Grace Smith
February 27, 2024

Did you know that 94% of employees would likely stay longer at a company if it offered learning and development opportunities?

It makes perfect sense, actually. If you position your organization as somewhere employees come just to get the assigned work done and then grab the monthly salary, you only get the bare minimum from them.

Instead, if you actually take an interest in helping your employees to grow and then advance their careers in the company, they will stay loyal to the firm, and the employee retention rates will also increase.

So, a personal development plan is the way to go. But where to begin? What to focus on? That is exactly what we are going to discuss in this blog. 

What Are Personal Development Plans for Employees?

Most employees are passive about their work and do it mechanically, like muscle memory. There are only very few who actually have a clear goal ahead of them and have a game plan in place.

So, instead of letting your employees wander aimlessly by just doing the bare minimum, a personal development plan gives them a goal to focus on and something to aspire for. It helps employees understand their absolute strengths and weaknesses and align their personal goals with the objectives of the organization.

What this does is show the employees a roadmap for their careers and what they can achieve with the right guidance and support. 

The best part of providing a personal development plan for your employees is that it gives them the power to take action by giving them an idea of the set of skills and capabilities they would need to reach the pinnacle. These skills can align with the organizational and leadership competencies that the company would like to see in its employees as well.

A thorough employee development plan begins with self-evaluation in which the employee is able to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. The manager can help them structure their skills around their strengths and find a way to minimize their weaknesses. All of these actions can be streamlined to bring out the best in the employees and help them contribute effectively to the growth of the organization. 

Also read: 101 self-evaluation examples for nailing your performance review

What Makes Personal Development Plans For Employees Important?

Apart from the obvious impact a self-aware employee can have on an organization, there are actually quite a bit of areas where a personal development plan for employees shows its significance. Let us look at some of the most relevant of them:

1. Enhancement of Skills

When a manager comes up with a personal development plan for an employee, the central area it focuses on is the skill gap. This signifies the areas where the employee could get better by acquiring more relevant skills. For example, if an employee only has basic knowledge of MS Excel but could get ahead in the competition with a piece of more advanced knowledge, it would eventually lead them to become an expert in it. Similarly, any skill can be learned by an employee over time with proper guidance, which ultimately leads to an increase in the overall skillset of the organization. 

2. A Clarity in Career Goals

If employees have no clear goals for their careers in front of them, then they soon feel disengaged and demotivated in the work they do. This is where the relevance of personal development plans comes into play. These plans help employees see the big picture and where they can reach the right goal in mind. Clarity in the goals they can achieve helps them become more loyal to the company as well. 

3. Retention of Best Employees

The time and effort a company puts into coming up with a personal development plan for employees indirectly speaks to how devoted the company is to the well-being of its employees. It shows the employees that the company cares about their growth and development within the company and sees them as irreplaceable. This reflects increased employee retention rates and decreased turnover. 

4. Increased Motivation

The most obvious benefit of a personal development plan is that it motivates employees to perform better. They now know that if they acquire the right skills and work hard towards achieving their goals, they can have a bright future in the company. This knowledge is enough to make them stay motivated and engaged.

How Do You Create Personal Development Plans for Employees?

It's no rocket science and is pretty simple. All you need to have is the time and resources to dedicate to the process. You can create personal development plans for employes in just four simple steps:

Step 1: Conduct a Comprehensive Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is the foundation upon which the company can build a personal development plan on. The manager can ask the employees to understand their areas of strengths and weaknesses.

Along with that, the manager can take a look at the past few performances of the employees to have an idea of their caliber as well. Combining both these aspects, the manager can help the employee identify where they currently stand and where they want to reach. 

Read more: Self-evaluation template to assess an employees' strengths, skills, and areas of improvement.

As a manager, you can streamline your employees' self-assessments with an employee success platform like ThriveSparrow. The platform allows you to facilitate these evaluations with ease and efficiency.

Moreover, you can pinpoint their strength and areas of improvements with the automatically generated performance reports.

ThriveSparrow's Hidden Strengths view in performance reports.
ThriveSparrow's Performance reports collects and organizes feedback data from 360 performance assessments and displays them in a visually appealing way.

Furthermore, ThriveSparrow complements manager insights by providing AI-powered personalized development suggestions for the personal development plans.

ThriveSparrow's AI-based PDP
ThriveSparrow's AI-based PDP eliminates the need for HR professionals and managers to invest time and effort into the PDP creation.

Try ThriveSparrow for free and see how you can lay a solid foundation for your employees sustained professional development and career growth.

Step 2: Set Clear Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Once the managers have an idea of the aspirations of the employees, it is time to create both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals can focus on things they can achieve in the immediate months, whereas long-term goals can focus on areas they can work on in the next one to three years. It is an exciting way to get things heated up.

Step 3: Identify Necessary Skills and Plan for Development

You now have the list of goals the employee can achieve in the coming years and months. The next logical step to take here is to find out the list of skills they need to develop in order to achieve these goals effectively. When you create the goals, they must be achievable and must not give them any additional workload. The development plans must also not clash with the work schedule of employees. 

Step 4: Monitor Progress and Provide Ongoing Support

The final step in implementing a personal development plan for employees is to follow up and measure the progress every now and then. What this does is redirect the employees whenever they stray from the path and help them with the right tools to speed up the process. 

How Can a Personal Development Plan Help Employees?

Personal development plans are not just great for organizations, they are excellent for employees as well. Let us look at some of the areas where personal development plans help employees:

Employees Are More Happy and Engaged

A study by Gallup found that an engaged staff leads to a 21% rise in output.

Personal development can help your workers grow and feel better about themselves. Things like this might not seem important, but they can really help your business.

If your workers deal with clients, that must show in the way they talk to you—they sound more sure of themselves than ever. If the customer has a good experience talking to your confident workers, they are more likely to tell their friends about your business.

Great Work-Life Balance

People who don't have a good mix between work and life are more likely to get burned out than others. That's why this part shouldn't be ignored.

People who work for you should be pushed to learn new and relevant skills and follow their interests that aren't connected to work. Set goals for personal growth to help you take time for yourself and remember who you are outside of work. As a result, they will be more driven and they will be more productive at work.

Creates Better Relationships at Work

Setting goals for self-improvement can help people get along better with their coworkers and business partners. Anyone who talks to them is encouraged to improve themselves and become a better person alike. Their growth attitude shows up in other people, too. Because of this, the good ties on your team could get a lot better. People who are working on themselves tend to listen better and care more about other people.

Personal Development Plan For Employees Examples

Depending on the category and type of goals an employee wants to accomplish, their personal development plan also varies. 

Career Goals

If the career goal of an employee is to attain a leadership position within the next three years, the following steps can be included in the personal development plan:

  • Attend leadership development workshops.
  • Seek a mentorship with a current leader in the organization.
  • Complete a management certification program.

Skill Development

Let us say that the skill an employee is looking to enhance is their project management skills. The action steps are as follows:

  • Enroll in a project management course.
  • Act as a project lead for a small team.
  • Attend workshops on agile project management.

Communication Skills

If the goal is to improve presentation and public speaking skills, the following action steps can be taken:

  • Join a local Toastmasters club.
  • Take a public speaking course.
  • Practice presenting in team meetings.

Technical Skills

The main goal here is to help employees acquire proficiency in a new programming language.

  • Enroll in an online coding boot camp.
  • Work on a real project using the new language.
  • Seek guidance from experienced developers.

Final Thoughts

Personal development plans are great tools to make your employees engaged and increase retention rates.

Understanding the transformative power of personal development plans for employees is essential in fostering a culture of growth, skill enhancement, and engagement within an organization.

Such plans not only bridge the skill gaps but also provide employees with a clear roadmap for their career progression, aligning personal ambitions with organizational goals.

Implementing these plans involves a comprehensive self-assessment, setting achievable short-term and long-term goals, identifying necessary skill development, and providing ongoing support.

By prioritizing personal development, companies can unlock their employees' potential, ensuring a more satisfied, productive, and loyal team ready to contribute to the organization's growth and success.