How to Develop a Performance Development Plan That Actually Works

The aim of an effective performance development plan (PDP) is to improve the performance of an employee. The program entails identifying areas where employees are struggling and allowing each individual to grow. The outcomes of a PDP may include recognition of skills in workers and filling an existing training gap. The plan can also give insight into whether to promote, demote, transfer or terminate some employees.

For a performance development plan to work, there needs to be a clear outline of how to implement it. Below are some key considerations that should help you develop a PDP that will work for your firm.

Examine the Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Before embarking on the creation of a performance development plan, you should examine the firm's short-term and long-term business goals. That's because the outcome and actions taken after the training and development should align with these goals. For example, will your company be incorporating new accounting software in the future? 

If your current accountant isn't versed with the new software, you will tailor the plan to include relevant training to equip the accountant with the necessary skills. Similarly, if your business is experiencing a growth spurt, you may need more leaders within the departments. If there are workers who exhibit leadership skills, you can equip them. Come up with a development plan that meshes with your business goals.

Know Your Employees' Needs

Performance development plans are centred around employees; therefore, it makes sense to talk to them before creating a program. Maybe some workers are already looking for avenues to work on their deficiencies. Perhaps some don't see a future in your organisation. Others may be thinking of switching roles and taking a new career path.

If you don't talk to your workers, you may end up preparing them for roles they aren't committed to. For example, channelling company resources to train a worker who wishes to exit will only be a waste of time. Talk to your workers and ask about their goals, short and long-term targets, career aspirations, and how the development plan fits into these goals.  

Assess With Suitability in Mind

As you develop a PDP and assess your employees, remember to evaluate their readiness for the plans you have for them. Development plans are mainly used to prepare employees who show potential for new positions in management. However, just because someone has the potential for a role doesn't mean they are suited for it.

For example, just because a worker excels in the IT department doesn't mean they are suitable for taking the IT manager position. If the person has family commitments that prevent them from travelling for meetings or overseeing satellite offices, they may not be suited for the role. To avoid frustrations down the road, assess the suitability of employees for different positions.

A performance development plan is only effective if it helps you identify and fix deficiencies in your workers, equip them for the right roles, and align with your overall company objectives. Have these things in mind when creating a plan and scheduling development training for your staff.