One of the greatest challenges faced by small to medium-sized businesses is making the transition from “what made us successful” to “what will keep us successful.” Clearly understanding the difference between individual development planning and performance management is critical in moving an organization to the next level.
What is Individual Development Planning?
Also known as IDP, individual development planning is a process that allows an employee to own their career. Although the organization establishes an IDP process, it is up to employees to take advantage of, and own their own IDP. Research has shown that when employees are actively involved in and own their development process, they not only experience individual growth but also positively impact the organization.
A typical individual development planning process includes the following steps:
- A self-assessment. There is only one person who truly cares about your career, and that is you. You may have a great manager and work for a great company, but in the end, you have to control your own destiny. Understanding your talents and passions will help push you towards finding your career best. There are a variety of different assessments that can be used and a selection should be made with a clear understanding of your goals and objectives.
- Feedback surveys. Commonly known as 360 feedback surveys, this tool helps you gather feedback from your manager, peers, direct reports and/or others regarding your strengths and areas of development. This is a critical step in the development process as it helps us compare how we see ourselves to how others perceive our behaviors.
- Coaching/training. Receiving and interpreting feedback isn’t always easy. Utilizing a development coach to interpret and understand your feedback is a must. This person can also coach you in how to approach your manager regarding your development plans.
- Action planning. Once the employee assesses where they are at today and determines where they want to go, it is time to create a plan. This plan should include no more than three critical goals or action items that the employee wants to complete. The plan should also indicate what steps need to be taken to reach that goal, what resources are needed, and who is responsible.
- Manager and organizational support. An employee can do all of this work and still run into roadblocks without the support of their manager and organization. It is imperative that organizations understand the value that IDPs provide: aligning an employee’s talents and passions with the needs of the organization equals a career best for that employee. This results in an engaged employee for the organization. Win-win.
What is Performance Management?
Performance management is a process that is owned by the organization. It is an attempt at establishing systems that reward employees for achieving individual goals/objectives that align with the organization’s strategic goals/objectives.
Most companies do a mediocre job of performance management. This happens for a variety of reasons:
- Failure to create objective and quantifiable strategic goals and objectives.
- Inability to create individual and/or department goals/standards that align with the established strategic goals and objectives.
- Inability of organizational leaders/managers to hold others accountable for meeting those established goals/objectives.
- Establishing subjective or non-behavior-based measurement tools. Ex. “Comes to work with a positive attitude.”
Why Development is Better than Performance Management?
Most small and medium-sized businesses are still very much focused on critical issues like cash flow, customers, process improvement, and more. This is to be expected. Unfortunately, people processes are generally some of the last things that these organizations review and make a priority.
The good news is that implementing a development program is affordable and has huge pay-offs for a small to medium-sized business. Once the tools and resources are created for the individual development program, it is up to the employee to take advantage of it. Very quickly high performers will start to stand out as a result of an individual development planning process. When this happens, internal promotions will increase, productivity increases, and overall company leadership will also improve.
Want to learn more about how to implement a individual development planning process in your organization? The On Target Talent experts are happy to assist!