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The Modern Personal Development Plan Approach

It is appraisal time and you are probably busy doing that and thinking about the development plan for your team members next year. So here is a new way to approach it which I did for a company.

Organisations make a massive mistake by not personalising PDPs. Here I am not talking about a tailored learning plan based on your LNA outcome. Here I am talking about your learners' personal needs for the following year.

Traditionally, we tend to push people to grow in the form of promotion, developing competencies, or polishing their existing level of expertise. But what if some of us want to take a break next year? What if we don't want a promotion or be better in what we do?

Here are three types of options (pathways) you could present your employees with and build a whole learning culture on.

Pathway 1 - "Success Sprint" or "Achievement Focus"

They are your people who are performing well but want to elevate their competence, and performance even further and may even want to be promoted. They are in it to win it. They are your super ambitious people in terms of achievements or career growth.

Pathway 2 - "Continuous Learner"

They are your people who are performing well, are happy in their current role, and don't necessarily want to move but they want to continue learning. They want to experience and learn new things by being exposed to them but not to get promoted or to get better at their current role. They are happy to do cross-training for the experience.

Pathway 3 - "Work-Life Balance"

They are your people who want to maintain their good performance while focusing on their private lives. They want to opt out of learning initiatives and take a break for whatever reason.

Now, this doesn't mean employees cannot change their minds during the year. Circumstances change and you as an L&D person must cater for that. You then sit with the person and ask them which pathway they would like to enter and make a plan accordingly.

Once you have a path for everyone, you then build this into the quarterly check-ins, appraisal system, and talent development framework and hold employees accountable to deliver the path they have chosen. It takes time to realign your talent processes but when it is done it works beautifully!

For example, if an employee chooses pathway 1 with the aim of promotion, you have agreed on developing certain competencies that are required along with the learning intervention to achieve competency development. If the employee fails to develop those competencies and comes up with excuses why they couldn't then you record it.

Don't force training or learning. Just come back to it again during the next quarterly chat and subject promotion to the development of the agreed competencies. They might be a high performer in the current role but not so keen on developing skills for the next role so don't promote.

PS: Pathway 4 is when the employee doesn't perform and the organisation must outline the required actions.

If you want to see this topic more in detail and how to create a self-directed learning culture watch the video.

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