Set attainable goals for professional development with Individual Development Plan

Individual Development Plan

With businesses constantly evolving- 18% of employees change their jobs every 1-3 years. And the figure includes 42% of millennials. 

They are called the job-hopping generation, which will be 75% by 2030. So, how do companies prevent job hopping? How can they aim to improve employee retention? 

While there are many methods like efficient training, providing job security, and giving a good workplace, at the center of this is the Individual Development Plan- an outline for the personal and professional growth of an employee.

And, with the right IDP, you can gain employees’ loyalty and retain them for long. The plan is incredibly effective with the right template that should be followed step-by-step. 

What is an individual development plan?

An individual development plan is a personalized agreement between an employer and employee that helps identify new abilities to be gained and ways to boost performance in a specific time frame. It has a proper plan of action to attain goals.

The template leads to precise, actionable steps which helps employees enhance their personal and professional development. 

Why is it important for employees?

Here are some reasons why employees should make IDP a priority:

Direction: It offers employees with higher concentration, ambition, and determination. It helps convert their paycheck job to a goal-oriented ambition. 

Commitment: Employees want companies to invest in their development. This helps develop morale and develop a desire to stay in the company. It transforms them into a well-rounded leader to assess a situation from all angles and work towards it.

Opportunities: Of course, a company hires employees to meet its needs. By acknowledging your employees’ abilities, a company can allow them to meet future company needs. Instead of hiring new resources, you can use internal employees and professional training and develop them.

Why is it important for organizations?

The development planning procedure has a major role for companies. Here are some benefits it offers to organizations:

Upskill the workforce

IDP helps upskill your workforce by helping employees know their strengths and weaknesses. It helps them plan their training and development better to boost their skillset.

It is said that the more skilled a workforce is, the more productive they get. McKinsey & Company revealed that in tough occupations, the high performers are 800% more productive than a common employee.

Better productivity

With upskilled workforce, productivity also increases. Employees better manage their work and time and adhere to deadlines.

Studies reveal that planning secures 10 times more time, which is advantageous for the company and boosts efficiency.

Improved company culture

Individual development planning helps develop a work culture that is inclusive and cooperative. Developing plans with employees helps them feel encouraged, supported, and appreciated. Employee engagement boosts their self-confidence.

Glassdoor survey stated that 77% of workers consider the company’s culture before sending their job applications.

Enhanced feedback culture

Companies should adopt a feedback culture. Organizations benefit when supervisors, leaders, and managers comment on the performance of the employees. It helps them improve in the field they’re underperforming.

Who should create an individual development plan?

Employees can take responsibility for their development by choosing and creating an IDP. The major term here is individual- the development plan is created and driven by employees.

Employees or the manager can create the plan. It outlines an employee’s action items, learning results, and the support needed to reach goals. An IDP showcases the individual goals of an employee. They are more important to them. Hence, an IDP is majorly created by employees after acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses.

When to create an individual development plan?

There is no specific time to create an individual development plan. The idea here is to develop one when an employee or a manager thinks they need one. If you think that the market trends are changing or there is a change in the work pattern, and the workforce should be updated with the evolution, an IDP can be created.

It can be created from time to time to sharpen the personal and professional of an employee if they feel they lack the skill or should get upskilled for a specific responsibility. 

Types of individual development plans

There are different types of individual development plans. Check them out below:

Mental growth

Mental growth is about developing your mind and enhancing the way you think and understand. It involves boosting your cognitive functions to improve your mental aptitude. Performing simple jobs like staying updated about the recent trends can help you experience good mental growth and boost your work productivity. 

Social growth

Social growth improves your interaction abilities. While some professionals aim to develop other skills, learning to communicate efficiently is important. Learn to be a good listener and a great speaker to help you work productively within a team, provide input in meetings and give feedback about your work.

Spiritual growth

Spiritual growth is about knowing yourself on a holistic standard and finding inner peace. Employees can get inner peace through a good workplace culture and experience. Spiritual growth is essential at work because it helps you handle stress and develop confidence in yourself and your talent.

Emotional growth

Emotional growth is all about developing and handling your emotions in different circumstances. While anxiety and work challenge can damage you on an emotional level, emotional growth helps you surpass these challenges. 

It helps you express yourself with calmness and open-mindedness. It helps you assess your feelings about your job and pick a suitable course of action to complete a task. Emotional growth also reduces conflicts amongst colleagues.

Physical growth

Physical growth is about addressing your body and making it productive. A healthy body leads to efficient brain functioning. When you’re physically fit, you can work more efficiently.

Components of an individual development plan

An IDP structure can differ from company to company; this personalization helps make a contextualized template. However, to ease things up, major components of a development plan include:

  • Professional objectives and motivations
  • Strengths and abilities
  • Development opportunities
  • Plan of action

Using these components, an employee or manager can articulate an IDP. For employees seeking growth, an IDP template allows them to mention actionable steps to enhance leadership and other abilities. For employees looking forward to gaining good work results, goals can be structured around improving their current role.

Here is a breakdown of every component of an Individual Development Plan:

  • Professional objectives and motivations

The professional objectives and motivation section should include achievable goals and the productivity of an individual, along with the dates. It can also mention specific projects an employee wants to do, the productivity results they want to achieve, and the motivations they have to get promoted to a specific position in the company.

  • Strengths and abilities

Using the employee’s performance review, some core skills can help identify their knowledge and talent. Positive feedback is necessary, and mentioning strengths help develop confidence in an employee and prepares them to take up new challenges. 

  • Development opportunities

Mention every development opportunity with the relevant goal. For instance, if communication skill is a development opportunity, the goal should be to choose a public speaking course.

  • Plan of action

A plan of action should be customized, precise, and achievable. It should benefit the employee and their team. Some actions an employee can mention are:

1. Leading meetings

2. Joining a development course

3. Learning from a coach

4. Getting a professional certification

5. Volunteering with communities

6. Working on team-building events

7. Taking up challenging tasks

8. Attending conferences and meetings to sharpen their skills

9. Cross-training

How to implement an individual development plan?

74% of employees state that an absence of an employee development program prevents them from working at their full potential. Hence, it is important to implement individual development plans for employees.

Sometimes a company may acknowledge the advantages of IDP but fail to implement it suitably. Hence, here is the right way to implement an individual development plan.

Speak to your employees

The first step to implementing an Individual Development Plan is to discuss with your employees about their career objectives. The conversation can be made while reviewing the annual performances. The major component for success is to aim for a plan which works for the employees and company.

Mention the knowledge, capabilities, and skills

The major duty of human resources is talent management. Hence, the manager should know about the employees’ capabilities, skills, and knowledge. The documentation process differs by company. It helps to find the perfect method which works for a specific condition.

Know talent gaps

While helping the company bridge talent gaps, take time to assess if any current employees’ individual development plans can fill in the gap. This will help companies avoid hiring external talent, get the internal team to work efficiently, and learn to meet the changing company requirements.

Develop time-related action steps

When developing an IDP, it is important to take action. No benefits will be derived from the Individual Development Plan if it is only created to create self-awareness. While developing self-awareness is great, what’s better is to apply it.

Assess your progress

It is important to assess progress. Check how many IDPs are submitted and the number of positions filled with the skills and knowledge acquired from IDPs.

When implementing an IDP, it is important to draft it using the right template. Here are some examples to check out

Template for an individual development plan

Use the given individual development plan template examples to create and enhance your results.

– Name of the employee

– Job position, role, place, and title

– Date

– Focus area of development

– Professional objectives and motivations

– Strengths and skills

– Major development requirements

– Development opportunities

– Plan of action

– Time

– Cost

Check out the example of a fully completed IDP based on the above template:

– Name of the employee: Arvind Agarwal

– Job position, role, place, and title: Manager, handling social media promotions, Mumbai, social media manager.

– Date: 8/5/2022

– Professional objectives and motivations:

  1. Surpass performance expectations in the present position
  2. Gain a leadership position in the organization

– Strengths and skills:

  1. Management skills
  2. Communication skills
  3. Time management abilities
  4. Content planning

– Major development requirements:

  1. Develop engaging content to convert leads
  2. Surpass expectations of clients
  3. Become a leader in the social media department.

– Plan of action: Create a skilled social media team for major social media projects. Coordinate with team to generate customer acquisition campaigns and boost conversion rates by 40%

– Time: Hire a team to develop well-formed campaigns for every social media platform. Achieve conversation rate goal in 4 months.

– Cost: Accomplish 40% conversion rates for customers by increasing the budget by 10%.

Setting up reviews to ensure the success of an individual development plan

It is important to review the processes of an IDP regularly. If you don’t do it, you will be slipping from progress. And if you do it more often, you will notice no major progress. Hence, regular review is nice in the desired time to ensure the individual development is going at the right pace.

  1. Make time for reviewing. You can derive meaningful results in five minutes. Ensure you don’t rush and do it in a calm environment.
  2. Check the original plan with the drafted goals and activities. You should know what you planned to do originally.
  3. For every planned activity, check what you have done so far. Make sure you’re honest with yourself. Did you follow the plan of action, or did you do something different?
  4. Assess your development success in getting to your objectives. Are you making progress, or is your progress slowed down?
  5. Know what you want to do next? Do you want to revise the plan or wish to continue following it?

Pitfalls to avoid while working on an individual development plan

When drafting a professional development plan, it is simpler to imagine a linear path, but there are too many pitfalls to avoid. 

An IDP is sometimes linked to mission-related competencies, making it tough to assess important performances.

The competency of a worker should be measured throughout the performance management process. Assess your performance management process to make sure that:

  • The review and 36- degree feedback include major competencies
  • The IDP is used in training programs

IDP does not include behavioral expectations

Skill enhancement is just a part of performance measurement. Companies should also include behavioral expectations in their development process to develop better cultures and efficiently performing teams. So, ensure the IDP has a mix of major competencies and behavioral goals.

Companies choose a standard rating scale 

Having a unique rating scale that matches your organization’s culture, vision and mission are important. It should offer quantifiable and qualitative methods to determine a person’s performance. 

Companies don’t link specific coaching courses with IDPs during the assessment process

Competency ability occurs from zero ability to professional ability. Hence, a company should know which coaching should be linked to a specific individual at the desired level to help them with competency development and help them add to their skill set. Select needed training programs for every level to ensure proper growth and development for an employee.

How can uExcelerate help individuals/employees succeed with their individual development plans?

Leadership coaching boosts candidates’ learning capacity by 25% and their performance by 20%.  uExcelerate provides customized solutions for companies that are tired of unproductive or unskilled workers that cannot achieve their goals.

uExcelerate’s Coaching Programs can inspire and help employees improve their skills, become more robust and work effectively. Coaching allows employees to develop individual development plans aligned with the organization’s goals and expand their personal and professional ambitions.

uExcelerate’s coaches work with the employee to provide new insights and help them move grow professionally and personally with the changing trends. It broadens their awareness in all facets of life. 

The uExcelerate Digital Coaching Platform helps coaches monitor the employee’s progress as per the IDP and assists them in staying on track. The Platform along with the coach also provide valuable feedback to help employees better understand their strengths and weaknesses.


Coaching is a major component of different individual development plans. It benefits the workplaces of today that have a flatter structure. Whether your team is big or small; it is imperative to strike the right balance between the qualifications needed and the qualifications owned. An IDP helps to assess the difference and generate the right plan of action to gain the skills for a better future.

uExcelerate can help employees acquire the needed skills in a way that works best for them. This is incredibly useful for people who want to grow. So, if you want to know your strengths and weaknesses and create a development plan to achieve higher goals, then reach out to us at [email protected].

uExcelerate ACSL Lab

uExcelerate ACSL Lab