How to write a professional development plan (PDP): step by step


how to write professional development plan


In order to gain a competitive advantage and also achieve favorable positioning in the labor market, many companies bet their chips on professional development programs (PDPs).

However, if these companies do not know how to do a PDP, they end up building professional development plans that are not attractive, nor do they yield satisfactory results.

Other companies imagine that development is a process that occurs naturally, according to the activities carried out by employees and through the opportunities that are given to them, which is also a mistake.

We can affirm that professional development is the result of planned actions and specific investment in certain aspects.

It is possible to establish actions that contribute to development in an objective way, provided that you know how to do a PDP.

There are several ways of determining what type of training will be effective for each employee, one of them is using the skills matrix.

Another method, which we will cover here, is the Professional Development Plan, or PDP.

But do you know what a professional development plan is?

We separate a definition that will make it easy for you to understand what a Professional Development Plan in HR is:

A Professional Development Plan (PDP) proposes career projection through the improvement of abilities that make professional ascension possible in an organization. In a way, the program seeks to align organizational interests with personal expectations.

Now that you understand what PDP in HR is, here are a few steps that can help managers in designing a professional development plan that accomplishes their goals effectively.

How to write a professional development plan (PDP) in 5 steps

When defining a professional development plan for your employees, it is important to take some aspects into account and follow the Professional Development Plan Model in 5 steps.

1- Define what your goals are

A professional development plan in companies must be based on the goals you wish to attain.

Therefore, prior to continuing, it is necessary to keep in mind very clearly what the organizations goals are, as well as to seek interaction with the personal goals of each collaborator.

2- Understand your employees’ stages: situational analysis

When managers know their staff’s real situations, it is easier to direct actions towards their development.

Each employee doing their own evaluation is hardly sufficient enough to reveal their main characteristics.

Ideally, this analysis should be performed by a Human Resources professional, who may be from the company itself or hired specially for that job.

In this sense, the HR manager or analyst, sits down with the employee and encourages him or her to observe the maximum aspects about his or her personal and professional life. Therefore, it is important that these areas are outlined and that the employee gives notes for each of them.

Professionally speaking, it is advisable for them to self analyze, as well as consider the results that they bring to the organization.

In this way, it will be clearer to see what needs improvement and what is already good.

In a professional self-assessment, it is common for the individual to underestimate, invalidating their ability, or overestimate, valuing their qualities too high.

When undergoing a performance appraisal process, inferences will be gone and instead you will have results that are supported by the evaluation of specialized professionals.

In this way, you will know how to make a PDP – professional development plan – better.

Also remember to ensure resources for the PDP to allow practical and effective training.

3- Evaluate strengths and weaknesses: mapping skills

A good example of a Professional Development Plan (PDP) is based on recording the skills of your staff. However, you should not only consider individual results.

The capacity of an employee should be assessed by the projection they can achieve if they undergo an appropriate development program.

First of all, you need to identify, select and outline the skills needed to achieve the goals.

Therefore, it is the time to map the personal resources of the professionals, that is, their abilities and skills, as well as the areas that need improvement.

It is the moments of reflection and driving actions that help in reaching full development.

Only by identifying these characteristics will a manager know how to put together a professional development plan with actions that can enhance or promote their subordinates’ strengths. There is no way to do a PDP without mapping competencies.

4- Give feedback to your employees: validation of goals and objectives

Before defining the actions that will be part of a Professional Development Plan, individually explain to employees the results of the performance evaluation they have done and the actions that will follow.

So, aware of their current situation and their personal and professional skills, employees can begin to set goals.

It’s time to design the direction you want to take; prioritize between your dreams and desires, direct your energy to one achievement at a time.

It is important that the PDP’s goals are aligned with the goals, values, mission and vision of the professional. It’s no use knowing how to make a PDP if it does not match the employee’s beliefs.

Therefore, it is fundamental to verify the reaction of employees to the result and to attest their willingness to adhere to the PDP proposed by the company.

In this way, you will avoid the cost of spending resources on a program that lacks involvement.

5- Action

The last step in how to make a professional development plan is to roll up your sleeves and start working to achieve the goals from the previous step.

Finally, it is time to design strategies that will contribute to the journey to where you want to go.

A good example of an individual HR development plan is one that positively impacts your business. Thus, each employee will be challenged to grow along with the organization, following that individual career plan.

The skills of each employee will be evidenced and everyone will have the opportunity to grow in their professional career.

Conclusion: How to write a professional development plan (PDP) that gives results

It is important that each of the stages of the PDP have clear deadlines.

It is therefore necessary to create a routine, a pre-established schedule.  And that’s why a mentor who helps and motivates the continuation of the process is critical.

For this to occur, both mentor and collaborator must make sure that the skills and abilities identified will be assertively directed at each stage.

For this reason, the PDP should be monitored and revised whenever necessary, so that its purpose is maintained and adjusted if necessary.

A professional development plan can help your employees become more engaged. In this sense, your company should use the best resources for the PDP, such as software.

STRATWs One is a corporate performance management software that, among many other features, has an individual performance monitoring module that can help you a lot to develop your high performance team.

Revolutionize the management of your company with STRATWs One

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