Companies are becoming increasingly aware of how important it is to invest in the training and development of their staff. Ensuring your employees have a personal development plan (aka a PDP) will ensure the continuous process of learning, shaping and improving skills, leading to a happier and more effective workforce.

Here are five of the most common mistakes made when creating a personal development plan.

1. The goal is unachievable or unrealistic

It’s great to dream big and let the imagination run riot, but when it comes to creating individual personal development plans, it is important to consider the practicalities of what a person is looking to achieve.

Let’s say an employee wants to pursue a qualification which will move them forward in their career path.  It’s important that that both parties consider factors such as financing the qualification and the time commitment required to complete it.  If neither party can afford to finance the qualification, or even share the cost, the qualification is not going to be achievable.  The same applies if an employer cannot afford to allow the employee to take off to study and the employee is unable to study in their own time due to family or other commitments.

2. Not turning mistakes into a positive

It’s a fact of life that everyone will make mistakes from time to time, however efficient they are at their job. The important thing is to consider how and why things went wrong, what lessons can be learnt from the mistakes and what you can do differently in the future.

Encourage your employees to do the same and create a culture where they feel they can come to you do discuss mistakes that have been made.  This is particularly important when they will require help to resolve an issue and time is of the essence.  A notable example of this is cyber security and an employee clicks in a phishing email.  To ensure any damage is minimised, it is essential that your IT department is notified immediately to minimise any damage or loss. However, if you have created a blame culture within your business you are less likely to be notified when there are issues and, as a result, it will be much costlier in the future.  If you feel your employees would benefit from training on cyber security and how to be more vigilant when opening emails and clicking on links that could result in attack, Delphinium Business Coaching we provide a range of cyber security training sessions.

In cases where something doesn’t go according to plan, look at what support you can provide to your employees and build it into their personal development plan. In the example or getting caught by a phishing email you could agree that you will arrange, and they will attend, some training on cyber security training to help them spot phishing emails in the future.

3. Not reviewing your progress

Anything in life which isn’t measured just won’t get done.  Achieving any goal or objective takes time and the best and only way to know what progress is being made (if any) is to measure it.

Create sub-goals (or milestones) to help you achieve your end goal.  This makes the overall objective much more achievable and allows you/your employee to celebrate every time a milestone is achieved as well as analysing what steps need to be taken to keep moving forward.

A personal development plan is not set in stone – amendments can be made if things don’t seem to be moving in the right direction.

However, none of the above can be done if you are not reviewing personal development plans regularly.  Set up regular reviews such as monthly or quarterly to review progression.

4. Trying to do much

Some people have a natural desire to exceed at work and sometime this can result in people being too optimistic when they are completing their personal development plan.  It’s easy to take on too many tasks and projects on at any one time.  This can often lead to people feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of what must be done and in the end, nothing is achieved.  And then when it comes to reviewing the personal development plan people become demotivated due to the lack of progress.

5. Lack of a realistic completion date

A good personal development plan will not only have milestones but a firm completion date for both the end goal and milestones.  Otherwise, it’s easy to start a project and not be motivated to move it forward to completion.  Having a deadline makes you focus on what needs to be done to cross the finish line.

Ensuring your employees have an effective personal development plan in place will show commitment and investment in them.  It is also important that yourself and your managers feel comfortable conducting personal development meetings and do so in a way that encourages and supports your employees.

To discuss how Delphinium Business Coaching can help you set up effective personal development plans for your employees contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

Gemma Rolstone

Gemma Rolstone

Helping good managers to become great leaders