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Individual Professional Development Plan

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What is an Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)?

A professional development plan is an individualized document that is used to record an employee's current training needs or desires and short and long term career goals. It is a written plan for developing knowledge, skills, and competencies that support both the organization's objectives and the employee's needs and goals.

What is the purpose of an IPDP?

To improve performance in current work assignments, acquire or sharpen professional competencies and prepare the employee for positions of changing or greater responsibilities.

Who should have an IPDP?

All full-time employees are required to have an annual professional development plan. The IPDP is optional for non-permanent employees.

What are the benefits of an IPDP?

  • As a planning device, the IPDP helps supervisors and employees to be clear on individual goals and is the basis for input into the organization's training needs assessment and training plans.
  • For budget purposes, the IPDP is used as a tool to determine training needs and financial resource needs.
  • As a communication tool, supervisors and employees can discuss career goals and ways to maintain high levels of productivity.

What is the supervisor's role in the IPDP process?

  • Provide information to employees needed to plan realistically and to guide them in identifying knowledge, skills, and competencies that will help them perform in their current job and /or upcoming performance cycle while helping the organization meet its goals.
  • Help employees:
    1. Understand the IPDP process and its purposes
    2. Identify their strengths and weaknesses in performing their current work assignments
    3. Identify opportunities for capitalizing on talent and development of new skills
    4. Identify areas where they could take greater responsibility.
    5. Find possibilities for career progress in their current jobs and work organization
    6. Obtain access to learning resources
    7. Follow IPDP procedures and instructions
    8. Identify non-traditional learning opportunities such as coaching, mentoring, self-directed studies and shadowing.

What can the supervisor expect from the employee?

  • Take responsibility for their learning and development
  • Participate actively in planning goals and how they will meet them
  • Set goals and objectives that will benefit the organizations as well as enhance their career
  • Research ways of meeting personal career goals and enhancing work performance
  • Provide input into the drafting of the IPDP
  • Evaluate own progress and keep supervisor informed
  • Identify opportunities for professional development

Type of professional development and training:

  • New employee orientation
  • Basic skills training
  • Continuing technical and professional education and training
  • Retraining for occupational changes
  • Supervisory, managerial and executive development

Short term: Accomplished in 1-2 years
Long-term: Accomplished in 3-5 years
Personal Goals: Skills, activities or experiences designed to improve your performance.
Professional Goals: Skills, activities or experiences designed to improve professional effectiveness.
Career Goals: Skills, activities or experiences designed to advance your employment within the university.

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Phase 1: Planning and Preparation
In this phase, preparation for a realistic and worthwhile IPDP begins. The performance appraisal can provide a good basis for planning development while starting a new performance cycle. Employee self-assessment is also a critical component of this phase.

The supervisor should:

  • Explain the IPDP process and the supervisor and employee role
  • Review and discuss the employee's strengths and weaknesses in performing the current work assignments
  • Identify specific gaps between current competencies and those required to perform in the current job/work assignments/performance plan. 1. Identify the activities that will address these gaps 2. Prioritize the activities
  • Provide information on options for learning, such as:
    1. Formal training
    2. On-the-job training or coaching by yourself or an expert worker
    3. Job enrichment-adding new work or increasing the employee's level of responsibility.
    4. Developmental assignments or details to other parts of the university
    5. Self-study, including reading
    6. Activities in professional associations or societies
  • If requested, provide information on career planning and counseling resources available for the employee to use.
  • Give the employee a copy of the IPDP and instructions for completing a draft plan
  • Help the employee set a deadline for completing the draft IPDP.

Phase 2: Drafting the IPDP
In this phase, the supervisor drafts the IPDP for competencies the employee needs to perform in their current job and/or the upcoming performance cycle. For developmental requirements, the supervisor is required to secure the necessary resources.

For career goals or personal goals, the employee drafts the IPDP with advice and guidance from the supervisor. It is expected that supervisors will assist the employee in coming up with innovative ways to obtain these competencies. Employees will:

  • Assess his/her existing competencies and interests
  • Identify KSAs or competencies he/she will plan to develop during the upcoming performance cycle
  • Research and identify learning experiences that address the KSAs or competencies
  • Draft an IPDP proposing and scheduling possible learning activities.

When the employee has completed the draft IPDP, the supervisor reviews it to make sure:

  • Learning activities are realistic, given your organization's needs, budget, and staffing.
  • Learning activities are the best possible options for learning what the employee needs
  • The employee has identified specific activities and schedules for each. Activities should allow the employee to continue to carry a fair share of the workload and perform it satisfactorily.
  • Learning activities identified in the IPDP are available or can be made available

Phase 3: Preparing the Final IPDP
In this phase, the supervisor and employee work together to finalize the IPDP.

  • Supervisor and employee meet to discuss the draft IPDP and reach agreement on employee needs, learning experiences and schedules.
  • The employee prepare the final IPDP
  • The supervisor approves the IPDP
  • Periodic meetings are held to check progress

Phase 4: Follow-up
Keep close track of planned activities when an employee is new to the organization or to the work and meet with the employee regularly to review the plan, progress, and identify changes.

Be alert for changes in work, resources, technology, or the work environment that make it necessary to adjust IPDPs.