An employee’s growth begins right from the time he/she steps into an organization. And keeping this in mind, organizations are now initiating and creating ‘Individual Development Plans’ (IDP) right from the start.

Growth is the yardstick of success for an employee, regardless of one’s position. And while organizations know the importance of this, very few think of creating a plan for the employees. However times have changed and now organizations are taking the extra effort to draw up a development plan for the employee.

Though the importance of the same in not really mentioned during initiation or orientation, every organization creates an Individual Developmental Plan (IDP) for their employee right from the start. So how can an IDP help an employee? IDPs help employees in many ways. They provide direction to career development as they not generic, but based on assessment of areas for improvement given the employee’s current role and perhaps the immediate future role. Also, 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 employee 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 strengths and how best the same can be utilized given the myriad roles available.

Various IDP programs in organization symphony have implemented a web based application called ‘PEARL’ (Performance Appraisal Review Learning system) that the HR tracks and reviews periodically. They also have a competency framework that is widely implemented across the organization through yet another web based application called ‘CORAL’ (Competency Review and Learning system) Gaps are identified in the IDP and employees concerned are required to attend the training/mentoring programs designed to fill these gaps.

Logica has a Personal Development Plan (PDP) and this has been a part of their performance and development planning discussion for well over a decade. Some elements we cover in this are career aspirations including type of role, motivation, steps along the way and timing. Besides this, we also look at strengths and areas to develop, capability gaps, and a comprehensive development action plan. This is supplemented by our pathways, which gives the flexibility for an employee to move across roles/functions in a seamless manner.

While an IDP helps in career growth and mapping experts say that it also acts like a motivational tool for the employees. They say that 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.

IDPs have tremendous motivation potential. Since the knowledge workers are worried about becoming obsolescent in a fast changing technology landscape, they value learning more than money. And IDPs provide them with a structured and focused opportunity for learning and overcoming their fear of obsolescence. IDPs when taken seriously and implemented well protect against what is known as contribution plateau which is critical for continued contribution on the job.

In this process employees identify their career growth themselves and organization 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. It helps for 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.

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