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The Individual Development Plan

The Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a written schedule or plan designed to meet each individual employee's particular developmental goals.

It is a method of systematically planning for training and experience to develop needed skills, knowledge and abilities.

It states the skill, knowledge and abilities needed to improve current performance (these, of course, may also have the side-effect of contributing to an individual better prepared to be competitive for positions of greater responsibility).

It also states the projection of an individual's career goal. This projection includes the qualifications required for the desired position, as well as the methods and schedule necessary to obtain those specific qualifications.

The IDP is to be used primarily as a training and development needs statement.

The IDP is not:

  • A contract between an employee and a supervisor
  • A performance appraisal rating process
  • A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
  • A guarantee of advancement or promotion

 

Why have an IDP?

  1. The purpose of the Individual Development Plan is to provide a systematic approach to the development of employees. It provides:
    • a logical and structured framework for assessing the needs of both the individual and the organization;
    • a way of organizing learning experiences so that they will be progressive and developmental rather than haphazard and wasteful of both time and money;
    • a plan of action and a means for evaluating accomplishments of the plan.

  2. IDPs help promote employee-supervisor communications through a joint needs assessment process and feedback on performance.

  3. IDPs help provide advance planning and scheduling to insure staff coverage.

  4. They help to develop competent staff to provide effective organizational performance. One of the required critical job elements for all supervisory positions is the responsibility to plan, support and monitor effectively subordinates' work performance and development.

  5. They identify common needs in training among organizational work groups.

  6. In aggregate, IDPs help bureaus in projecting training costs and preparing annual training plans.


 

Who needs an IDP?

There are no hard and fast rules on "Who needs an IDP?" - in fact, formally, it depends on a particular bureau's decision (some bureaus in the Department of State require them, some do not).

 
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