Incorporating Individual Development Plans in Performance Management

Performance Management is a systematic approach to improving productivity in the workplace based on observable and measurable results. For example, in a manufacturing facility results would be based upon the amount of production of a particular product with a certain level of quality in a specified period of time.

In the career education setting, positive student outcomes are ultimately the results we are looking for. Retention, completion and placement rates are organizational performance indicators that all career colleges must continuously measure and improve.

To achieve our desired business results, we must maintain and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our people and processes. Simply put, we have to apply the Performance Management approach at the individual employee level to enable us to achieve our ultimate organizational goals and objectives.

For the individual employee, Performance Management provides a framework for establishing clear expectations, fixing targets and assessing results, creating a basis for recognition of achievements, and identifying ways to help the employee sustain and improve organizational capability. A Performance Management system is not complete without an Individual Development Plan.

An effective Individual Development Plan goes beyond the listing of training courses completed and affiliations maintained. A development plan should clearly link training and professional activities to individual and organizational performance goals. Performance Management and Individual Development Plans are ongoing and correlated processes.

Successful marriage of Performance Management and Individual Development Plans requires an active partnership and continuous communication between employees, coaches and managers. Employees are the primary stakeholders in this partnership. To ensure their buy-in and future success, let them take ownership in planning, creating and implementing their own individual development plans. Your role is to provide them with a consistent format and assist them with the process. Remember that employees have to see how the various components of their development plan will help them improve their performance.  If they don’t, they will be reluctant to invest in the plan and will not put forth the effort to accomplish the plan’s goals and objectives.

Amir Moghadam, Ph.D.

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