Recently I sat down with a cup of coffee and started drafting my personal development plan (PDP). I’m a sole trader so why would I do that? Well, I wanted to make sure I was continually developing my professional skills for my customers as well as stretching myself.
It doesn’t matter whether we are an individual working on our own or an experienced employee who has been in the role for many years, there is always room to develop further and the majority of people learn something new every day.
Just over a quarter of employees surveyed by the CIPD in Autumn 2016 disagree that their employer gives them opportunities to learn and grow.
There is a clear link in the survey to an understanding of the skills being developed to give value to the customer and exceptional customer service.
The IES study (2004) shows that for an employee to be enthusiastic and absorbed by their work and taking positive action to increase the business’s reputation and interests (employee engagement) there needs to be a focus on development and well-defined jobs.
Therefore, bringing in a personal development plan gives structure and links for what the business needs to achieve.
When working with an employee on their PDP carry out the following steps –
• What does the business want to achieve – look at the objectives and targets and make sure the employee understands these. I’ve seen really good workshops held where Managers get their employees to share what their tasks are and list these under each business result wanted.
• Have a 1-2-1 conversation with the employee to check their understanding of how their work contributes to the business.
• Next, explore what the employee’s role and responsibilities are and make sure these are clear. If they don’t have these, how can you expect them to know what’s expected of them and how can you assess their performance and development? (If the business is going through a change which affects the employee’s responsibilities then still define the key responsibility areas at that point and where it sits in the organisation’s current plan).
• Once you’ve established what the employee needs to achieve and what work they are covering, then with the employee discuss their strengths and weaknesses against the requirements of the job. A good tool to use is SWOT. Using this method enables an understanding of how the person can support others and allows exploration how the person will cultivate learning opportunities.
• In your meeting with your employee, explore what their dreams and aspirations are. Discuss what they love doing and what their hobbies and outside interests are, as potentially there may be strengths there that you can use in the workplace. And at the same time, it’s probably something the employee loves doing.
Once you have established all of the points above then draw up an action plan which links the objectives with the learning opportunity and build in review dates and an evaluation, recording outcomes.
Watch your employees feel supported, shows you are interested in their skills and experience and helps your business grow and develop too.
Let me know if you would like more support.