to look at ways to move the needle on these through special assignments, focused training, executive development programs and coaching.
An individual development plan ensures a readily available framework for the individual to think about his/her inherent strengths and how best the same can be utilized given the myriad roles available.

For the motivation
While an IDP helps in career growth and mapping, it also acts like a motivational tool for the employees. It provides an inspiration to be better workers. It is a reassurance to an employee that the organization is interested in and committed to his/her development. An IDP is the first and a very important step in helping a person grow.

Developing the Individual Development Plan
The process involves the following steps:

1. Preparing an Individual Development Plan at the time of the employee’s evaluation.

2. Involving the employee in the design of the IDP.

3. Consider each area of the employee’s performance from the following perspectives and determine which should be developed in the upcoming evaluation period:

Strengths that, if enhanced, will contribute to the overall mission of the organization and increase productivity.
New skills that will be needed in the upcoming evaluation period.
Areas of performance/skills that need to be improved.
4. Determine the appropriate learning methods and resources that will be needed for development.

5. Once the learning methods and resources have been selected, define the measures or criteria that will be used to determine if the targeted learning has been accomplished.

6. The supervisor and the employee sign the IDP to document mutual agreement with it and commitment to completing it. Clarify responsibilities with the employee.

7. Set up a reporting system so that the employee’s progress can be gauged at any time and adjustments can be made to the plan as needed.

In this process, employees identify their career growth themselves and Human Resource Department supports them to achieve it. With a self chosen and well defined career path in front of them, employees have just one effort to make it happen. This is by actually working on it and re-skilling themselves for the new role and challenges. The mere feeling that the entire organization is backing them to achieve their dream career definitely motivates the employees. Moreover, as the career path is chosen by employees themselves without any force, this very factor also motivates the employees to achieve something which is defined by none other than themselves.

In the end, I would say that IDP helps an employee to know his/her growth plan. So if you see your employee de-motivated, map out his/her success graph. You just might see a sky-rocketing change in their attitude and behaviour at workplace.

What’s your experience been with IDPs? Do you have any other tips to share?


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