Professional Development Plans

Improving employee engagement and success starts with a professional development plan. It allows workers to map out goals and the path that will take them to those goals.


To help employees visualize and consider a path to reach personal career successes and goals.

What are Professional Development Plans?

A professional development plan is used to document career goals and set out a strategy on how to meet them. Creating a plan takes time and planning. Writing and implementing a plan can help employees to identify and develop the professional skills needed to reach goals, and can keep on the track to success. It’s an important process that helps your workforce achieve its potential.

How do Professional Development Plans improve employee engagement and culture?

Disengaged employees generally question their value and career paths at their workplaces. Creating a professional development plan allow workers to engage with managers and others to forge a path that re-engages them into their work. The plan can change (and should change) over time but gives workers goals to strive for and greater engagement with their jobs, workplaces and co-workers. While employers might require or encourage the creation of a professional development plan as part of performance review processes, the plan is the responsibility of the employee – also a way to engage them at work.

What are the benefits?

  1. Employees get a voice

  2. It increases employee buy-in and engagement

  3. Employees often move beyond work goals

  4. Increase employee motivation

  5. Fosters a culture of support, that invests in employee development

How do you implement Professional Development Plans in the workplace?

Professional development plans can start from the bottom-up or top-down. If employees are not coming to you to discuss plans, encourage managers to work with employees and create formal plans. Don’t except or encourage plans to be hammered out in a day or a week. It may take time and thought by the employee with constant changes and open discussion.


Implement Professional Development Plans

  1. Talk to employees: Don’t assume you know your employees’ skill level and career aspirations. Talk with each of your team members to get a better understanding of what their career goals are. You should also ask your employees to assess their own work and discuss any challenges they’re having in their current position.

  2. Recognize potential vs. readiness: As you assess your staff, it’s important to remember that there’s a difference between potential and readiness. For example, some people may have the potential to become a manager, but isn’t yet ready to move into that role. It’s important to be realistic with employees about their plans.

  3. Create a plan for before, during and after: Plans are never static. Keep working with employees to develop plans throughout their career and if their roles change at their current workplace. New plans can keep employees motivated and appropriately engaged as jobs change.

Reference Material

Writing A Professional Development Plan – Example & Template

Using Career Development to Increase Employee Engagement

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