Personal Development Plans (PDPs) have evolved as a particular approach to planning career and skill development activities for individuals within employing organisations. The concept of a PDP is the creation of a clear development action plan for an individual for which the individual takes primary responsibility. Line managers and the HR function often have a supporting role. Overview
Although the idea of Personal Development Planning is not new, there does seem to have been a rapid increase in the number of large organisations seeking to introduce some kind of PDP ‘scheme’. Organisations no longer feel they can take prime responsibility for the future careers and development of their employees, and the PDP approach clearly places the development ball in the employee’s court. It also fits comfortably with other business processes, which devolve responsibility and expect the commitment of individuals to positive change. Some key issues arising from the research concern:
scope and content of PDPs
the relationship between the focus of PDPs and their links with other processes implementation and support
ownership, control and confidentiality
Scope and content of PDPs
The majority of the case studies intended PDPs to be used by all staff, although some only covered managers or ‘white collar’ staff. This was often a function of the length of time the scheme had been in operation and the way in which PDPs were created. As some of these are expensive, for example development centres and development programmes, it is unlikely that any organisation could afford to use such methods for all staff. Appraisal was the most common means of creating PDPs in organisations that were using the initiative for all staff. The PDP forms used by the case study organisations varied in the amount of guidance they gave to users in terms of defining areas for development and development actions. Some forms specified the definition of development needs under each...
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