The Individual Development Plan process provides an opportunity for supervisors and employees to identify training and development needs in order to ensure job and organizational success. An individual development plan (IDP) is a written schedule or plan designed to meet particular goals for development that are aligned with the organization's strategic plan and action plan. The development of an IDP, which outlines developmental objectives along with activities to achieve the objec-tives, will afford employees an opportunity to develop skills.
The IDP and developmental objectives processes are inherently connected to, and should be completed in conjunction with, an employee's annual performance ap-praisal and development of new performance standards and elements. IDPs are used to plan developmental experiences (details, course work, special projects, on-the-job training, education, career development, etc.) which may change from year to year as the mission of the organization evolves.
An IDP is not a binding contract. While every effort should be made by both em-ployees and supervisors to adhere to the plan, circumstances sometimes arise that require modifying the IDP. Completing an IDP does not imply promotion; it is in-tended to address developmental needs and facilitate growth while preparing the organization for future challenges.
The IDP process is a four-step process that involves continuous two-way communi-cation between supervisors and employees.
Step One: Determine Developmental Objectives
Step Two: Explore Development Options and Select Activities
Step Three: Prepare IDP and Hold Development Discussion
Step Four: Take Action and Monitor Progress
The IDP process is an on-going, continuous process of growth and development. An IDP should be periodically reassessed to determine its effectiveness in terms of de-velopmental objectives, methods of accomplishment, and the need to update. At a minimum, an IDP should be reviewed semi-annually.
The above material was printed with the permission of the Civilian Human Resources Agency (CHRA) from THE TRAIN, publication, July 2005.