Employers are increasingly aware of the importance of investing in their staff and often put structures in place to provide opportunities for the development of employees. Nonetheless, managers also need to take personal responsibility for renewing and updating their skills and knowledge throughout their working lives. Personal development is a lifelong process of nurturing, shaping and improving skills and knowledge to ensure maximum effectiveness and ongoing employability.
Personal development does not necessarily imply upward movement; rather, it is about enabling individuals to improve their performance and reach their full potential at each stage of their career. Adopting a constructive approach to personal development planning (PDP) will help individuals to: consider where they want to go and how they can get there
revitalise technical skills that date very quickly
build up transferable skills (such as self-awareness, ability to learn, adaptability to change, empathy and good time management)
monitor and evaluate achievements.
The process of PDP provides a schedule to work to and can lay the basis for: continuous learning
a sense of achievement
ensuring employability and survival in an age where very few jobs can be guaranteed to stay the same
making the most of opportunities which may arise.
Personal development planning is the process of:
establishing aims and objectives - what you want to achieve or where you want to go, in the short, medium or long-term in your career
assessing current realities
identifying needs for skills, knowledge or competence
selecting appropriate development activities to meet those perceived needs. Scheduling and timing are important but cannot be too regimented.
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PDP is usually understood as a cyclical process – there is no need to start at the beginning if you have already decided where you are going and what you need to do to get there. The following chart outlines the process:
The Personal Development Planning Cycle
Establish your purpose or direction
The purpose of any development activity needs to be identified. You may do this, either, by yourself or with the help of your manager, mentor, colleagues, or friends. This involves: gaining an awareness of your potential within your chosen field or sector gaining a measure of what you are good at and interested in
taking account of the organisational realities you encounter linking your plans to organisational needs as much as possible. Think about:
your own value system, involving private life and family, work and money, constraints and obstacles to mobility, now and in the future
the characteristics of the kind of work that fits with your value system. 2.
Identify development needs
The identification of development needs may emerge from intended or actual new tasks or responsibilities, from discussions with your manager or others, or from dissatisfaction with current routines. Some people know what they are good at, others may be less sure. Various instruments such as self-assessment tests, benchmarking exercises and personal diagnostics are available to help you assess your skills in a structured way.
Your development needs will depend largely upon your career goals. If you intend to re main in similar employment, you may need development to re-motivate or re-orient yourself, or to improve your current performance and effectiveness. Alternatively, development may be required to prepare you for promotion, your next job, a new career or self-employment.
Identify learning opportunities
As a result of one, or several, of the assessment processes above,...