7 Tips for Creating an Individual Development Plan

Today’s guest blog is written by Jayme Miller, a Human Resources Generalist at Promega, who has some tips for creating an IDP that will help you achieve your goals. Individual Development Plans (IDPs) are common career development tools used in industry, and there has been a push for PhD programs to incorporate career development tools such as IDPs. By creating an IDP, employees and students both have a formal way to communicate their career goals and help them stay on track.

There is one question I am frequently asked by candidates during the interview process—“Is employee development a focus at this organization?” Employees frequently tell me they are looking for employers and opportunities where they will have the ability to learn, grow and develop. While that all sounds great, it is important to have an upfront and transparent discussion about roles, responsibilities and expectations when it comes to employee development.

Many organizations indicate that they have an employee development “program” at their organization, but when they begin talking about their program, they describe their performance management process. Often, they will describe how employees are evaluated and provided feedback from their manager. Feedback is a key component for employee development, but it is up to the employee to use that feedback to create action items that will give them the opportunity to learn and grow.  

Often employees believe that employee development is something provided by companies to employees, that it is something that employers make happen for employees. Good organizations will offer continuous learning opportunities and a feedback culture that allows employees to learn and grow. However, no employee development program will work for an employee who is not fully engaged in their own development and does not take ownership over the process. It is ultimately the employee’s responsibility to ensure they are actively taking the steps to develop within their role and within their organization.  

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14 Things to Give Your Career a Boost in 2014

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Want to continue improving your performance at work? Want to make your boss and co-workers truly appreciate you?  Lucky for you, tis the season for resolutions and I have some ideas for you.  Check out the list below for some easy ideas that can make you and your boss happier in 2014. Do you have more ideas about how to rev your career engine? Share them with us in the comments!

  1. Ask for feedback often. And not just during the company’s formal review period.
  2. Actively build your network on LinkedIn.
  3. Bring a positive attitude to work.
  4. Build a cross-functional network of people within your organization who can help you get things done.
  5. Find and follow some good blogs related to your field. By reading this blog you already have a head-start. Good for you!
  6. Update your resume, even if you aren’t looking. It’s good to have a running list of your accomplishments.
  7. Tell your manager about your career goals.
  8. Be punctual. It’s a small thing, but arriving on time for work and meetings shows respect.
  9. Identify and take on a project to improve your team.
  10. Make friends. People are happier and better employees when they have friends at work.
  11. Organize your life. Check out Getting Things Done by David Allen, and then actually implement the solutions.
  12. Learn to be a cheerleader for your co-workers. This will help create a supportive community.
  13. Take a vacation. You’ll be happier and more productive when you return.
  14. Update your facebook account so it is private to anyone except for your friends (your potential future boss does not need to see your selfies).