What is an individual development plan: Complete guide with examples

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Navigating the intricate landscape of personal and professional growth, an individual development plan template (IDP) emerges as a strategic compass for individuals across various industries.

This comprehensive guide unveils the essence of individual development plan , transcending industries, by delving into their significance, crafting personalized examples, and illuminating their impact.

From hospitality to engineering, this guide offers a roadmap for individuals to chart their unique journeys toward mastery, a leadership position, and fulfillment. With a wealth of examples tailored to different sectors, this guide unlocks the door to transformative growth and success.

What is an individual development plan?

Employees lifting each other

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a comprehensive document that outlines an individual's professional goals, strengths, areas for improvement, and the strategies they will undertake to achieve career growth and skill enhancement .

It serves as a roadmap for personal and professional development, helping individuals align their aspirations with the organization's goals. IDPs typically include a self-assessment, a list of short-term and long-term goals, action steps, timelines, resources required, and methods for tracking progress.

These plans are often created collaboratively between employees and their managers , ensuring that both parties are invested in the individual's growth journey. IDPs are essential tools for fostering continuous learning, skill development, and career advancement within the organization.

Benefits of creating an individual development plan

Happy employees after achieving something big

Creating an individual development plan (IDP) offers a range of benefits that contribute to an individual's personal and professional growth, as well as the overall success of the organization. These benefits include:

  • Clear goals and direction : An IDP helps individuals define clear goals and objectives, providing a roadmap for their career and personal development journey .
  • Focused skill development: IDPs identify areas for improvement, enabling individuals to focus on developing specific skills and competencies.
  • Alignment with organizational goals: When IDPs are aligned with organizational objectives, employees' growth contributes to the company's success , fostering a win-win scenario.
  • Enhanced performance: As individuals develop skills and knowledge, their performance improves, leading to increased productivity and contributions to the organization.
  • Increased motivation: Setting and achieving goals outlined in an IDP boosts individuals' motivation, job satisfaction, and overall engagement .
  • Support for learning: IDPs encourage continuous learning and self-directed development, empowering individuals to seek out relevant training and education .
  • Effective career planning: IDPs provide a structured approach to career advancement, helping employees envision their desired career trajectory and plan accordingly.
  • Structured feedback: Regularly reviewing and updating IDPs facilitates ongoing conversations between employees and managers, fostering open communication .
  • Talent retention: Organizations that invest in employees' growth through IDPs are more likely to retain top talent , reducing turnover rates.
  • Succession planning: IDPs identify potential future leaders , aiding succession planning by grooming employees for higher responsibilities.
  • Personal fulfillment: Accomplishing goals outlined in an IDP goals contribute to personal fulfillment, as individuals see tangible progress in their development.
  • Customized development: IDPs are tailored to each individual's strengths, aspirations, and learning styles, promoting personalized growth strategies.
  • Organizational agility: Employees with diverse skills acquired through IDPs contribute to an agile organization prepared for dynamic challenges .

Individual development plans offer a structured and strategic approach to personal and professional growth. They empower individuals to take ownership of their development while benefiting the organization by fostering a skilled, motivated, and engaged workforce .

What are the 5 areas of a personal development plan?

Employees are listening to their leader's plan

A comprehensive personal development plan encompasses various areas that contribute to an individual's holistic growth. While the specific areas may vary based on individual goals and circumstances, the following five key areas are commonly addressed in a personal development plan:

Professional skills

This area focuses on enhancing job-specific skills and competencies required for current and future roles. It includes technical expertise, industry knowledge, and certifications. These skills form the foundation on which your career growth stands, ensuring you remain not just relevant but indispensable in your field.

Personal skills

Personal skills encompass soft skills like communication , time management, problem-solving, and adaptability, which are crucial for effective interpersonal interactions and career success. These skills are the adhesive that holds your career together, fostering meaningful connections and paving the way for lasting success.

Leadership and management skills

Developing leadership qualities , such as decision-making, team management, and strategic thinking, prepares individuals for leadership roles and fosters their ability to guide others. Strategic thinking elevates your ability to see the bigger picture and plan for the long term. These skills not only prepare you for leadership roles but also shape you into a mentor and guide for your peers, propelling your career to new heights.

Personal well-being

This area emphasizes physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It includes practices like exercise, stress management, mindfulness, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance . Well-being isn't just a checkbox on your development plan; it's the fuel that keeps your career engine running smoothly, enabling you to thrive in all aspects of life.

Career development

This aspect involves setting clear career goals, identifying growth opportunities, networking , and planning steps to advance in one's chosen career path. This aspect of your personal development plan is your roadmap to success, ensuring you not only reach your desired career destination but also excel beyond your own expectations.

These areas collectively ensure a balanced approach to personal development, nurturing a well-rounded individual capable of excelling both professionally and personally.

What are the 6 components of personal development plan?

A leader is planning development plan for employees

A well-structured personal development plan (PDP) is like a roadmap to self-improvement and success. To craft an effective PDP, you need to consider six key components:

  • Clear goals: Start by defining your objectives. What do you want to achieve personally and professionally? Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Clarity here is crucial; it's your destination on the map.
  • Self-assessment: Take a good, honest look at yourself. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What skills or knowledge do you lack? Self-awareness is the compass that helps you navigate your development journey.
  • Actionable plans: Once you know your goals and where you stand, outline the steps you need to take. Break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. These are the roads you'll travel to reach your destination.
  • Resources: Identify the resources you'll need. This could include books, courses, workshops, mentors, or online tools. Resources are like the fuel that powers your journey; make sure you have enough to reach your goals.
  • Timelines: Assign realistic timelines to your goals and action steps. A timeline acts as your schedule, ensuring you're on track and not wandering aimlessly.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: Regularly review your progress. Are you moving in the right direction? Are you achieving your milestones? Adjust your plan as needed; it's like recalculating your route when you encounter roadblocks.

Individual development plan examples for managers

Managers are working together to attain the next goal

Individual development plans for managers are essential tools for nurturing leadership potential and ensuring that they continue to excel in their roles. Here are some tailored examples to guide managers on their development journey:

Enhancing leadership skills

A key goal for managers is to strengthen their leadership abilities. This might involve attending leadership workshops, seeking executive coaching, or participating in leadership development programs. The aim is to become an inspirational and effective leader who can guide and motivate their teams to success.

Strategic thinking

For managers responsible for decision-making and long-term planning, developing strategic thinking skills is paramount. They can achieve this by engaging in strategic planning sessions, collaborating with senior leadership , and studying industry trends to make informed decisions that drive the organization forward.

Team building and management

Fostering a high-performing team is a critical aspect of a manager's role. Managers can work on their team-building skills by attending team-building workshops, learning about effective communication, and studying team dynamics to create a cohesive and productive workforce.

Conflict resolution

Handling conflicts within a team is another important managerial skill. Managers can focus on conflict resolution through conflict management training, mediating disputes, and learning techniques to foster healthy workplace relationships.

Time management

Managers often juggle numerous responsibilities. Improving time management skills can help them become more efficient and effective. This can involve time management courses, using productivity tools, and setting clear priorities to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

Mentoring and coaching

Managers can develop their mentoring and coaching abilities by actively mentoring junior staff, providing constructive feedback, and staying updated on coaching techniques. This helps them nurture the growth of their team members.

Stakeholder engagement

Building strong relationships with stakeholders, both internal and external, is vital. Managers can enhance their stakeholder engagement skills by networking, attending industry conferences, and developing strategies for effective stakeholder communication.

Individual development plan examples for employees

Employees are working together effectively

Here are some practical examples to inspire and guide employees on their development journey:

Technical skill enhancement

Employees can focus on improving their technical skills relevant to their roles. This might involve attending specialized training sessions, enrolling in online courses, or seeking certification in specific software or tools. By becoming experts in their fields, they contribute more effectively to their teams and the organization.

Leadership aspirations

For employees aspiring to leadership roles, IDPs can include leadership development activities. They can participate in leadership workshops, join cross-functional projects to gain management experience , or take on mentorship roles to build their leadership skills.

Communication and presentation skills

Effective communication is essential in any job. Employees can work on their communication and presentation skills through courses, public speaking opportunities, or even joining a Toastmasters club. Strong communication skills enhance their ability to convey ideas and collaborate with others.

Time management and productivity

Many employees struggle with managing their time efficiently. An IDP can include time management training, using productivity apps, or learning organization techniques. Improved time management leads to increased productivity and reduced stress.

Project management mastery

Employees involved in project-based roles can focus on project management skills. They can attend project management courses, become certified in project management methodologies, and practice project planning and execution.

Cross-functional knowledge

Encouraging employees to broaden their understanding of other departments can be beneficial. This can involve cross-functional training, attending meetings in different departments, or collaborating on projects outside their usual scope.

Networking and relationship-building

Building a professional network is vital for career growth. Employees can set goals to attend industry events, join professional associations, and engage in networking opportunities. Strong professional relationships can open doors to new opportunities.

Work-life balance

Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for employee well-being. IDPs can include actions such as setting boundaries, time management for personal life, and practicing self-care to ensure employees maintain a balance that prevents burnout.

Diversity and inclusion

In today's diverse workplaces, understanding and promoting diversity and inclusion is vital. Employees can seek out diversity training, participate in inclusion initiatives, and actively contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

How do you write an individual development plan for your employees?

Group of 3 employees planning together

Writing an effective individual development plan (IDP) for your employees involves a structured and collaborative approach. Follow these steps to create a well-crafted IDP:

  • Identify development areas: Based on the employee's self-assessment and feedback from managers and peers, pinpoint the specific skills, knowledge, and competencies to be developed.
  • Outline action steps: Break down each goal into actionable steps or tasks that will lead to its achievement. These steps should be specific, tangible, and sequential.
  • Allocate resources: Determine the resources required for development, such as training programs, workshops, courses, mentoring , or job rotations.
  • Create a development plan: Summarize the goals, action steps, resources, and timelines in a structured document. Use a format that's easy to understand and refer back to.
  • Identify support: Specify who will provide support or mentorship during the development process. This could include managers, colleagues, or external mentors.
  • Measure and evaluate: Regularly assess the employee's progress and the impact of the development plan on their performance and growth.
  • Celebrate achievements: Celebrate milestones and achievements to keep the employee motivated and reinforce the value of their efforts.
  • Adaptability: Be open to adjusting the plan based on changing circumstances, new opportunities, or evolving goals.
  • Encourage self-reflection: Encourage employees to reflect on their learning journey, noting what worked well, the challenges faced, and how they've grown.
  • Document growth: Maintain records of completed training, achieved milestones, and new skills acquired, which can be valuable for performance evaluations and career discussions.
  • Continual improvement: Use the feedback from the employee and their experiences to improve the IDP process for future iterations.

Remember, an effective IDP should be flexible, adaptive, and supportive of the employee's growth journey within the organization.

Why implementing an individual plan is both a manager's and HRs responsibility?

Manager and a HR planning together

Implementing an individual development plan (IDP) is a shared responsibility between managers and the HR department due to its comprehensive impact on employee growth and organizational success. Here's why both parties play crucial roles in this process:

Manager's Responsibility:

Direct supervision.

Managers have direct insight into their team members' strengths, weaknesses, and performance. This knowledge helps tailor IDPs to individual needs.

Goal alignment

Managers align IDPs with the organization's goals and the team's objectives, ensuring that employees' development contributes to the team's success.

Guidance and support

Managers provide guidance on setting realistic goals, suggest suitable development opportunities, and offer feedback as employees progress .

They offer constructive feedback to employees , helping them understand areas for improvement and offering insights for skill enhancement.


Managers monitor employees' progress , ensuring that action steps are being followed and milestones are achieved as outlined in the IDP.

Managers recognize and celebrate employees' achievements and growth, motivating them to continue their development journey.

Individualized coaching

Managers take on the role of coaches, providing one-on-one support tailored to each employee's needs. This involves regular check-ins and personalized development plans that consider an employee's unique aspirations and challenges.

Identifying stretch opportunities

Managers actively seek out opportunities for employees to stretch their capabilities and take on challenging assignments. Encouraging employees to step out of their comfort zones fosters growth and resilience.

Skill transfer and knowledge sharing

Managers promote a culture of knowledge sharing within their teams. They encourage employees to share their expertise and mentor each other, creating a collaborative learning environment.

Succession planning

Managers play a pivotal role in succession planning. They identify high-potential employees, groom them for leadership roles , and ensure a smooth transition when vacancies arise.

HR's Responsibility:

Framework creation.

HR establishes a structured framework for creating, tracking, and evaluating IDPs across the organization. This ensures consistency and fairness.

Resource provision

HR identifies and provides access to various development resources, including training programs, workshops, and mentoring opportunities .

Skill assessments

They facilitate skills assessments and competency evaluations that inform the development areas to be included in IDPs.

Development opportunities

HR identifies potential growth opportunities within the organization, allowing employees to explore diverse career paths.

Employee alignment

HR ensures that IDPs align with the company's overall talent management strategy, fostering a cohesive approach to employee growth .

Measurement and reporting

They measure the impact of IDPs on employee performance and the organization's success, offering insights for improvement.

Continuous improvement

HR gathers feedback from both managers and employees to refine the IDP process, ensuring its effectiveness over time.

Legal compliance

Ensuring that IDPs comply with relevant labor laws and regulations is a vital HR responsibility. They stay updated on legal requirements and ensure that IDPs don't inadvertently violate any employment laws.

HR takes a proactive role in promoting diversity and inclusion within IDPs. They work to ensure that development opportunities are equitable and accessible to employees from diverse backgrounds , fostering a more inclusive workplace culture.

Data security

As IDPs often contain sensitive employee information, HR is responsible for maintaining data security. They implement measures to protect employee privacy and data integrity, ensuring that confidential information remains confidential.

Technology integration

HR leverages technology to streamline the IDP process, making it more efficient and user-friendly. They ensure that digital tools for creating, tracking, and reporting on IDPs are integrated seamlessly into the organization's HR systems.

Collaboration between managers and HR is essential for successful IDP implementation. While managers provide personalized guidance and support, HR ensures a structured framework and availability of resources. This joint effort fosters a culture of development, engagement, and continuous improvement , benefiting both employees and the organization as a whole.

How to set goals for your individual development plan?

Employee is running toward company's goal

Setting goals for your individual development plan (IDP) involves a strategic and thoughtful approach. Follow these steps to establish effective and achievable goals:

  • Self-assessment: Reflect on your current skills, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Consider feedback from colleagues, managers, and any previous performance evaluations.
  • Define clear objectives: Clearly define what you want to achieve through your IDP. Your goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound ( SMART ).
  • Prioritize: Determine which skills or areas need immediate attention and which ones can be developed over a longer period. Focus on a manageable number of goals to avoid overwhelm.
  • Quantify measurable goals: Use metrics or criteria to measure progress . For example, if your goal is to improve public speaking, set a target number of presentations to give within a certain timeframe.
  • Research and resources: Identify the resources needed to achieve each goal. This could include workshops, courses, books, mentors, or online resources.
  • Flexibility: Keep your goals flexible. Circumstances change, and you may need to adjust your goals based on new opportunities or challenges.
  • Balance: Ensure a balanced mix of short-term and long-term goals, as well as goals that focus on both professional and personal development.
  • Feedback: Seek input from your manager, colleagues, or mentors when setting goals. They can provide valuable insights and help refine your objectives.
  • Regular review: Regularly review and update your goals. This helps track progress, make adjustments as needed, and stay aligned with your evolving aspirations.
  • Celebrate milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your achievements along the way. Recognizing progress boosts motivation and keeps you engaged in the development process.
  • Leverage SWOT analysis: Conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to gain deeper insights into your personal and professional landscape.
  • Set long-term vision: While focusing on immediate goals, also establish a long-term vision for your personal development. Having a clear destination in mind can guide your short-term objectives and provide a sense of purpose.
  • Incorporate learning styles: Consider your preferred learning style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) when planning your development.
  • Embrace adaptability: Embrace adaptability as a goal itself. The ability to adapt to new technologies, industries, or job roles is a valuable skill in today's rapidly changing world.
  • Networking and collaboration: Include goals related to expanding your professional network and collaboration skills.

How to implement development plans?

Employer lifting employee up

Implementing professional and personal development plans in the workplace is crucial for fostering employee growth and achieving organizational goals. Here's a practical guide on how to make it happen:

  • Needs assessment: Begin by identifying the specific development needs of your employees. Conduct regular performance reviews, gather feedback, and assess skills gaps. This will form the basis of your individual development planning.
  • Set clear objectives: Once you've development identified the needs, set clear and measurable objectives. Ensure they align with the individual's career goals and the company's strategic objectives. These objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound).
  • Resource allocation: Allocate the necessary resources for development. This includes budgeting for training programs, workshops, mentoring, and access to relevant tools and technologies.
  • Development activities: Encourage employees to engage in development activities. This may involve attending workshops, taking online courses, participating in cross-functional projects, or seeking mentorship from experienced colleagues.
  • Regular feedback: Provide ongoing feedback and support. Regular check-ins with managers or mentors can help employees stay on track and make necessary adjustments to their development plans.
  • Measure progress: Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress. Monitor skill improvements, project outcomes, and the impact of development activities on individual and team performance.
  • Recognition and rewards: Recognize and reward achievements along the way. Celebrate milestones and showcase success stories to motivate others and reinforce the importance of development.

How to craft individual development plan template for employees, managers, & senior leadership?

Managers are planning the next big thing with recent statistics

Crafting individual development plan (IDP) examples for employees, managers, and senior leadership requires a strategic approach that aligns with their unique responsibilities and career trajectories. Here's how to create effective IDP examples for this group:

  • Needs assessment: Start by assessing the specific needs of managers and senior leaders. Consider their current roles, skills, and areas for growth.
  • Alignment with organizational goals: Ensure that the IDP examples align with both the individual's career aspirations and the organization's strategic objectives.
  • Leadership competencies: Focus on leadership competencies such as strategic thinking, decision-making, communication , and team development. Tailor goals to enhance these skills.
  • 360-degree feedback: Gather feedback from colleagues, subordinates, and superiors to identify areas for improvement and strengths to leverage.
  • Long-term vision: Help managers and senior leaders align their IDPs with long-term career visions, considering potential leadership roles and responsibilities.
  • Executive coaching: Offer executive coaching or mentoring to support their development. Include goals related to improving coaching or mentoring skills if applicable.
  • Change management: If their roles involve leading through change, incorporate goals related to change management strategies and techniques.
  • Innovation and strategy: Focus on fostering innovation, creating strategic plans, and identifying opportunities for organizational growth.
  • Cross-functional collaboration: Set goals that encourage collaboration across different departments or functions, enhancing their ability to lead multidisciplinary teams.
  • Performance metrics: Quantify goals where possible. For example, increasing employee engagement scores or achieving specific revenue targets.
  • Crisis management: Develop skills in crisis management and decision-making under pressure, considering their roles in guiding the organization during challenging times.
  • Ethical leadership: Include goals related to promoting ethical conduct, fostering a positive organizational culture , and leading by example.

Remember, IDPs for managers and senior leaders should be forward-thinking, challenging them to expand their skill sets, embrace innovation, and navigate complex leadership scenarios .

Individual development plan examples for various industries

Individual development plan examples for various industries

Explore diverse individual development plan (IDP) examples tailored to various industries. From tech to healthcare, these IDPs illustrate how professionals can enhance skills, achieve goals, and thrive in their specific fields.

Individual development plan examples for engineers

1. Technical skill advancement:

  • Goal: Master [specific technology/tool] within [timeline].
  • Action: Enroll in relevant courses, and apply skills to projects.

2. Leadership readiness:

  • Goal: Develop leadership qualities.
  • Action: Attend leadership workshops and mentor junior engineers.

3. Certification attainment:

  • Goal: Obtain [industry certification].
  • Action: Study, take preparation courses, and schedule exams.

4. Cross-functional exposure:

  • Goal: Gain insight into [related domain].
  • Action: Collaborate , attend cross-functional meetings.

5. Innovation contribution:

  • Goal: Propose innovative solutions.
  • Action: Engage in R&D projects, and submit patents.

Individual development plan examples for pharma employees

1. Regulatory compliance expertise:

  • Goal: Master regulations like FDA guidelines within [timeline].
  • Action: Attend regulatory workshops, analyze case studies , and contribute to compliance projects.

2. Clinical trial management:

  • Goal: Develop proficiency in managing clinical trials.
  • Action: Participate in trial coordination, learn data analysis tools, and collaborate with clinical teams.

3. Pharmacovigilance skills:

  • Goal: Enhance adverse event reporting and monitoring capabilities.
  • Action: Attend pharmacovigilance seminars, analyze real-world data, and contribute to safety assessments.

4. Cross-functional collaboration:

  • Goal: Foster collaboration with R&D, production, and marketing teams.
  • Action: Join cross-functional projects, engage in knowledge-sharing sessions, and attend inter-departmental meetings.

5. GMP and quality assurance:

  • Goal: Become a quality assurance expert aligned with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
  • Action Steps: Attend GMP training, participate in quality audits, and contribute to process improvement initiatives.

Individual development plan examples for finance professionals

1. Financial modeling expertise:

  • Goal: Enhance proficiency in financial modeling for more accurate forecasting.
  • Action: Enroll in advanced Excel courses, practice modeling complex scenarios, and participate in case study workshops.

2. Strategic financial planning:

  • Goal: Develop strategic planning skills to contribute to long-term financial strategies.
  • Action: Attend strategic finance seminars, collaborate with strategy teams, and analyze industry trends for informed decision-making.
  • Goal: Obtain [specific finance-related certification] to elevate professional credentials.
  • Action: Study rigorously, attend certification review sessions, and schedule the exam within [timeline].

4. Risk management proficiency:

  • Goal: Strengthen risk assessment skills to minimize financial vulnerabilities.
  • Action: Attend risk management seminars, analyze historical data for risk patterns, and propose mitigation strategies.

5. Leadership in finance teams:

  • Goal: Cultivate leadership qualities for effective management within the finance department .
  • Action: Engage in leadership workshops, mentor junior team members, and initiate process improvement projects.

Individual development plan examples for supply chain employees

1. Supplier Relationship Management:

  • Goal: Enhance supplier collaboration and negotiation skills.
  • Action: Attend supplier management workshops , engage in cross-functional collaboration, and lead vendor evaluation projects.

2. Process Optimization:

  • Goal: Streamline supply chain processes for efficiency.
  • Action: Enroll in process improvement courses, map out current processes, and implement Lean principles.

3. Inventory Management Proficiency:

  • Goal: Develop expertise in optimizing inventory levels.
  • Action: Take advanced inventory management courses, analyze historical data, and implement demand forecasting techniques.

4. Global Supply Chain Understanding:

  • Goal: Gain insights into global supply chain dynamics.
  • Action: Participate in international trade seminars, collaborate with overseas teams, and understand regional regulations.

5. Supply Chain Analytics:

  • Goal: Improve decision-making through data-driven insights.
  • Action: Learn data analytics tools, work on supply chain data projects, and present findings to management.

Individual development plan examples for hospitality industry employees

1. Customer Service Excellence:

  • Goal: Elevate customer satisfaction by mastering guest interactions and problem-solving.
  • Action: Attend customer service workshops, role-play scenarios, and seek feedback from supervisors.

2. Multilingual Proficiency:

  • Goal: Enhance guest experience by learning [specific language] to communicate with a diverse clientele.
  • Action: Enroll in language classes, practice with colleagues, and interact with guests in the target language.

3. Upselling Skills:

  • Goal: Boost revenue by becoming proficient in upselling techniques and personalized recommendations.
  • Action: Attend upselling training, create upsell strategies, and track successful upsell transactions.

4. Leadership Readiness:

  • Goal: Prepare for supervisory roles by developing leadership and team management skills.
  • Action: Participate in leadership courses, mentor junior staff, and seek guidance from experienced managers .

5. Crisis Management:

  • Goal: Enhance preparedness by training for effective crisis response and guest safety protocols.
  • Action: Engage in crisis management drills, study emergency procedures, and participate in safety audits.
  • Goal: Develop meaningful leadership qualities.
  • Action: Collaborate, attend cross-functional meetings.
  • Goal: Cultivate leadership qualities for effective management within the finance department.
  • Action: Engage in leadership workshops, mentor junior team members, initiate process improvement projects .

1. Supplier relationship management:

  • Action: Attend supplier management workshops, engage in cross-functional collaboration, lead vendor evaluation projects.

2. Process optimization:

  • Action: Enroll in process improvement courses, map out current processes, implement Lean principles.

3. nventory management proficiency:

  • Action: Take advanced inventory management courses, analyze historical data, implement demand forecasting techniques.

4. Global supply chain understanding:

  • Action: Participate in international trade seminars, collaborate with overseas teams, understand regional regulations.

5. Supply chain analytics:

  • Action: Learn data analytics tools, work on supply chain data projects, present findings to management.
  • Action: Attend customer service workshops, role-play scenarios, seek feedback from supervisors.

2. Multilingual proficiency:

  • Action: Enroll in language classes, practice with colleagues, interact with guests in the target language.

3. Upselling skills:

  • Action: Attend upselling training, create upsell strategies, track successful upsell transactions.

4. Leadership readiness:

  • Action: Participate in leadership courses, mentor junior staff, seek guidance from experienced managers.

5. Crisis management:

  • Action: Engage in crisis management drills, study emergency procedures, participate in safety audits.

Role of an employee development program in implementing an individual development plan for your employees

A group of four employees are having a meeting

An employee development program plays a pivotal role in successfully implementing individual development plans (IDPs). It provides a structured framework for employees to access resources, training, and opportunities aligned with their IDP goals. These programs offer tailored workshops, courses, and mentorship, fostering skill enhancement and career growth.

By aligning IDPs with the organization's development initiatives, employees receive the necessary support, ensuring their aspirations align with business objectives. Employee development programs create a culture of continuous learning, boosting engagement, job satisfaction, and overall organizational success.

In essence, an Individual Development Plan (IDP) serves as a personalized roadmap for growth, regardless of industry. With strategic goal-setting, tailored actions, and ongoing reflection, individuals can harness their potential, cultivating skills that enrich both their careers and their industries at large.

What are some individual development plan examples for managers?

Managers often focus on leadership development, strategic thinking, and team management. For example, a manager's individual development plan may include goals like enhancing leadership skills through workshops, participating in strategic planning sessions, and mentoring junior team members to foster leadership qualities. These plans aim to prepare managers for broader responsibilities within the organization.

Can you provide individual development plan examples for employees in the workplace?

Certainly! Employees can have diverse development goals. For instance, an employee may aim to improve technical skills by enrolling in relevant courses, enhance communication abilities through public speaking training, or build leadership qualities by joining cross-functional projects. These plans align individual aspirations with organizational objectives, fostering a motivated and skilled workforce.

What are the common components of an individual development plan in a professional setting?

A typical individual development plan includes clear goals, self-assessment, actionable plans, resource identification, timelines, and monitoring and evaluation. These components help individuals define their objectives, assess their current skills, outline steps to achieve their goals, identify the necessary resources, set realistic timelines, and regularly review and adapt their plans.

How do I create a personal development plan for my career?

To create a personal development plan, start by self-reflecting on your strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations. Set clear, SMART goals that align with your vision. Create actionable plans, identify resources, establish timelines, and regularly review your progress. Adapt your plan as needed to stay on track and achieve your career objectives. Seek guidance and feedback from mentors.

What are some real-life individual development plan samples for career growth?

Real-life individual development plan samples vary based on career goals. For instance, a sample for career or personal growth may include goals like obtaining relevant certifications, attending leadership training, and joining cross-functional projects . Another sample for skill enhancement may involve taking technical courses, seeking mentorship, and participating in industry conferences.

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash is a Product Marketer with 5+ years of experience. He loves story-telling in the simplest way possible and he is an avid reader, movie buff, and likes to travel new places to meet new people.

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Individual Development Plan [Examples & Templates]

By Status.net Editorial Team on June 15, 2023 — 10 minutes to read

An individual development plan (IDP) is a valuable tool that helps you identify your goals, strengths, and areas for growth. By creating and regularly reviewing your IDP, you can align your personal development with your professional aspirations, ensuring continued growth and improvement in your career. When crafting your IDP, it is important to include your specific short-term and long-term goals, identified skills to develop, and the necessary resources or support. You may also wish to set specific timelines or milestones to track your progress. To simplify the process, we have provided a complete IDP template and a detailed example to guide you in creating your own. By following this guide, you will be well on your way to designing a strategic professional development plan that will unlock your full potential and elevate your career.

What Is an Individual Development Plan?

An individual development plan (IDP) is a tool designed to help you identify your professional development needs and set clear goals for personal growth. IDPs can improve your overall job satisfaction and performance, and they are often used by employers to support employee development and retention.

In an IDP, you should include a thorough assessment of your current skills, as well as a list of areas where you would like to develop further expertise. This may involve identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. To maximize the effectiveness of your IDP, it’s important to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that focus on your desired outcomes and actionable steps to achieve them. Related: 60 Self-Performance Review Goals Examples

Implementing an IDP in your office can be a valuable way to boost employee performance, job satisfaction, and long-term career development. Consider encouraging your team to create individual plans by providing resources and guidance, scheduling regular progress meetings, and offering relevant training and development opportunities.

The Importance of Individual Development Plans

Employee engagement and retention.

An individual development plan (IDP) is a valuable tool for improving employee engagement. By investing in your employees’ professional development, you show that you care about their long-term goals and career success. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased motivation, and ultimately, better retention rates.

Career Growth and Succession Planning

IDPs can also support career growth and succession planning within your organization. By actively identifying your employees’ strengths and areas for improvement, you can help them pursue their career aspirations. Moreover, you can align their professional goals with the needs of your company, ensuring a pipeline of qualified candidates for key positions in the future.

Performance Improvement

Implementing IDPs can lead to significant performance improvements as well. By setting clear expectations and measurable objectives, employees are better equipped to focus on their areas of growth. Additionally, regular performance reviews and monitoring of their progress can help keep them accountable and invested in their development. This not only benefits the individual employee but also contributes to the overall success of your organization.

Components of an IDP

Goals and objectives.

When crafting your Individual Development Plan (IDP), it’s crucial to establish clear goals and objectives. Ensure that your objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to set a strong foundation for success. Consider both short-term and long-term aspirations as you outline your desired milestones.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is vital in developing a well-rounded IDP. Your strengths can be areas where you naturally excel, such as communication skills or proficiency in software like Excel. Recognize and list your weaknesses, as well, to help you target areas for improvement and growth.

Action Steps

Once you have determined your goals and assessed your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to outline action steps. These are specific, manageable tasks that will lead you toward accomplishing your objectives. Be thorough in your planning, and ensure that your action steps provide a clear path toward achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

Establishing realistic timeframes for each action step is essential in holding yourself accountable and measuring progress. For each action step, set a target completion date. Remember to give yourself enough time for each action, and be prepared to adjust your timeframes as necessary throughout the implementation process.

Creating an Individual Development Plan


Begin by conducting a self-assessment to evaluate your current skills and identify areas for improvement. Use performance reviews as a starting point and consider the following steps:

  • Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses
  • Determine your career goals and desired outcomes
  • Identify skill gaps between your current abilities and future goals
  • Create a plan to address these skill gaps

Related:  20 Examples of Strengths for Self Evaluation

20 Self-Evaluation Weaknesses Examples

Mentorship and Feedback

Seek out mentorship and feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or industry professionals. It can be tremendously helpful to have experienced individuals provide guidance and advice. Use their feedback to:

  • Refine your self-assessment and skill gap analysis
  • Gain insights into industry trends and opportunities
  • Develop new skills or further improve existing ones

Establish regular check-ins with your mentors to track your progress and maintain accountability.

Career and Skill Development

Explore development opportunities to acquire new skills and enhance your career prospects. Consider the following options:

  • In-house training programs
  • External workshops, seminars, or courses
  • Professional certifications
  • Online resources and self-paced study materials

Remember to align these opportunities with your self-assessment results and feedback from mentors.

How to Create IDP

To create your own IDP, consider including the following key components:

  • Personal Information : Your name, job title, department, and contact details.
  • Current Skills Assessment (Strengths) : A list of your skills, experience, and areas of expertise.
  • Development Needs Assessment (Weaknesses) : Areas where you would like to improve or develop new skills.
  • Objective Statement : A clear statement of your career goals and what you hope to achieve through your IDP.
  • Goals : Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals to work towards.
  • Action Plan : Concrete steps, resources, and support needed to achieve your goals.
  • Timeline : A timeframe for achieving each goal, including benchmarks and milestones.
  • Progress Tracking : A system for monitoring your progress and adjusting your plan as needed.

IDP Template 1

For example, let’s say you’re a marketing professional seeking to improve your digital marketing skills. Your IDP might include the following:

  • Example of Objective Statement : To become a versatile and skilled digital marketer within two years, proficient in key areas such as content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media advertising.
  • Improve content marketing skills to the level of industry best practices within six months.
  • Achieve Google Analytics certification within three months.
  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of search engine optimization, with the ability to implement effective strategies within nine months.
  • Attend online courses, workshops, and relevant industry events to learn from experts and gain practical experience.
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with colleagues on digital marketing projects and initiatives.
  • Allocate time each week for self-study and practice of new skills.

IDP Template 2

Let’s say you’d like to get a promotion in your marketing department. Your IDP could look like this:

Objective: Become a Marketing Manager in the next two years.

Performance improvement plan: Improve project management skills and acquire higher-level marketing certifications.

Skills development:

  • Learn advanced project management techniques
  • Complete professional certification in digital marketing

Mentorship and coaching: Work closely with your manager or a senior colleague to get guidance on project management and marketing strategies.

Goal Setting:

  • Complete a project management course within six months.
  • Obtain a professional marketing certification within one year.
  • Successfully lead at least three major projects by the end of year two.

Action Steps:

  • Research and sign up for a suitable project management course.
  • Study for a professional marketing certification exam.
  • Request to be assigned to key projects as project lead.
  • Project management course: completed within six months
  • Marketing certification: obtained within one year
  • Lead three major projects: completed by the end of year two

Tracking and evaluation: Regularly review your progress with your manager, seeking feedback on your performance and adjusting your IDP as needed.

Implementing IDP in the Workplace

Manager’s role in idp process.

To implement an Individual Development Plan (IDP) in your workplace, it is crucial to understand and emphasize the manager’s role. As a manager, you should collaborate with your employees and HR to develop personalized IDPs. This will help your employees reach their professional goals while contributing to the organization’s success.

During the IDP process, you’ll assist your employees in setting realistic goals aligned with their career aspirations as well as the objectives of your organization. It’s essential for you, as a manager, to offer guidance, provide resources, and create a supportive environment that encourages growth.

Monitoring and Adjusting IDP

An effective IDP is a flexible and dynamic tool that requires ongoing evaluation. To ensure successful implementation, regularly monitor your employees’ progress towards their objectives. Schedule periodic performance reviews, solicit feedback from both employees and supervisors, and adjust the IDP as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key components of an idp.

An individual development plan (IDP) includes a clear set of goals, a timeline for achieving them, and actionable steps to help you get there. The key components are:

  • Objective – Identify your long-term career goals.
  • Skills – Determine what skills you need to develop or improve on.
  • Action Steps – List specific activities to enhance your skills and work towards your objective.
  • Timeline – Establish deadlines for completing each action step.
  • Measurement – Identify benchmarks to gauge and track your progress.

How do you create an effective IDP?

To create an effective IDP, follow these steps:

  • Self-assess: Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations.
  • Set SMART goals: Choose specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives.
  • Identify the necessary skills: Determine the competencies and qualifications needed to achieve your goals.
  • Develop action steps: Map out detailed activities, courses, or projects to improve the required skills.
  • Collaborate with your manager: Seek feedback and support from your manager to ensure alignment with organizational goals.
  • Monitor and revise: Regularly review your IDP to update your goals and make adjustments as needed.

What are some common goals in an IDP?

Common goals in an IDP can vary, depending on your career aspirations. Examples include:

  • Developing leadership or managerial skills.
  • Gaining expertise in a specific field or industry.
  • Enhancing communication or presentation skills.
  • Learning a new technical skill, such as software programming or data analysis.
  • Building networking or collaboration abilities.

How can you track progress in an IDP?

To track progress in your IDP, establish regular check-ins with yourself and your manager. Monitor your progress by comparing your achievements to the benchmarks and deadlines set in your plan. Update your IDP as needed to reflect changes in your objectives, skills, or action steps.

What is the role of a manager in an employee’s IDP?

A manager plays a critical role in an employee’s IDP by:

  • Providing guidance and support in setting realistic goals.
  • Offering resources, such as training and mentorship opportunities.
  • Facilitating regular check-ins to assess progress and address challenges.
  • Advocating for the employee’s growth and development within the organization.
  • Encouraging the employee to own and take responsibility for their career development.

How can an IDP contribute to career growth?

An IDP contributes to your career growth by providing a structured framework for personal and professional development. By setting clear goals, identifying required skills, and planning actionable steps, you gain a deeper understanding of your aspirations and what it takes to achieve them. Your IDP can also help you navigate potential opportunities within your organization and chart a path for long-term success.

Related: 60 Self-Performance Review Goals Examples

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  • How to Write a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
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individual development plan/training examples

How to Create Strong Individual Development Plans (With Examples)

Introduction to individual development plans, why do your team members need individual development plans, components of a strong individual development plan, how to write a strong individual development plan, examples of individual development plans, individual development plan template (free), wrapping up.

Other Related Blogs

What is an Individual Development Plan?

  • Personal and Professional Growth: Individual development plans are crucial for both team members and managers because they facilitate personal and professional growth. They allow individuals to identify their strengths and areas in need of improvement, which is the foundation for continuous development.
  • Concrete Goal Setting: IDPs enable team members to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals . This level of goal specificity provides a clear direction for improvement and helps individuals stay focused on their development objectives.
  • Performance Improvement: IDPs are instrumental in improving performance. By addressing areas that need development, team members can enhance their skills, knowledge, and capabilities, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the team and organization.
  • Alignment with Organizational Goals: Individual development plans help align personal aspirations with the team’s mission and objectives. This alignment ensures that team members are actively contributing to the team’s success while pursuing their own professional growth.
  • Feedback and Progress Tracking: IDPs establish a framework for continuous feedback and progress evaluation. They help team members and managers assess how well individuals are advancing toward their goals, providing a structured means of tracking growth over time and promoting accountability.

components of individual development plans

  • The individual development plan should include a skills assessment that identifies areas for improvement and potential learning opportunities.
  • Creating a step-by-step action plan with timelines can help you progress toward your goals while providing a framework for ongoing feedback and evaluation of progress.
  • Regular assessment of the plan is crucial to ensure success and adjust as needed.

Professional Goals and Aspirations

Strengths and talents, development opportunities, action plans.

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Review the Past Performance

Set realistic goals, create an action plan, define a timeline, evaluate regularly.

steps to create an individual development plan

IDP Example #1: Team Manager Sarah

  • Improve team management skills: Develop skills to manage and  motivate team members effectively.  Implement a new system for tracking and measuring team performance.
  • Develop project management skills: Implement a new system to improve project execution and delivery.
  • Enhance communication and collaboration skills: Practice these skills in team meetings and one-on-one conversations with team members to ensure smoother operations.
  • Develop strategic thinking skills: Practice developing and implementing a strategic plan for the team.
  • Find relevant courses or workshops: Select a team management course or workshop to attend within the next three months. Similarly, look for courses on communication and collaboration skills that can help overcome hurdles.
  • Implement a new team performance tracking system: Find a new method for tracking and measuring team performance. Implement the new system within the next six months and monitor progress.
  • Implement new project management system: Research and select a new one to implement within the next six months. Train team members on the new system and monitor progress.
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan for the team: Meet with team members to gather input and ideas for a strategic plan. Develop a plan and present it to the supervisor for approval within the next six months.
  • Monitor progress and adjust goals as needed: Monitor progress regularly and adjust plans as needed. Seek feedback from team members to ensure goals are aligned with team needs and expectations.

IDP Example #2: Team Manager John

  • Enhance technical leadership skills: Effectively provide technical guidance and support to the team.
  • Improve project management skills: For leading projects and ensuring successful delivery within budget and timelines.
  • Foster a culture of continuous learning:  Encourage team members to engage in ongoing learning and skill development. 
  • Attend leadership workshops/conferences: Identify relevant leadership workshops or seminars in the software development industry. Register and attend at least two events within the next year to gain insights into effective technical leadership.
  • Mentor junior team members:   Assign mentorship roles  to experienced team members and guide junior developers. Regularly meet with mentees to discuss their progress, challenges, and career aspirations.
  • Lead a complex project: Take on a difficult task to demonstrate technical leadership. Coordinate with team members, facilitate effective communication, and ensure the project’s successful execution.
  • Implement a learning and recognition system: Research and introduce a learning management system that enables team members to access relevant learning resources. Establish a recognition program to acknowledge and reward individual and team achievements.
  • Follow the process: Start by conversing with your team members to understand challenges from their perspectives and share from your own. List the common areas of improvement that you want to work together on for the next period.
  • Initiate a realistic plan: Based on the discussions, create a set of goals for your team members. Ensure the goals are SMART and practical , and supplement them with the resources and support required to achieve them within the set timeline.
  • Talk of reviews: The best way to use IDPs with your team includes making them holistic and relevant to the team members. Thus, as a manager, you should provide support through reviews and checks to resolve queries and concerns as they come. You can integrate IDPs into your performance management system to improve it!
  • Remember that IDPs are not one-size-fits-all: Individual needs and growth pathways are different. While a template can help you start, be ready to accommodate your team’s and individual members’ varied needs. It will show care toward their growth – enabling a relationship based on mutual trust.

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Individual Development Plans Examples for Managers – Crucial Goals to Include

Sreyashi Chatterjee

  • by Sreyashi Chatterjee
  • August 11, 2023

Recent studies have shown that organizations with effective individual development plans (IDPs) for their managers experience a significant boost in productivity and employee engagement. According to a survey, 94% of employees in companies with well-structured IDPs reported higher job satisfaction and a more substantial commitment to their organization. 

Having structured and targeted examples of IDP goals for managers can be a game changer. It can help you with the positive outcomes for your teams and the organization.

Let’s understand what IDP goals for managers are. We will also discuss individual development plan examples for managers that will help you implement and monitor tactics of managerial IDPs, and on how to overcome the challenges for the same.

Understanding Individual Development Plans (IDPs) for Managers

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) serve as personalized roadmaps that outline managers’ specific objectives and development areas, facilitating a well-structured path to success. 

individual development plan/training examples

Unlike regular performance evaluations that focus on short-term performance, IDPs extend beyond the scope of reviews and concentrate on long-term career aspirations and skill enhancement. This forward-thinking approach empowers managers to take charge of their professional development and align your growth with the organization’s strategic objectives.

According to McKinsey , organizations that actively support employee development experience higher retention rates and are more likely to attract top talent. 

By adopting IDPs, managers gain the tools and insights to nurture the potential of their team members effectively. 

The IDP process encourages managers to develop coaching and mentoring abilities, fostering a supportive and growth-oriented team environment. This not only enhances employee performance but also contributes to the overall productivity and success of the organization.

Individual Development Plan Goals for Managers

Setting individual development plan goals for managers is a pivotal step in their professional growth journey. These goals are the building blocks for enhancing managerial skills, fostering leadership qualities , and driving overall team success. 

Let’s dive into the key objectives 

1. Self-Assessment and Identifying Skill Gaps

Self-awareness is the foundation for a successful IDP. By conducting thorough self-assessments, managers can identify areas for improvement and skill gaps that might hinder their success. 

Addressing these gaps through targeted development plans , such as attending workshops or training sessions, can enhance their capabilities and transform them into more effective leaders.

2. Leadership and Communication Skills Enhancement

Strong leadership and communication skills are game-changers for managers in the business world. With enhanced leadership qualities, they can inspire and motivate their teams to achieve remarkable results. 

Effective communication skills enable them to build better relationships with clients and stakeholders, leading to improved collaboration and successful business deals.

3. Goal Setting and Time Management

Setting clear OKRs and achievable goals is instrumental in driving success. Using a goal-setting platform can streamline the process, helping them align their objectives with the organization’s and track progress efficiently. 

Effective time management ensures managers prioritize tasks, leading to better productivity and timely execution of projects, ultimately elevating business performance. 

Managers can learn to set OKRs with the best OKRs & strategy execution software like Peoplebox, they can build a truly goal-driven and time management culture to accelerate their business growth. 

4. Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving

Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills are game-changers in handling challenging situations. 

For managers, navigating conflicts with clients or team members effectively can preserve relationships and strengthen partnerships. Additionally, adept problem-solving skills enable them to overcome obstacles swiftly, ensuring smooth project delivery and enhancing the organization’s reputation.

5. Coaching and Mentoring Abilities

Investing in coaching and mentoring team members transforms managers into an exceptional leader. 

individual development plan/training examples

By guiding their team’s growth and professional development, they foster a culture of continuous improvement and employee engagement. This approach can significantly impact team performance, leading to higher levels of productivity and innovation. 

P.S. – You can even track your employees’ engagement insights with our employee engagement software . 

6. Adaptability and Change Management

If managers embrace change and adjust their strategies quickly they can seize new opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. Their adeptness in change management ensures smoother transitions during organizational shifts, minimizing disruptions and maximizing productivity.

7. Delegation, Empowerment, and Succession Planning

Skillful delegation and empowerment empower managers to focus on strategic initiatives while building a capable and autonomous team. Effective succession planning ensures a seamless leadership transition, safeguarding the organization’s future. 

Managers who excel in these areas create a resilient and agile workforce that can respond to challenges and drive long-term success.

In general, collaboration between managers, HR, and higher management is crucial to implement and monitor IDPs effectively. This allows managers to track their development and make necessary adjustments.

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Implementation and monitoring of managerial idps.

Once managers have established their development goals, it is essential to have a well-structured approach to implement and track their progress. 

Let’s dive into the key implementation and monitoring 

1. Collaborative Approach with HR and Higher Management 

A successful implementation of managerial IDPs requires a collaborative approach with HR and higher management. Managers should actively involve HR professionals in the creation and implementation of IDPs. 

HR’s expertise can help tailor IDPs to meet individual managerial needs while ensuring they align with the organization’s overall objectives. This collaborative effort ensures that IDPs are well-integrated with the organization’s strategic priorities, contributing to long-term success.

When higher management is committed to managerial development, it sends a powerful message about the organization’s investment in its leaders’ growth. Support from higher management equips you with the necessary resources and opportunities to succeed in their development journey.

2. Regular Progress Assessments and Feedback 

Regular progress assessments are mandatory to monitor the effectiveness of managerial IDPs. They should conduct periodic reviews to track their development progress against set goals. 

These assessments help identify areas of improvement, reinforce successes, and keep IDPs on track. By measuring progress over time, they can gauge the impact of their efforts and make data-driven decisions.

Conduct Assessments & Capture Employee Feedback

Gathering feedback from peers, subordinates, and superiors adds valuable insights to the assessment process. Feedback from different perspectives provides a holistic view of a manager’s performance and development. It allows them to understand their strengths, identify blind spots, and uncover opportunities for growth.

Based on performance evaluations and feedback, they can make necessary adjustments to their IDPs. Flexibility in the development process enables managers to respond to changing circumstances and refine their goals as needed. They can use goal tracker apps that will help them with creating and tracking individual development goals. With a user-friendly interface and easy-to-use features, seamlessly set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) objectives and monitor their progress over time. 

By continuously improving and adapting their IDPs, they can ensure you remain on the path of growth and achieve long-term success.

Overcoming Challenges in Managerial Individual Development Plan

Challenges are inevitable in any development process, including managerial IDPs. 

To ensure successful implementation, managers must know potential obstacles and strategies to overcome them.

1. Constraints and Workload Management 

Managers’ days are often filled with various responsibilities and tasks, leaving limited time for their IDP. To address this challenge, managers can prioritize their development by allocating specific time each week for IDP activities. They can leverage performance management or goal setting software to help streamline their time and workload while staying focused on their development goals.

Delegate non-essential tasks to their team members and seek support from HR in creating realistic timelines for their growth. By involving their team in the process, they can collectively find solutions to manage their workload and create a supportive environment for their development.

2. Resistance to Change and Learning 

Change can be met with resistance, and managers may hesitate to embrace new development initiatives. They can overcome this challenge by fostering a growth mindset and recognizing that continuous learning is essential for their leadership growth. They can –

  • Look out for training programs and resources aligned with their goals and interests. 
  • Engage in conversations with mentors or peers who can provide support and guidance. 

By actively seeking learning opportunities and embracing change, they can accelerate their development.

3. Lack of Resources for Skill Development 

In some cases, access to formal training programs or resources may be limited due to budget constraints or other factors. 

To address this challenge, managers need to be resourceful and explore alternative learning opportunities. They should – 

  • Look for free or affordable online courses, webinars, or workshops that cater to their needs. 
  • Tap into their professional network for mentorship or skill-sharing opportunities. 

By leveraging their connections and seeking digital resources, they can continue their development journey without depending solely on formal training programs.

4. Lack of Clarity in Setting Goals

Setting meaningful and achievable goals is crucial for the success of your IDP. If managers find it challenging to define clear objectives, take a problem-solving approach.  They can – 

  • Break down their larger aspirations into smaller, actionable steps
  • Consult with their team or supervisor to align their goals with organizational objectives
  • Ask for feedback and guidance to refine their goals and ensure they are realistic and relevant to your career progression

By taking a proactive problem-solving approach and leveraging strategy execution software like Peoplebox, managers can overcome challenges in their IDP and create a roadmap for their success. Remember, a growth journey is unique, and with the right strategies and resources, managers can achieve their personal and professional aspirations.

Fuel Your Individual Development Plan Goals with Peoplebox

Building a strong and sustainable future requires investing in skill enhancement through IDPs. To make this process seamless, consider leveraging Peoplebox, the best strategy execution software designed solely for your managers. With its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features, your managers can:

  • Connect with their goals
  • Ask for feedback
  • Immerse themselves with the best OKR coaching
  • Seek employee reviews

This platform helps managers get the best of all the world making it the ideal solution for their IDP. They can gain valuable insights into their strengths and areas for development through talent assessment and strategize their goals accordingly.

So, leave behind all the fuss and upgrade your managers to full potential with a comprehensive and effective IDP. 

Take the first step towards success – get started with Peoplebox today!

What are good professional goals for a manager?

Good professional goals for a manager encompass a range of areas that contribute to their overall effectiveness and leadership. 

Some examples of these goals include enhancing communication and delegation skills to build a cohesive team, improving conflict resolution abilities to maintain a harmonious work environment, setting clear OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) to align team efforts with organizational objectives, and fostering a culture of continuous learning to stay updated with industry trends and best practices.

How do you write a personal development plan for a manager?

Writing a personal development plan for a manager involves a structured and goal-oriented approach. 

Firstly, conduct a comprehensive self-assessment to identify strengths and areas for development. 

Then, set specific and measurable goals based on these findings. For example, a goal could be to improve coaching and mentoring skills to enhance employee performance. 

Next, outline actionable steps and a timeline to achieve these goals. Regularly review and update the plan based on progress and changing priorities.

What is an example of a SMART goal for a manager?

A SMART goal for a manager could be to “Increase team productivity by 15% within six months.” 

This goal is Specific (increasing team productivity), Measurable (15% improvement), Achievable (based on the manager’s capabilities and available resources), Relevant (contributes to the team’s success), and Time-bound (within six months).

How can managers build effective cross-functional collaboration?

Managers can build effective cross-functional collaboration by promoting open communication and fostering a culture of trust and mutual respect. Encouraging regular team meetings and cross-departmental interactions can facilitate knowledge-sharing and problem-solving. 

Additionally, setting common goals and recognizing team achievements collectively can strengthen collaboration among different teams.

What strategies can managers use to handle employee burnout?

To address employee burnout, managers can implement various strategies, such as promoting work-life balance by encouraging time off and flexible working arrangements. Providing recognition and appreciation for employees’ efforts can boost morale. 

Additionally, offering opportunities for skill development and career growth can re-energize employees and reduce burnout risks.

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You may also like to read:

Leadership smart goals examples: unlock your potential.

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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:

  • Short and long-term career goals the employee wants to achieve.
  • Current skills the employee wants to improve, or new ones to learn.
  • Skills the manager wants the employee to further develop.
  • Specific action steps to achieve the goals (e.g. taking a course, attending a workshop, finding a mentor, etc).

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

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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/training examples

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.

venngage editor

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.

venngage editor

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?

venngage editor

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:

  • Related to the employee’s career path.
  • Achievable in the specified timeframe. (You can list out big goals but ensure the action steps to start with are reasonable to accomplish, or at least start, within the next year.)
  • Collaboratively planned between manager and employee, with both having input.

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:

  • Taking a leadership course or program from a nearby or online business school.
  • Leading a big project, including supervising their peers and providing feedback.
  • Finding a leadership mentor within the company and regularly checking in with them.

How can I support my employee’s IDP goals?

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

  • Offer time to try new roles and responsibilities to learn new skills.
  • Reimburse or partially cover courses, seminars, and other educational tools.
  • Encourage your employee to start a side hustle or passion project to learn from.
  • Offer professional development days, separate from vacation time.
  • Create a mentorship program to connect junior and senior staff.

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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Nurture your future leaders: 7 individual development plan examples for leadership.

Nurturing future leaders is a must-do for your organization. Get 7 individual development plan examples for leadership to help you nurture your organization's f

Leadership development is an organizational imperative.

It is the lifeline that ensures a pipeline of capable leaders ready to steer the organizational ship. 

But leadership isn't an overnight metamorphosis. It's a gradual transformation facilitated by strategic individual development plans.

The answer lies in well-structured individual development plans.

This article will: 

  • Share s even compelling examples of individual development plans specifically tailored for leadership. 
  • Scrutinize each example , highlighting the key components that can guide aspiring leaders on their development journey.
  • Offer concrete suggestions for making each example even better . 

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of GE.

leadership development plan template download

💼 What is an individual development plan for managers ?

7 Development Plan Examples For Leadership

An individual development plan for managers is a structured framework that outlines specific goals, actions, and strategies to support their professional growth.  

It is a personalized roadmap that helps managers identify their strengths, areas for improvement, and developmental needs . 

The plan typically includes a set of objectives and action steps to enhance their leadership skills , knowledge, and managerial capabilities.

Individual development plan templates can: 

  • Help managers assess their current skills.
  • Create a direction for their professional development goals .
  • Measure the progress toward their development goals.
  • Hone their strengths.
  • Address their weaknesses.

🪞 Self-reflection + SMART goals development plan (Puna)

Self refelcetion example PUNA

The leadership development plan example from Puna , a leadership resource aggregator, uses a 3-step process:

  • Starting with a self-reflection exercise.
  • Seeking input and suggestions from colleagues.
  • Discussing the next steps for the development plan with HR or another manager.

What it does well 

  • Self-reflection is a great way to assess one's strengths to become an effective leader. Use this tool to see how a leader's strengths align with their colleagues' perceptions. (Our favorite question they included: E.g., What strengths do you want people to see in you/ what do you want to be known for ? )
  • Incorporates the leader's self-reflection , their peer's feedforward input , and the manager's to shape the focus of the development plan. 
  • Uses SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely) goals. 
  • Structured around a leadership competency model that includes behavioral descriptions for each key leadership element (competency) . 

Leadership competency model template

What could be improved

  • Doesn't include a section to document the input from the manager. 
  • Doesn't track progress based on the goals set.
  • Doesn't include a follow-up timeline. 
  • Unclear if this is a yearly plan or if it covers a more narrow period. 

The biggest advantage of this leadership development plan example is it uses the SMART approach, which helps leaders create actionable steps and deadlines to achieve their career goals. 

🌱 Check out 15 SMART leadership goals examples to inspire and motivate growth. 

How to make it better

  • Set frequent follow-ups to ensure the manager stays on track, offer feedback, and provide additional support.
  • Clearly define the time frame for the development activities. 

🔁 Leadership plan example including previous development evaluations + 360 feedback (Leads 360)

Leadership plan  example Leads360

If this is not your leader's first development plan, starting with an evaluation of previous plans is a great way to get started. 

This example from Leads 360 asks leaders to identify what worked well and not to help them craft new development opportunities for leaders to reach their long-term goals.

Then, it uses the insights from 360 feedback to shape the leader's development planning direction. 

What it does well

  • Evaluates previous development plans. 
  • Provides an overview of key strengths and their relevance for the organization. 
  • Includes examples to help leaders formulate their goals. 
  • Splits development planning into short, medium, and long terms actions (in two weeks, three months, and one year).
  • Acknowledges that growth is a shared process and includes a section explaining who will help the leader grow ( Which people are key to helping you successfully develop this capability? ).
  • Has an accountability agreement to track progress.
  • No structured 1:1s with a sponsor (accountability partner) to keep track of progress.
  • No competency expectations to better frame the strengths and areas for growth. 

While this example digs deep into the specifics to help uncover managers' strengths and opportunities for growth, there are additional elements that can further enhance it.

  • Integrate leadership assessments with the individual development plan to further evaluate your leadership capacity. 
  • Create a structured and regular check-in schedule to measure the progress of each goal.
  • Provide personalized training recommendations to help address areas of improvement indicated in the development plan.

One on One meeting software Zavvy

📝 Basic leadership development plan example (Hamilton County School District)

Basic Leadership development plan example Hamilton County

Following a basic template can be a great headstart for your IDP. This example from the Hamilton County School District follows a very straightforward structure. 

Note: Teachers are the users of this plan example, and, as a result, its final goal is enhancing student performance. However, you can correlate this to managers striving to improve team performance . 

  • Clearly state the final goal: increase performance.
  • Uses the smart goals SMART framework to clarify the specifics of the plan.
  • Includes an evaluation section for reporting the impact of professional learning on student (employee) performance. 
  • Encourages the beneficiary leader to share their newly acquired knowledge. 
  • There is no accountability partner or manager to check up on the progress.
  • Focuses on only one goal. 
  • Lacks structure in learning objectives.
  • Schedule 1:1s with colleagues to take accountability for goals set. 
  • Increase critical areas to focus on improvement and opportunities for development .

🔮 Long-term leadership development plan template (Cleveland Clinic)

Long-term leadership-example-Cleveland-Clinic

A long-term leadership development plan is a powerful tool to shape employees' growth as leaders. 

This 3-year leadership development plan from Cleveland Clinic is a great example.

An excellent way to create long-term goals is to let them envision their selves as leaders years from now. This can help them work backward and set milestones to help them achieve that goal in the future.

From there, they can identify whether they want to improve their soft and management skills to be the leader they want to be. 

  • Kicks off with a "Leadership Challenge Assessment" consisting of 25 statements leaders have to rate themselves using a 5 scale rating. Here are some of them:  I try to form partnerships and collaborative relationships in my work setting; I encourage others when they are down or self-doubting . I listen closely to all points of view before making decisions . These correspond to a  
  • Creates long-term goals for leadership development.
  • It contains several sections that assess employees' capacity as a leader and recognize blind spots from previous experience to help address them: Envision yourself as an exemplary leader. Some examples are: Accelerate your learning by envisioning the future, Search for leadership opportunities and early wins. 
  • Adds the opportunity to schedule mentoring program with a manager/coach.
🤝 Here's a guide to help managers become effective coaches during their mentoring programs. 
  • No framework to align the leader's aspirations with company objectives or values. 
  • No input from direct reports, peers, or superiors.
  • No deadlines throughout the 3 years for the actionable steps necessary to meet development goals.
  • Implement a structured 360° feedback system to help identify blind spots from previous leadership performance reviews.
  • Create growth plans with clear milestones, whether weekly, monthly, or yearly, depending on the specific goals identified. 

🎯 "One big thing" goal + "One big liability" leadership development plan (Leadership Circle) 

leadership development plan Leadership Circle

Managers need to be intentional about their purpose when starting an individual development plan and see where they want to go as leaders. This can help them establish realistic, practical, yet challenging goals that can shape their capacity as a manager and a better leader in the future. 

Here's a great example of a template that sets a "One Big Thing" goal from Leadership Circle .

  • Includes a section for defining the vision, with examples and guidelines. 
  • Links out to 186 goal statements to inspire leaders. 
  • Includes a start-stop approach to behavioral change through personal development. 
  • Tracking progress from multiple colleagues for accountability by identifying an "Accountability circle." 
  • Suggests 3-9 months for the development plan.
  • Zooms in on the impact of the leader's development: impact on business results, own leadership, personal life, etc. 

One of the strengths of this example is it paints a big picture of employees' leadership goals while recognizing barriers they need to address that may hinder their progress. 

  • No structured feedback from peers to gather clear insights.
  • There is no concrete timeline for achieving subgoals or completing action items. 
  • Implement a structured 360° feedback system to manage constructive feedback from peers and collect them at a definite time.
  • Once the leaders define the key approaches to their development, include a section for determining a more concrete timeline for the actions that would enable their growth. 

🗺️ Development goals for leadership roadmap example (Department of Commerce)

Development goal xample-DOC

Development goal xample-DOC

The Department of Commerce's Individual Development Plan (IDP) recognizes the power of straightforward goals to empower leaders to chart their path to success and cultivate their leadership capabilities. 

This example uses a roadmap framework, guiding aspiring and current leaders, encompassing short-term and long-term training and development activities. 

  • Has a straightforward approach to goal-setting. For each development goal, the leader would define developmental activities (e.g., assignments, learning resources, etc.). Plus, there is a section for the expected completion date and for reporting progress, encouraging accountability. 
  • Uses the SMART approach to frame development goals.

This plan takes a direct and uncomplicated approach, addressing competencies, tracking progress, and setting realistic timelines for each development activity, all aligned with their overall goal.

  • It doesn't fully assess the current skills and knowledge of the individual.
  • There is no link to expectations in terms of competencies and behaviors. 
  • Establish a leadership competency model considering the leader's current and desired skillset and knowledge.
  • To properly track progress, set regular check-ins with the supervisor to ensure growth is on track and provide additional support whenever necessary.

🌟 Vision and values-driven leadership development plan example (The Bush School)

Vision and values example Statement

When crafting an individual development plan, envisioning the type of leader you aspire to be sets you on the right path. Having a personal vision statement challenges you to think about where your life is headed, your purpose, and what matters most. 

This example from the Bush School requires aspiring leaders to draw on their vision and see if their core values match the goals they set for themselves. It also provides an attribute analysis in which leaders can assess their strengths, self, and social awareness to manage their team effectively.

  • Dives deeper into the person's strengths, weaknesses, and core values.
  • Identifies the skills and knowledge to serve as the basis for leadership development goals. 
  • Uses the Stretch and SMART goals frameworks. These allow leaders to challenge their capabilities toward reaching their vision statement while keeping realistic and practical goals in mind.
  • Includes a structured approach to development. Each development goal has a section for action items, one for resources that would assist the leader in accomplishing the goal, and the expected timeline for achieving the goal. 
  • Focuses too much on self-evaluation, which can be one-sided. 
  • The skills matrix at the end might be confusing to the users. 
  • Leaders should have another manager on board in the action plan to keep track of the progress on the goals and objectives they set for themselves.
  • Include others' feedback to provide a more well-rounded picture of areas of improvement. 

Depending on the managers' career aspirations and the leadership culture they want to foster, you can always draw inspiration from plans that work well to build great leaders.

💼 Are you in need of a ready-to-use template? Our leadership development plan template includes a comprehensive structure and a few examples to guide your leaders. 
🌱 Also, check out these 10 employee development plan examples that can bring out the best in your employees!

➡️ Grow your leaders and your teams with Zavvy

At Zavvy, we believe in nurturing leaders who inspire, motivate, and bring out the best in their teams . We are committed to providing companies with the easiest and most convenient solutions to foster exceptional leadership.

Say goodbye to countless hours on administrative tasks. Experience a streamlined, efficient, and hassle-free approach to developing your employees with Zavvy.

Zavvy can help leaders in the making by: 

  • Providing individually crafted development plans and career pathing frameworks powered by AI .
  • Creating competency-based, 360 feedback reviews to understand everyone's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Scheduling structured, regular check-ins to track progress and ensure accountability.
  • Offering access to thousands of learning resources that can easily be added to development plans.

Zavvy's development software lets you transform managers into coaches, turn employees into potential leaders, and boost company performance with team efficiency and productivity. 

📅 Book a free demo now to see the power of Zavvy. 

What is an individual development plan for leaders? 

An individual development plan, or IDP, is a written plan that guides future leaders to understand their strengths and weaknesses and identify development opportunities. This plan should contain clear, actionable steps to help hone invaluable leadership skills. 

Why is it important to create an individual development plan?

Creating an individual development plan for leaders can benefit the company and the managers. Strong leaders can help steer a clear path for a complex business environment and solve problems effectively, propelling their career trajectory and the organization's overall growth.

What should be included in a leadership development plan?

Your individual development plan should depend on your long-term goals, leadership role in the company, core competencies, feedback from co-managers or employees, and the internal and external training resources available. We suggest you use Zavvy's career pathing framework to help you recognize individual competencies and use it as a reference to craft a development plan template for you. 

Do we have to use AI when using Zavvy's development plans? 

Not necessarily. You can customize your plans using AI-generated tools from Zavvy or do it manually. With the help of AI, you can save time and efficiently work on development plans with personalized recommendations based on the insights gathered by the system.

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Lorelei is Zavvy's Content Marketing Manager. She is always on the hunt for the latest HR trends, fresh statistics, and academic and real-life best practices to spread the word about creating better employee experiences.

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Your guide to individual development plans (with examples)

person-reading-a-book-individual-development-plan (1)

Understand Yourself Better:

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Find my Coach

It’s often said that any organization’s most valuable asset is its people. If you prioritize retention (a top area of focus in today’s labor market ), it’s not enough to focus on just getting people in the door. Researchers are consistently finding that a strong career development program is one of the top benefits employees are looking for . If you’re looking for a meaningful way to begin emphasizing employee growth, individual development plans (or IDPs) are a strong place to start.

IDPs were traditionally used to coach poor performance, but they’re becoming increasingly more common in the workplace. It’s a good idea to offer them to everyone at your company. You can integrate IDPs into your performance review process or one-on-ones . 

What is an individual development plan?

Giving your employees feedback is a multi-part process — but not everyone follows through on all the stages. First, the area for growth needs to be identified. Secondly, it has to be brought to the employee’s attention. Then the need for change should be made clear, along with the benefits of it. An action plan should come next, followed by consistent review and adjustment.

An individual development plan, or IDP, outlines an employee’s development needs and career goals. While typically used to coach underperforming employees, IDPs are excellent tools for career planning and tracking skill development.

An IDP measures an employee’s current job performance against the expectations of their role. It highlights their current skills, as well as development opportunities. If they’re interested in moving (either up or sideways) into a new position, an IDP can help them chart the core competencies needed to get there.

training-employee-at-computer-individual-development-plan (1)

How do individual development plans support employee growth?

In many ways, IDPs take the best parts of a performance review and a career conversation and put them into one action plan. 

Giving feedback has many benefits — among them increased productivity, engagement, and job satisfaction. But a key part of making the most of feedback is having a plan in place to implement it and follow up. IDPs aren’t meant to be punitive, and companies that only use them in that way are missing out on huge growth opportunities.

A thoughtful IDP can:

  • Support professional development
  • Increase productivity 
  • Lay a clear path toward long-term goals
  • Build trust between managers and employees
  • Improve retention

What goes into an individual development plan?

At a minimum, IDPs should be a list of personal and professional development goals. However, if you’re creating an IDP template (for yourself or your organization) it’s a good idea to include the following components:

  • Key milestones to date
  • Any area for development
  • Self-assessment
  • New skills to focus on

two-people-working-together-at-desk-individual-development-plan (1)

Steps to write an individual development plan

Your organization should have a formalized individual development plan template in place. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to create one to standardize the growth and feedback process. Because people tend to associate feedback with deficiency, singling out a person or team to complete one can feel like implicit criticism.

A good practice is to follow every performance review by revisiting the IDP. While you don’t have to spend the bulk of your time going over every line, it should serve as a place to record areas for improvement and short-term goals. Here are 3 steps to take for every performance development plan should have:

1. Note the date and review period

This may seem simple, but SMART goals are highly dependent on the time frame available. Make a note of the date that you’re implementing the plan and set a time to revisit it. What kind of growth do you expect to see within the next week? Month? Quarter? Year? If the time frame is longer than a month, set interim action steps to keep you on track.

2. Current expectations and performance

In order to get someone on track for their professional goals, you need to have an understanding of where they currently are. While this isn’t a full performance review , you should make a high-level note of the expectations for their role and how they currently measure against them. This is true even if they’re exceeding expectations. Remember, an individual development plan tracks action steps needed to go to the next level. And even if you’re doing well, there’s always a next level to go to.

3. Set goals 

Together, the employee and manager should brainstorm goals for the next period (likely a month or quarter). These should be SMART goals: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely. You might include a certain number of finished tasks, projects, presentations, or sales calls. You may also want to focus on results, like increasing sales by a given percentage.

There are an endless number of goals that could go in this blank, but the important thing is that they address the specific area of improvement. To be effective, goals need to be anchored in feedback at one end and an objective at the other. Put another way, if you don’t know where point A and point B are, you have no idea if you’re on the right road.

Individual Development Plan for [Employee Name Here]

Date: October 2022

Growth Period: Q4 (October 2022 - December 2022)

Current performance:

[Employee] is an associate account manager with the goal of soon becoming an account executive. They are performing well in their role, with ratings of ‘meets expectations’ in the last three performance reviews. [Employee] has exceeded revenue goals this quarter. However, the employee’s customer response rate is below average.

In order to become an account executive, [Employee] needs to gain more experience with identifying new business opportunities. Here are the steps we will take over the next quarter:

  • Increase revenue goal by 5%
  • Increase customer response rate to 100%
  • Assign and meet with a mentor on the account executive team
  • Enroll in and complete sales coaching program
  • Identify one potential business opportunity and create a plan for approaching them

social-coach-your-team-individual-development-plan (1)

Measuring the success of an individual development plan

When the goals are clear, it should be easy to review the success of an IDP. That’s why it’s critical to start with measurable objectives and expectations. Both managers and employees should work together to create the IDP. This kind of buy-in at the start reinforces it as a developmental (rather than a punitive) process. 

The IDP process is an important tool for performance management , but it’s an equally valuable part of leadership development . These types of initiatives help employees feel valued and supported in their growth. Ultimately, it’s an investment in building the individuals who can move the organization forward.

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Allaya Cooks-Campbell

BetterUp Associate Learning Experience Designer

8 examples for setting professional development goals at work

I stopped having dead people's goals, how to cultivate optimism in others, the unspoken language of business casual clothing, how to be more persuasive: 6 tips for convincing others, discover how professional coaching can boost your career growth, is personal time off paid how to navigate employer pto plans, eq versus iq: which should you leverage when, be cool: how to manage your emotions and avoid rage quitting, similar articles, how a performance review template improves the feedback process, 6 employee coaching examples to empower agile teams, your complete guide to self-assessments (with examples), write a performance improvement plan (pip) that really works, increase your employee retention rate (and prevent turnover), how the best managers follow-up after 360-degree reviews, part-time vs. full-time: which has better benefits, the only guide you'll need to create effective cascading goals, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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