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Essay Example: Individual Development Plans

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Wesleyan University
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Individual Development Plan is a tool for organizing your personal and career progression and advancement. IDPs will help you as an individual to pursue and achieve short and long-term goals. The following presentation explains how to create, evaluate and the importance of IDPs.

How to Create and Develop Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

When creating and developing IDPs, the first step involves knowing yourself as an individual, exploring and thinking about your short and long-term career goals. Also, how you would like to upgrade your qualifications. For instance, if you are pursuing a Degree in Marketing, think about how you will climb the career path from a sales representative to a marketing director in a company. Know where you want to be in in one year, two years or even ten years in your career. Second, it is important for you to know your work and the organization you are working for. Once you understand the culture of the organization, IDPs become more actual and realistic. Some organizations offer scholarships for employees to advance academically in specific areas. Understanding this will help you know how to incorporate your career aspirations to match what the team you work for wants. For example, if you are working in an organization that has capacity only to have two or three senior positions in the executive, as an employee, think about how you will formulate your IDPs beyond that organization for advancements up the ladder (Cummings & Worley 2014).

Third, Make IDPs add value what you do in an office. Do training in areas that have staff shortages in your organization and fill the gap immediately. For instance if you are an accountant and your organization has shortage in Auditing, train in that field and fill the gap as the two are in the same line. This should be included in your IDPs. Fifth, build on your plan. Once you are sure of what you want to achieve in the organization, make sure you constantly and continuously share with the Human Resource Department and the entire management at large. Once your seniors and the management is aware of your ambitions, they will help you to incorporate them into your IDP.

Sixth, engage in free training that adds value to your career. There are many training activities available online which you can apply, train and add value to what you currently possess. These training will be an easy sell to your manager or supervisor. Seventh, have a mentor/sponsor. This one can be achieved by reaching out to people or someone who inspires your career and progression. Ensure that you invest in the best individuals and programs that add value in your career and incorporate that in your IDPs. Sponsors act as advisors especially when they find a job that suits you in a better way than you are at the moment. Lastly, ensure that you strictly follow the plan that you have formulated and ensure that you regularly update your plan (Leigh & Blakely 2016).

How to Evaluate IDPs

Evaluation involves you as the person checking on the progress you have made in implementing your IDPs. It is advisable to hold constant meetings with your supervisors and mentors to check on progress. Frequent meetings maybe quarterly are recommended. Evaluation involves getting your IDP, checking to what level the goals have been met starting with the short-term goals and finally making amendments in the IDP to include the current achievements. For instance, if you are a degree holder in Accounting, and one of your short-term goals was to have enrolled for Masters, after one year, check how far this has been done. If you have enrolled, indicate this in the IDP. After completing your Masters, again update the new qualification and include more goals.

Importance of Individual Development Plans (IDPs)

First, Individual development Plans increases ones knowledge and skills. If you regularly engage in learning activities, you will not only add value to yourself but also to the organization you serve. For instance when an individual upgrade from a Diploma to a Degree, it translates to more skills for the employee and the Organization. Second, IDPs will enable you to be smart and add value in whatever you are doing in your current job placement (ONeill et al. 2015).

Third, IDPs will help you to achieve your career aspirations as laid down in the plan. Fourth, IDPs help employees to strengthen team spirit in groups as each employee comes to the group with different skills and talents. Another importance of IDPs is that all gaps that exist in the organization. Individual skill gaps are also addressed and filled in the IDP. Last, once the skill gap is filled, the overall performance of the employee and the organization improve tremendously (Noe et al. 2014).


Cummings, T. G., & Worley, C. G. (2014). Organization development and change. Cengage learning.

Noe, R. A., Wilk, S. L., Mullen, E. J., & Wanek, J. E. (2014). Employee Development: Issues in Construct Definition and Investigation ofAntecedents. Improving Training Effectiveness in WorkOrganizations, ed. JK Ford, SWJ Kozlowski, K. Kraiger, E. Salas, and MS Teachout (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1997), 153-189.

O'Neill, R. E., Albin, R. W., Storey, K., Horner, R. H., & Sprague, J. R. (2015). Functional assessment and program development. Nelson Education.

Leigh, N. G., & Blakely, E. J. (2016). Planning local economic development: Theory and practice. Sage Publications.

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