How HR Professionals Can Use an Individual Development Plan

A detailed professional development plan can help HR practitioners grow in their careers.

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How HR Professionals Can Use an Individual Development Plan

Human resource professionals know how to pair people with jobs that match their skills and aspirations. But HR practitioners who are not as dutiful about mapping their own career paths may be missing opportunities to help themselves advance.

An individual development plan—commonly known as an IDP—can be a helpful tool for keeping your professional growth on track.

“Even if you’re in the right job at the right company, you’re probably hoping to grow,” says Mark Herschberg, author of The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You (Cognosco Media, 2020) and co-founder of a career development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “You’ll need a plan to do that.”

The first step in creating an IDP typically involves completing a questionnaire that asks about your career goals, including how and when you plan to meet them. You also may be asked to identify your professional weaknesses and commit to taking specific steps for overcoming them. Generic IDP templates are widely available for free online, including on shrm.org/IDPform. You can also find them in most career planning guides.

There are no right or wrong answers when completing an IDP questionnaire. But experts agree that for the process to be effective, your responses must be honest and realistic. And regular follow-up—to ensure you’re meeting your short-term goals and that they remain relevant to your long-term plan—is key.

Here’s how HR professionals can get the most out of the IDP process.

Keep Leadership Requirements Top of Mind

Focus your IDP on honing the skills that all HR leaders need, says Bradford Frank, a Philadelphia-based partner with recruiting firm Korn Ferry who specializes in placing HR executives. These include:

Close Skills Gaps

Compare your current skills with those you will need to meet your long-term career objectives, Frank advises. Then establish short- and medium-term goals that involve working on projects or taking other steps that will help fill your skills gaps. For example, consider shadowing colleagues in different HR disciplines, attending meetings in other departments to learn their part of the business or even taking on a new job within your organization.

To enhance your knowledge of how business is handled outside the U.S., look for opportunities to work abroad or with colleagues in other countries, advises Kate Zimberg, vice president for employee experience and enablement at F5 Networks, a Seattle-based technology company.

Zimberg aspires to be a chief people officer and has been seeking ways to increase her knowledge of other cultures to prepare herself for such a role. Although the pandemic has curtailed opportunities for international travel, she holds informational meetings over the phone and via Zoom with her company’s HR departments in India, Singapore and England.

“It’s so important to learn what others are working on,” she says. “I ask for invitations where I can learn and listen. When travel opens up, I will go abroad.” 

Look for Training Opportunities

If you need an additional credential or degree to move forward, use your IDP to set goals related to selecting the most appropriate program, making arrangements to fit classes into your schedule and financing the training if your employer won’t cover the full cost.

Be creative about where and how you receive your training. Community colleges, professional associations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and online platforms like Coursera are obvious choices, but there are countless others. For example, Washington, D.C.-based HR consultant Jocelyn King, SHRM-SCP, says when she was an HR director for a tech firm, she tapped the company’s outside legal counsel to design a class addressing her organization’s specific labor relations challenges.

Training doesn’t have to be conducted in the classroom or even on the job. Andrew Marcotte, SHRM-SCP, an HR manager for Blain’s Farm and Fleet, a regional chain of 44 retail stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan, says he expanded his professional skills by volunteering with SHRM and its affiliates. As president of the Blackhawk Human Resource Association in southern Wisconsin, Marcotte has been able to practice public speaking, negotiate contracts and manage a relationship with a technology vendor. He also participates in SHRM-sponsored employer education initiatives where he provides guidance to companies considering hiring veterans, people with criminal records and people with disabilities. In the process, Marcotte says, he strengthens his own understanding of recruitment strategies.

Get Feedback

Some people view the process of creating an individual development plan as a personal matter and prefer to work through it on their own. But don’t underestimate the value of a second opinion when assessing your strengths and weaknesses or for pointing you toward advancement opportunities.

Schyler Houck, corporate director of HR and labor relations for Saratoga Casino and Hotel in Saratoga, N.Y., says he sought advice from executives within and outside his company to identify projects that would help build the skills he needs to be a viable candidate for a chief human resource officer post. Following the guidance of one of his advisors, Houck volunteered to help build an employee skills database for the hotel. Participating in the project sharpened his technical and analytic skills and gave him the chance to prove his ability to link a business need with an HR strategy, he says.

Following the advice of his mentor, Marcotte uses his individual development plan to focus on goals that offer a direct and quantifiable benefit to his company, such as developing his organization’s recruitment and retention strategy. The mentor also provides him with honest advice on the areas in which he needs to improve. “We’ve had some tough conversations,” Marcotte says, “but that’s an important part of learning.”  

Rita Zeidner is a freelance writer in Falls Church, Va.

Illustration by Visual Generation/iStock: Grivina.

When Setting Goals, Think Beyond the Job

Aligning your career objectives with your organization’s needs is, of course, the most reliable way to get management support for your individual development plan (IDP). But don’t limit the objectives to skills you want to develop or positions you want to land, advises career development expert Mark Herschberg. Goals that reflect your interests, strengths, preferred location and desired schedule are key to your overall job satisfaction and should be part of your IDP, he says.

There also is something to be said for sharing your personal and lifestyle goals with your employer—even if there’s no obvious match with your organization’s business strategy. If your organization is interested in keeping you on board, management might just find a way to help you get what you want, Herschberg says.

To make his point, he uses the example of an employee who is willing to give up a pay raise in exchange for scheduling flexibility. “It doesn’t mean an employer can or should try to meet the need of the employee,” Herschberg says. “But the more information the employer has, the more the employer can potentially help.” —R.Z.

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A well-prepared Career and Professional Development Plan links professional development goals to current and potential future roles. Use this  tool to identify, organize and plan your professional development and career.  Designing this plan can include occupational exploration and research, job shadowing, skills training, or formal education.

How can I benefit from a Career and Professional Development Plan?

Put your plan into action.


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Top 10 Individual Development Plan Templates To Help Employees Grow!

Top 10 Individual Development Plan Templates To Help Employees Grow!

Naveen Kumar


Over time, people change and grow. Positive change is necessary to become skillful, productive, happy, prosperous, and stay on the top. However, growth is like a dream. To actualize it, you need planning. World-renowned organizations & global leaders emphasize and use development plans to develop the 3Ps - Products, Processes, and People in business. At the base level of this hierarchy stands the  Individual Development Plan (IDP)  or Employee Development Plan (EDP), which supports employees and helps them grow and learn.

The Nitty-gritty of Individual Development Plans

In essence, IDPs are growth strategies that outline how employees will strengthen existing abilities and learn new skills without affecting their current value for the organization. The employees themselves (with the help of their mentor), managers, trainers, or special consultants, design these plans after a thorough analysis of their own capabilities, strengths, and opportunities to grow.

The purpose of an IDP is to guide individuals toward long-term career goals by helping them fulfill their short-term business objectives. It allows supervisors to understand better employees’ capabilities, strengths, career goals, and development needs. Using this data, managers will be able to assess the employees more objectively and design effective action plans.

Effective communication between mentors and mentees (or both parties) is necessary for the success of the business. Master the art of presenting your thoughts/ideas and deliver development/business plans in an impactful manner with the help of these communication plan templates .

Components of the Individual Development Plan

IDPs are customized development plans for individuals. The structure of the IDP varies from organization to organization. There is no  one-size-fits-all , which makes this document unique and valuable but also complex. For simplicity, an individual development plan has four fundamental components/sections. These are: 

1. Employee profiling: It includes basic information about the employee like name, position, key responsibilities (KRA), salary, professional history, etc.

2. Career goals and objectives:  Includes the employee’s current job goals, target, and achievement dates. It also enlists future long-term and short-term objectives of the employee.

3. Employee assessment/analysis:  What are employee strengths and weaknesses? What specific knowledge and skills do they possess? Use employees’ previous performance reviews, feedback forms, and training analysis. Be detailed here. 

Monthly work reports have a significant role in drafting an effective development/training plan. Create concise and easy-to-understand work reports with the help of these pre-designed monthly work report templates and use them when writing an IDP.

4. Development opportunities and objectives:  Enlist opportunities (especially short-term) where the individual shows promising growth potential. Set a goal for each opportunity to measure the success/growth of the employee.

5. Action plan:  Pen down activities or programs the person should undertake to reach their development goal, like on-the-job training, employee shadowing, e-learning course, assignments, etc.

Maintaining a perfect mix of all these components in an IDP is necessary to make it effective and efficient without affecting the employee’s current routine.

Individual Development Plan Templates

Drafting an IDP is a delicate task, especially when employees do it themselves. It needs a lot of effort and time to design a comprehensive IDP plan, and it will affect the employee’s work and business. Besides, this document needs to be reviewed at least once a year for continuous improvement and development in employee performance. Our pre-designed and 100% customizable individual development plan templates will help you draft this document with ease. You will be able to use these PPTs (with minor changes) to draft/design many unique IDPs in no time.

1. Individual Development Plan Training Plan Presentation Deck

This presentation deck will help you design a comprehensive individual development plan to train and support your mentees’ growth. It has 12 slides covering all essential elements of an effective employee development plan. This PPT set includes:

Download it and start your team’s journey toward new skills & growth today!

Individual Development Plan Training Plan Presentation Deck

Download this template

2. Individual Development Plan PowerPoint Presentation Deck

Individual development plans help you move faster towards your aim, set & achieve new goals, increase self-esteem and confidence, and boost employability prospects. Hone your professional skills and personality with the help of these individual development plan presentation templates and become a better version of yourself. These sample designs have been created to help employees with self-development. It includes PPT slides for drafting an IDP, like career goals, identifying development needs, learning opportunities, action plans, undertaking the development, evaluating and reviewing outcomes, etc. Get it now!

Individual Development Plan PowerPoint Presentation Deck

3. Individual Development Plan and Career Coaching PowerPoint Template

Writing an individual development plan is drawing a blueprint. It seems simple, but it needs to be precise to get the right results. IDPs are blueprints for your own/your employee’s success. This PPT layout will help you draft an IDP with little or no room for mistakes. It highlights the process for developing an individual development plan, especially for career coaching, with components like career review exercises, self-awareness assessments, goal setting, personal brand development & presentation, succession realization, etc. Grab it today!

Individual Development Plan and Career Coaching PowerPoint Template

4. Individual Development Training Plan Implementation Process Template

After you pen down an actionable IDP, its implementation is the next big challenge. Letting it go by flow will make the efforts in vain. This presentation template will help you plan and time the implementation of IDP to perfection. It divides the process into understandable steps like assessing team requirements, creating a plan, delivering the training, and evaluating results. Download it now!

Individual Development Training Plan Implementation Process Template

5. Individual Training and Development Plan Process Presentation Template

When a storm comes to the sea, it is unrested before and after for days. It is also true for drafting an individual training plan. There are many things to take care of before drawing and implementing it. This PowerPoint template will help you cover all events of the creation and execution of an IDP. It divides the process into five easy-to-notice and remembered milestones — competency framework, Training Need Analysis (TNA), development plan creation, training delivery (execution), and training evaluation. Download it today!

Individual Training and Development Plan Process Presentation Template

6. Individual Development Plan Framework and Timeline PPT Template

This is a sample individual development plan template you can easily customize and use to meet your employee training needs. It has pre-designed sections to record employee data and progress during the development program. It includes columns for:

This individual development plan sample template will help you accumulate and review the critical data in a concise manner. Get hold of it now!

Individual Development Plan Framework and Timeline PPT Template

7. Individual Development Program Framework Presentation Template

IDPs help individuals in professional & personal development and in achieving career goals. It highlights the development opportunities, including communication, analytical and research skills, flexibility/adaptability, etc. Take the help of this ready-to-use individual development plan framework and a sample template to create a compact yet effective IDP program. Share some examples and uses of IDPs with your mentees to give them a better understanding of this growth-hacking tool. Discuss their performance objectives, action plan, success criteria, etc., with the help of this PPT layout. Grab it today!

Individual Development Program Framework Presentation Template

8. Individual Development Plan and Career Coaching PPT Template

IDPs are recurring documents you must review and revise at least once a year to stay on the growth track and reach your full potential. Designing this document again and again from scratch might feel annoying and time-consuming. This plug-and-play template will relieve you from this stress and give you a head start with the preparation of individual development plans. It highlights the elements of IDP, like employee details, development goals, skills, resources, activities, and status. Get it now!

Individual Development Plan and Career Coaching PPT Template

9. Individual Development Plan For Employee Training PPT Template

Drafting an individual development plan seems exciting and overwhelming; however, it comes with the great responsibility of guiding the employee. A wrong analysis or interpretation of employee capabilities and skills will lead them to an unwanted career or growth path. This sample template will be your guide in this high-responsibility task. It will help you set objectives and write an extended action plan to ensure you don’t miss out on crucial details. Download it now!

Individual Development Plan For Employee Training PPT Template

10. Individual Training and Development Plan PowerPoint Template

The final objective of an individual growth plan is to make the person understand consideration better than before by acquiring new skills and knowledge. This template will help you highlight the skills you want to develop with the help of the IDP. It will assist you in setting the training intensity and describe the sub-skills, their uses, or benefits in the professional career ahead. Get this PPT design from the download link below! 

Individual Training and Development Plan PowerPoint Template

Individual development plans strengthen the organization from its roots as it plays a critical role in employees’ growth and development. Successful implementation of IDPs provides managers with valuable insights into employee competencies, skills, and knowledge. It helps them assign the right tasks to their employees and develop team-building strategies . At a broad level, IDPs help businesses, from employees to management. We offer our extensive collection of individual development plan templates so that you don’t miss out on this growth-hacking tool and help your employees grow exponentially. 

Grab these customizable individual growth plan templates today, and win your employees’ trust by helping them grow. This is your chance to turn them from associates into valuable and loyal business assets!

FAQs on Individual Development Plan

1. what are some examples of individual development plans.

An individual development plan (IDP) comprises skill analysis, growth strategy, and learning activities. Some examples of skills development activities included in an IDP are:

2. How do you write an individual development plan?

Employees themselves, managers, mentors, trainers, or consultants devise IDPs to set the growth path for employees and help them learn new skills. The process of writing the individual development plan can be simplified into the following steps:

3. What are some good IDP goals?

Goals set to achieve through IDPs depend on your career and professional needs. You can set long-term goals like getting the designation of supervisor in the upcoming five years or short-term goals like learning new skills to improve your current job role. The basic three types of goals for an IDP are:

4. What are the 3 steps of a personal development plan?

Three critical steps of creating and mastering a personal development plan are:

1. Analysis - current skills & knowledge, career objectives, and development opportunities.

2. Goal setting - short and long-term career/skill/growth objectives.

3. Strategy mapping - Developing action plan, activities, and learning objectives.

The most important part is to measure your growth and restart the cycle for continuous development.

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Individual Development Plan

An individual development plan (IDP) is a tool to assist employees in career and personal development. Its primary purpose is to help employees reach short and long-term career goals, as well as improve current job performance. An IDP is not  a performance evaluation tool or a one-time activity. It should be looked at like a partnership between the employee and the supervisor. It involves preparation and continuous feedback. Many agencies require IDPs for new and current employees. It is encouraged throughout many organizations. Many Federal agencies require their employees to complete an IDP, annually. All Senior Executives are required to have an Executive Development Plan (EDP) (5 CFR 412.401).

Below  are examples of agencies which have implemented IDPs, sample IDPs, and additional resources.

Solve Problems

(How can I utilize an IDP in my agency?)

Individual development planning benefits the organization by aligning employee training and development efforts with its mission, goals, and objectives. When using an IDP, supervisors develop a better understanding of their employees' professional goals, strengths, and development needs resulting in more realistic staff and development plans. Employees take personal responsibility and accountability for their career development, acquiring or enhancing the skills they need to stay current in required skills. Some of the benefits of an IDP are:

There are no regulatory requirements mandating employees complete IDPs within the Federal Government. However, it is considered good management practice, and many agencies have developed their own IDP planning process and forms. While there is no one "correct" form for recording an employee's development plan, an effective plan should include at minimum the following key elements:

Federal agencies are required by law (5 U.S.C. Section 3396) to establish programs for the continuining development of Senior Executives. A key tool in this process is the Executive Development Plan (EDP). Please visit our Executive Development wiki page.

How do you go about developing an IDP?

The IDP process requires communication and interaction between the supervisor and employee. It involves five phases:

Supervisors and employees work together to complete the employee's development plan, however, employees are ultimately responsible for taking the initiative for their professional development. Below are examples of activities one may utilize for further development and incorporate into their plan:

Stay Current

(How are other organizations using the IDP?)

Below is a list of agencies that have implemented an IDP program and/or template. There are also several agencies that have individual development planning and career management programs in place. Please not that OPM does not endorse any particular format. The information below is for illustrative purposes.

IDP Templates:

Does your agency have an IDP template you find useful?

Find Opportunities

(Where can employees find training and development opportunities?)

Here a few agencies who provide resources and training to develop an IDP.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers a online course,  Career Planning and the IDP (http://training.fws.gov/LED/idp/index.html) .

Does your agency have IDP training?

Discover Helpful Tips and Resources

(What other tools and resources are available for me?)

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Blog Training and Development

Individual Development Plans: 14 IDP Templates & Examples that Motivate

By Michelle Martin , Feb 15, 2023

Individual Development Plans

The terms Individual Development Plan and Employee Development Plan are often used interchangeably, but the outcome is the same: a document outlining a person’s professional and career goals with an action plan to get there.

Does every employee in your organization have an IDP? Or if you’re here to make one, has your manager discussed a plan for your professional development?

If your answer is “no” to either, you can’t afford to ignore individual development plans any longer. Companies that invest in employee development earn, on average, 11% higher profits than those that don’t. You’re also risking your workforce as  86% of professionals  would switch jobs if the new one offered more growth and development opportunities.

Not to fear: Here’s everything you need to know about creating useful individual development plans to boost your profits and attract and retain top talent.

Click to jump ahead:

What is an individual development plan, why do you need an individual development plan, 13 individual development plan examples and tips, how to make an individual development plan, individual development plan faqs.

An individual development plan (IDP) is a collaborative document between a manager and an employee to define career goals and map out how to learn new skills or improve current ones. It matches an employee’s strengths and interests to key business objectives.

Usually, individual development plans are part of the annual performance review and general  employee development  discussion. But you can make or update one anytime.

You can also create an individual development plan for yourself to pursue career or personal learning goals.

IDPs usually include:

Many different formats work well for individual development plans, from plain text documents to elaborate tables and timelines. Mix and match blocks, tables, and more with this flexible IDP template to customize it to your needs.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Template

Return to Table of Contents

Individual development plans are beneficial to everyone, including the company. IDPs encourage your employees to voice their career goals and co-create a plan to get there. Even if they end up leaving for another company in the future, you benefit from their new skills until then.

Your employee will likely also be grateful for their growth with you and happily refer others to open roles. Since we’re in one of the  tightest labor markets ever , referrals and word of mouth can mean the difference between filling your open positions or not.

Individual development plans also address a real business need:  56% of businesses  surveyed by Statistics Canada in 2022 said most of their employees weren’t “fully proficient” at their jobs. If your company has over 100 employees, that most certainly applies to you as 93% of large companies responded that way, whereas only 33% of companies with less than four employees did.

IDPs help your employees learn the skills they need to achieve their own goals, but they’re also key to ensuring your business needs are met.

A stylish table format is effective for communicating goals and action steps which are both important parts of an IDP. List the goal category on the left, the action step in the middle, and a target due date on the right.

For example, a goal category could be “improving public speaking skills.” An action step could be joining a local Toastmasters group or hosting a Lunch and Learn for the office.

Leadership Readiness Checklist Template

Give this worksheet-style template to your employee before your IDP meeting to find out their goals and how they view their progress so far. By getting their ideas on paper first, you’ll make better use of meeting time to discuss actions and solutions.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Worksheet Template

Are you (or your employee) a visual person? Just because most individual development plans look like traditional documents doesn’t mean yours has to. Try out this creative and colorful quadrant template to prioritize goals and actions by their importance, due date, or any other criteria that make sense to you.

Healthcare Performance Training Development Venn Diagram Template

This template is structured as a corrective action plan but could also work well for an IDP. As a reminder, IDPs aren’t a disciplinary tool or for underperforming employees. Everyone should have an individual development plan focusing on their strengths, while also acknowledging weaknesses that may impact the achievement of career goals.

Employee Corrective Action Plan Template

Another great template for visual folks, this serves well as a progress tracker for the action steps in your IDP. The simple, one-page format is quick to update and makes it easy to see progress toward your goals.

Marketing Skills Training Matrix Roadmap Template

This template could be another self-evaluation tool for your employee to fill out prior to your IDP meeting to rank the importance or priority level of specific actions or goals. Or, use it as a progress tracker by listing out the actions and ranking them from “Not Started” to “Complete.”

Leadership Skills Inventory and Self-Assessment Checklist Template

Often, an IDP has a big goal in mind, like being the head of a division or something else several steps ahead of you. In order to get there, you need to break it down into smaller goals along the way.

Growing into a C-suite position could mean first managing an important project, then a small team, and then a larger team, and so on. By visually planning the smaller goals along the way, you (or your employee) have realistic expectations of what’s needed to get to the ultimate goal and a focused approach to get there.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Process Infographic Template

An individual development plan is a lot like a product roadmap, except with your goals instead of new features. This simple timeline template is a good way to work through the order you’ll need to accomplish action items in and set target deadlines.

It’s also useful for visual thinkers to see a simplistic overview of their trajectory on one page. You can detail each goal or step in subsequent pages.

Simple Iconic Career Roadmap Template

Using a 30, 60, and 90 day timeline is an effective way to break down large goals into achievable steps per quarter. This can also work as a one-page quarterly plan — just add an extra column — or a multi-year plan.

30 60 90 Day Plan Template

This template serves as a compact yet detailed action plan that’s perfect for goal tracking in your individual development plan.

Plan Of Action And Milestones Template

This multi-page template is highly flexible so every page of your IDP will look professional and on-brand. Easily add tables, lists, and more to the content pages as needed to create a detailed and aesthetic development plan.

Microlearning Onboarding Menu Materials Template

While this is set up as an orientation plan, you could easily customize it as an individual development plan.

individual development plan examples hr

If you like a quarterly planning approach, this template is helpful to detail the action steps you need to take for the rest of the year.

Colorful Quarterly Product Roadmap

Any of the templates above can be your starting point for creating your organization’s IDP template, or choose from all our  business templates . Some templates are available only to our paid subscribers, but all the options above are free for everyone to use.

Starting with a template saves time and ensures your finished IDP looks polished and professional. It’s easy to customize any of these with our free online editor in just a few clicks.

Step 1: Sign up for a free Venngage account

All you need is an email address to  sign up for a free Venngage account .

No free trials, credit card numbers, or any of that. You can edit any of our free templates with your free account… for  free , okay?

Step 2: Choose an individual development plan template to customize

Pick one of the templates mentioned above or browse our full database of  Human Resources templates , including  letters ,  plans ,  presentations , and more.

venngage template

Step 3: Edit the template for your IDP

Once you’ve picked a template, the fun part begins: Making it your own. Click  Create  on any template to enter the editor where you can change colors, text, graphics, and more.

I’m using this IDP checklist template as an example:

employee checklist IDP template

I like to match a new template to my brand first as this saves a lot of time if you want to duplicate the page to add more content later.

Our Business and Premium subscriptions offer  My Brand Kit  to store your colors, fonts, and logos for easy template customization anywhere for your entire team. But no worries for our free account holders: Editing is just as easy.

Click on any text area or graphic to edit it. Type new text, or use the top menu to change color, font, size, spacing, and more.

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You can replace existing graphics with one of our  3 million+ free stock photos , over 40,000 illustrations and icons, or upload your own.

Explore the left side menu to add a background or a new layout, like a graph or table. You can also click and drag objects around the page to your liking. Use the right side menu to duplicate the current page or add a new blank one to your document.

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Step 4: Share or save your new IDP

Once you’re happy with your new individual development plan template, click on the  Share  icon or  Download  button to save it to your computer (Business or Premium accounts).

So easy, right?

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What are good IDP goals?

There aren’t “good” or “bad” goals as each IDP is as unique as the individual it’s for. However, effective IDP goals have a few things in common, like being:

If your employee wants to lead their department one day but hasn’t managed anyone before, some good IDP goals to set for the upcoming year could be:

How can I support my employee’s IDP goals?

This depends what your employee’s goals are, but a few general ideas are to:

Unsure what would be most effective? Ask your employees what would help them the most, and check our guide to employee development for more ideas .

What should I put for areas of improvement?

Individual development plans encourage and motivate your employees to achieve their dreams. However, as their manager, you may have some insights they don’t about skills they’re lacking to get them to the next step.

It’s best to bring these up during the planning meeting, so your employee can hear why you think these skills are important and how you’d suggest working on them. Together you can add action items to address them in the IDP.

It’s key to frame these developing areas in a positive and constructive light. You don’t want your employee to feel like they’re doing badly at these things, or their job. After all, no one’s perfect! Be open and honest and chances are, they’ll be grateful for the feedback and eager to improve the skills you’ve identified.

Create a professional IDP today with a customizable Venngage template

Whether you’re preparing for an employee’s annual review or creating an individual development plan for yourself, we’ve got the free templates you need to knock it out of the park.

Get started now and have your new IDP finished by the end of the hour. While you’re at it, why not also create a branded  offer letter  or  onboarding guide ?

For everything in your business, we’ve got a template for that.

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6 Employee Development Plan Examples to Inspire Your Own (+ Free Templates)

Simple examples of employee development plans to inspire your own. Help your people grow every day.

In People Ops, juggling tasks and investing your your time and energy in the right resources is always a challenge. Given the plethora of tools available, it’s easy to get swayed by the next big thing that promises you higher employee retention .

However, not every measure is the right fit for your organization. 

Whether you’re a startup of 50 or an enterprise of 2000, your people are at the forefront of your organization. And if there’s one thing that guarantees a successful business, it’s investing in your employees' career growth. 

One of the easiest ways to strengthen your employees’ performance is to create an employee development plan . This is a great practice for your entire company as it reflects your motivation to help them grow professionally within your organization. 

Below are some examples of employee development plans that you can learn from.

We'll go through what they do well - and how they can improve .

In the end, we'll share our development plan template that you can copy right away .

employee development software

Basic Employee development template (Indeed)

Creating a basic wireframe of your development plan is a good way to kickstart this program. Here is a sample template taken from the career website Indeed .

Basic template from Indeed containing name, date, title, strengths, etc.

While it’s basic and not specialized for a role or even an industry, it guides you to think in the right direction.

Start with listing the strengths, needs, and professional goals of each employee . This creates an opportunity for you to spend 1:1 time interviewing your employees, and build a development plan that aligns with their expectations. 

Next, create an actionable list of steps they need to take to grow in their current roles. This is a great practice to gain foresight into how your company and each department will scale in the months and years to come.

The biggest advantage of this template is that it’s a blank slate and gives you the freedom to customize it. At the same time, it comes with a drawback. You need to closely follow each employee’s progress to be familiar with their strengths, weaknesses, and desires for their future careers.

As aforementioned, this is only a wireframe of your development plan that can easily be created in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. As you’ll see in a minute, you can add as many fields of your choice to the basic concept, while retaining its main purpose.

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Employee development plan for company growth (Slideteam)

Similar to the previous example, here’s another template from Slideteam – one that can be used across different industries and roles.

Example of a development plan at Slideteam

This is a great example of a development plan best suitable for a junior accountant role. One of the key highlights of this plan is that it has a section for estimated costs .

The benefits of this template are twofold. First of all, it gives you an overview on how much cost needs to be allocated per employee.. On the other hand, your employees will know from the start that you’re willing to invest in them - they can see cold, hard numbers rather than promises you make.

At the very end, there’s a section for manager notes. As hard as we might try, we often cannot categorize and label all of our employees. This section gives you some room to leave additional notes for individual employees. This helps you to create a better employee development plan suitable for their needs.

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Career development plan with comments (Lumenlearning)

Here is another great employee development plan by Lumenlearning , complete with manager notes:

employee development plan example by lumenlearning

This development plan spans over two years and has comments from the manager related to the assessment of their employees’ skills as well as specific plans for the future.

In this plan, you can see the manager taking care of external training in the form of courses and degrees, as well as internal training through one-on-one mentorship.

One thing that sets this template apart compared to the previous ones is that it has accountability for both – the employee and the manager. While the manager is in charge of designing the development plan and choosing the right activities, the employees are given the responsibility to create their own timeline to complete the assigned tasks..

This is a great way to present the potential of career development to your employees. Through this, they can see the possibilities for the development of their role. At the same time, they can realize that the success of this plan largely depends on their own willingness and hard work. This is strengthened by the fact that this is a long-term, two-year development plan and not a short-term initiative.

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4. Skill-based development plan (Devskiller)

The examples we shared above, all focus on the bigger picture: the soft and technical skills as well as the necessary training to develop an employee’s career. However, you don’t have to go into such depth if you plan to develop skills by yourself.

Here is an example of such an employee development plan from Devskiller:

individual development plan examples hr

The plan is quite simple: managers list their employees’ skills and grade them on a scale from 0-10. Parallel to this, there is a desired state that the manager expects from the employee to advance in their careers and within the company.

The ‘section in the middle is the ‘Gap’ they need to fill in order to advance in their careers. On the far right, there are specific actions that they need to take to achieve their goals.

To make this example more impactful, we suggest dividing your employees’ skills into different groups and for each skill, assigning a specific action that they need to take.

One important thing to note here is that your skill-focused development plan shouldn't be based only on the managers’ assessment of their employees’ skills. But also consider your employees’ self-assessment in order to get more accurate results, and to prepare an effective development plan.

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Side-by-side development plan (Smartinsights)

Here is another example of a detailed development plan by Smartinsights :

Example of a side-by-side development plan at smartinsights

One thing that sets this plan apart is that it has two sections : one for the employee and another for the manager . On the far left side, the employee can give their own assessment of their current goals and options, and a way to accomplish all of them.. Most importantly, they have the freedom to choose how they want to report progress to their managers.

To the right, the manager can leave comments on the employee’s input. At the very top, you can see them comparing the professional goals of the employee with the business goals and needs of the company. There are also comments for each of the subsequent sections.

Having these two sections in one place gives a clear overview of the two different perspectives . You can easily see if the employees’ goals and desires align with the overall company goals. Moreover, it helps you understand whether the self-assessment of the employee is objective or not.

Last but not least, this employee development plan has a section where an employee can report their progress to the manager. The manager can then give an overall assessment of their entire progress in the final review section.

Overall, this is a perfect example if you’re looking for a template that makes the employee and their manager equally responsible for planning and execution.

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Professional development plan (University of Wisconsin)

You don’t have to be employed to create an employee development plan. This example from the University of Wisconsin shows you just that:

personal or professional development plan at university of wisconsin

It’s a given that today’s students will make tomorrow’s workforce. And, having a development gives them a head start to their first job. This example lists specific needs and the ways to solve them, with one main goal - making themselves more employable and honing their skills.

What’s interesting here is that you can implement this template just as easily in your own company. In the image above, the student is the one who is responsible for doing all the training. While in your case, you can assign tasks to different mentors, external partners, program managers, etc.

If you have an internship program and you’re training your interns for a full-time job, this is the plan you would want to use.

📈 Zavvy Development Plan Templates

The easiest way to get started is by using our career development plan templates.

They combine the best of above worlds without requiring too much effort.

Get them now for free!

Option 1: 🧾  Excel-Template

Development Plan excel Preview

Download: 🧾 Employee development plan template [Spreadsheet]

Option 2: 📄 PDF-Template

employee development plan template PDF

Download: 📄 Employee Development Plan Template [PDF]

Option 3: ⚙️ Automated solution

Automated employee development plan software

➡️ And if you're looking for a more streamlined experience, you can run the whole process via our employee development software.

Wrapping up

If there’s one thing that you can learn from these great employee development plan examples is - they don’t have to be complex to work . All it takes is developing a wireframe in Google Docs and creating a structure that guides people through.

People are busy. And while everybody values (and demands) ongoing development support, it's not always easy to follow through.

That's why your development strategy should go beyond merely setting up plans people might not use - and help them actually grow.

When you do this, not only will you see outstanding growth, but you will also be able to retain and engage your top talent. And this is exactly what we, at Zavvy, enable you to excel at – with our Employee Development Solution. ‍

Our experts would love to hear from you, and help you get started with your customized development program.

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Alex is a marketer at Zavvy. On this blog, he mainly shares insights gained from discussions with selected experts and from helping our customers set up and improve their onboarding or learning programs.

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individual development plan examples hr

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individual development plan examples hr

Division of Human Resources

Individual Development Plans

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) allows you to develop your goals and establish your own action plan; identifying short and long-term goals that benefit you and UofSC.

Work with your manager to create an IDP that is uniquely tailored to your needs and supports your school, college, or division.

There are four steps in the individual development planning process. Use the   IDP form [pdf]   to document each step.

For examples to get you started check out the   non-supervisory [pdf]   and   supervisory [pdf]   IDPs.

Step 1: Analyze Development Needs

The first step to developing an IDP is to determine your individual development needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

Step 2: Set Goals

Now that you have a better idea of your individual development needs, it’s time to set some specific goals. Focus on areas which are critical to your performance – select one or two areas to work on at a time. We recommend starting with a long–term (3-5 year) goal first, followed by a few specific, short-term (1-2 year) goals.  Work with your manager to determine priorities for the coming year. Make sure to consider how these goals will contribute to the organization.

The most effective goals are SMART:

S – Specific M – Measurable A – Achievable R – Realistic T – Time-bound

Why Set Goals? Goal setting, when done well, is a powerful strategy for personal and professional success. It’s one of the most effective methods for changing behavior, and it motivates you as an employee to improve job performance and productivity. 

Managers who set goals for their employees demonstrate Thier commitment to employee development. By setting defined goals, managers get better results from their employees than just saying “Do your best!” Goals clarify priorities and reduce stress and uncertainty.


Step 3: Identify Activities, Training and Experiences

The third step in the IDP process is to identify specific activities, training, and experiences needed to accomplish the goals you set. Determine what resources, support, or potential costs may be required for each one. A few examples of development opportunities to consider are:

Step 4: Define Success Criteria and Timelines

It is difficult to sustain momentum towards goals that can’t be assessed. Determine how progress will be measured by defining success criteria for each goal; then set target dates by which each goal should be completed.

Once an IDP is in place, it's important to monitor and evaluate the results. Just taking a course or completing an assignment doesn't necessarily mean the plan was successful. The crucial step is applying what is learned to the job and practicing it. 

Use the results section of the   IDP form [pdf]   to monitor any progress. Note when tasks are completed, how new skills have been applied, identify areas for improvement, and provide words of encouragement.  

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.


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