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Developing a Personal Development Plan (PDP) for Employees
By Kenneth Buchholtz, Campbell International Human Resource Consultants
Apr 8, 2014

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As part of any good Performance Management System for a company there should be included Personal Development Plans for the employees. From a HR perspective you can only develop a company through its employees. Employees who stop developing will eventually become a burden to the company.

At the start of the year when performance objectives are set, is the right time to develop Personal Development Plans (PDP).

Personal Development Planning aims to promote learning and provide people with the knowledge and portfolio of transferable skills that will help to progress their careers and further develop the organisation. A development plan for employees is essential. At the start of the year a manager needs to identify where an employee is and where the employee could be further developed to assist the company in their development as well.

There are five stages in preparing a Personal Development Plan, these are:-

  • Identify development needs
  • Identifying the company’s development needs
  • Identify means to link both needs
  • Plan action
  • Implement

A Personal Development Plan (PDP) is an important part of the performance management system. It is a plan on which to record where the level of competence is met but where we would like to develop further, any training and / or development needed to support the delivery of that objective and any gaps in skills, knowledge or behaviour that need to be overcome in order to meet our objectives.

It gives jobholders and line managers the opportunity to:

  • Identify, discuss and agree development needs for the year ahead
  • Prioritise and plan how these will be addressed and achieved
  • Agree and set dates for reviewing the plan
  • If necessary, plan how poor performance might be improved

The implementation is mainly the responsibility of the individual – PDP is largely about self-managed learning. Managers have a responsibility to provide coaching, give support and to organise formal training. Managers must also ensure that individuals are given the opportunity to implement their PDP, which may include time off the job to complete training.

The introduction of PDP should not be undertaken lightly. It is not just a matter of designing a new back page to the performance review form and telling people to fill it in. Neither is it sufficient just to issue guidance notes and expect people to go with it.

Managers, team leaders and individuals all must learn about PDP. They should talk to the employees, encourage them to develop themselves and need to give suggestions which development might benefit the employee and company. The benefits to both should be understood and accepted.  It has to be recognised that everyone will need time and support to adjust to a culture in which they have to take more responsibilities for their own development.

Kenneth Buchholtz,
Campbell International Human Resource Consultants,
Cloncoul House,
Co. Clare


Kenneth Buchholtz – Campbell International
Kenneth Buchholtz, Director of Campbell International HR Consultants Kenneth Buchholtz is a highly competent multi-lingual HR Consultant with more than 29 years international experience in various countries across a diverse range of industrial sectors. He has worked since 1994 in Ireland. His qualifications include a Masters in Business, Human Resource Management (Hons) from the University of Limerick, a Bachelors Degree in Personnel Management (Netherlands) and he is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD). Chairman CIPD Midwest 2010 -2013  

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