August 23, 2022
20 min read

The Ultimate Personal Development Plan Template That Will Get You Noticed

Employees look for training and personal development opportunities at their respective companies. The lack of these opportunities is one of the main reasons they decide to quit. HR professionals and team leaders can avoid this scenario by using a personal development plan template.

A proper template ensures you help individual employees work on their weaknesses and build up their strengths.

According to a survey, 94% of respondents said they would stay at the company longer if it invested in their careers. It’s obvious that professional and personal growth leads to higher retention.

On top of that, it also attracts new hires to your company. Almost 60% of millennials list development opportunities as a key factor in the decision to apply for a job.

As this is the case, it’s high time you work on your employees’ personal development.

Let’s take a closer look at a personal development plan and see why every company needs it.


  1. What is a personal development plan?
  2. How to use a personal development plan
  3. How to make a good personal development plan
  4. Personal Development Plan Template
  5. Conclusion: Personal Development Plan

What is a personal development plan?

A personal development plan (PDP) is an agreement between an employer and employee that outlines that team member’s objectives. It wants to empower employees to analyze their professional life and work on self-improvement.

An employee can easily achieve goals when they have a clear picture of their performance. They understand what it takes to reach a specific milestone because of their personal development plan.

HR professionals and managers usually help employees create a personal growth plan. However, team members don’t need to wait for their next performance review to learn new skills and identify areas that require improvement.

They can make a personal development plan themselves. An employee can establish short-term or long-term goals and set a realistic deadline to fulfill them.

Having a personal development plan template helps all parties. You can just fill in the required fields and create a clear plan for an individual’s development. Add an HR management tool to that equation and you’re set to take your workplace to the next level.

Related: Top 12 Performance Review Software [Our 2022 Review]

Remember that a PDP must be tailored-made for a specific employee. You can’t take someone else’s plan and expect it to work for them. Each person has different skills and experiences. The plan reflects that.

Why is it important?

Personal development is all about a process of self-improvement. The plan helps employees:

  • Outline specific goals and what they should do to achieve them
  • Identify the strengths that ensure they grow in their personal and professional life
  • Recognize what skills they need to overcome their existing weaknesses

It is essentially a roadmap that guides them through the process of achieving goals.

What kind of benefits can you expect from a personal development plan? Here are the improvements you will see with a good PDP in place:

  • Boosts employee motivation – a personal development plan makes employees aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They can use their strengths to work more productively and learn how to minimize their weaknesses. This boosts their motivation and encourages them to do more. 
  • Minimize staff turnover – it can cost more to find a new hire than it does to retain an existing employee. You should give your employees a personal development plan template to show them you’re committed to their improvement. They are more likely to stay at the company if they have a plan in place.
  • Advances existing skills – employees create a career plan when they focus on their development. They identify performance development areas so that they can grow in the workplace. While improving existing skills, they also acquire new ones to achieve career goals.
  • Improves goal-setting – a PDP outlines both long-term and short-term goals. Managers can teach employees how to break down those goals to make them more achievable.

Related: Performance Development That Fuels Team Efficiency

A PDP benefits both the company and the employee. Introducing personal development plan templates makes the process easier for managers and HR professionals.

Let’s see how you can use a PDP.

How to use a personal development plan

According to research, 74% of surveyed employees think they don’t progress at work due to a lack of development opportunities. You can help them reach their full potential with a personal development plan.

A PDP is an effective way to learn a new skill or master a particular one. Employees can also use it to boost their career. They just need help from their managers or HR team members.

If you’re a team lead or an HR professional, you can use a personal development plan to:

  • Conduct a skill-gap analysis – a PDP helps you understand which skills your employees lack. All of the company’s subsequent training efforts should strive to fill the gap.
  • Identify employees who want to grow – this plan also identifies team members who want a promotion. For example, let’s say that your company is looking for a Project Manager. Instead of hiring someone outside the company, you can promote one of your employees instead.
  • Align employee goals with business goals – one-on-one meetings reveal individual goals. When you’re aware of a team member’s career growth plans, you can align them with business goals and help them grow.

Related: 5 Meeting Agenda Templates to Use Right Away

Remember, most employees crave professional development opportunities. If you disregard their development needs, you’ll have a team of dissatisfied members. How can a company grow when the employees aren’t happy?

How to make a good personal development plan

How to make a good personal development plan

You should go through several steps to create an effective personal development plan. We’ll list those steps below.

  1. Ask employees to perform a self-assessment

It all starts with us. We can’t grow or improve if we don’t reflect on ourselves. That’s why your employees must do a self-evaluation first. After all, they know their interests, professional life goals, skills and knowledge best.

You can ask them the following questions to fuel their path to self-improvement:

  • How satisfied are you with the progress you’re making at work?
  • Is there something you can do to reach your full potential?
  • What are your career goals? Do you have the skills to achieve them?

Employees can reflect on their performance and determine what they can do to develop both personally and professionally.

  1. Set clear goals
personal development plan

Every employee should know what they want to achieve in their career. If they don’t, you can help them set and achieve goals. These objectives should reflect on their strengths and personal development plans.

When creating a PDP for your company, we suggest that you focus on SMART goals. They are:

  • Specific – the goal should be precise and to the point. There’s no room for ambiguity. For instance, instead of saying “I’m going to write an article this week,” your employee should say “I’m going to write a 2,000-word B2B article.”
  • Measurable – there should be criteria that measure progress. You can agree on how you will assess whether they’ve achieved the goal or not.
  • Achievable – ensure your employees don’t set unattainable objectives. They should know if their skills and resources make it possible to achieve a goal.
  • Realistic – your employee should be willing to work towards achieving an objective. This depends on their skills, so they should evaluate them before agreeing to something.
  • Time-bound – encourage them to set a realistic deadline to meet their duties.

Setting these goals helps employees split their objectives into smaller and more manageable milestones. They complete a goal one step at a time which derives great pleasure and satisfaction for them.

Related: The Best Performance Improvement Plan (+Template)

  1. Determine which strategies to implement

After setting the goals, it’s time to consider how employees will achieve them. The strategies vary depending on the objective.

For example, if an employee wants to work their way up the career ladder, they might want to attend an online course that helps them expand their knowledge. They should consider the skill set they need and what the best way to build those skills is.

  1. Explore resources

Employees cannot achieve professional and personal growth without any further resources. It’s impossible to learn something new if you don’t have some help along the way. You can help employees determine which resources they need.

Those resources can be online courses, learning platforms, conferences, niche-specific articles, webinars and even training. Look at their personal development plan to figure out what can benefit them.

If you follow the above steps, you can make a good personal development plan for your employees. One thing can help you—having a personal development plan template.

Personal Development Plan Template

As your company grows, you’ll have to focus on more and more employees. Each of those employees requires their own plan. Not to mention, you must follow their career development and growth after the goal-setting process.

What can you do to make the process more manageable? You can use a personal development plan template.

Using a template for personal development needs is quicker and more efficient. Imagine if you need to create personal development plans for every employee. This would be time-consuming.

Don’t make this mistake—use personal development plan templates. These templates help you create a clear picture of your employee’s goals and the steps they should take to reach them.

You won’t need to worry about missing important information that can affect the personal development of your employees.

We have prepared a personal development plan template to jumpstart your team members’ success! The template is concise and identifies areas your employees need to answer to achieve success.

Related: Why Is Real-Time Employee Feedback Important and Why Use It?

Personal development plan template

You can use the following personal development plan template to help your company grow with talented individuals.

Personal Development Plan Template

Employee name: _________________

Position and title: _________________

Date: _________________

Development area: _________________

Personal development goals: _________________

Top strengths: _________________

Areas to improve: _________________

Development opportunities: _________________

Action plan: _________________

Skills and knowledge needed for personal growth: _________________

Necessary resources: _________________

Evaluation period (how often will you check the progress): _________________

Deadline: _________________

Review (How am I doing): _________________

Personal development plans are the way best to get to know your employees and see how your company can influence their success and growth.

Here is an example of a completed personal development plan template:

Employee name: John Doe

Position and title: Social Media Manager

Date: July 30 2022

Development area: Time management

Personal development goals: Organize my time better to help my team members and learn how to prioritize tasks

Top strengths: Social media planning and delivery, communication skills, writing engaging content

Areas to improve: Time management and organizational skills

Development opportunities: Become a team leader of the company’s social media department

Action plan: Use to-do lists to better organize my day, track each task’s progress, report my progress to a supervisor

Skills and knowledge needed for personal growth: Time management and leadership skills

Necessary resources: Online courses about social media marketing, tools to better track the performance of social media posts and analyze our audience

Evaluation period (how often will you check the progress): Every month

Deadline: Three months from today

Review (How am I doing): N/A (to be completed every month)

Use personal development templates like this one to make the process simpler and more time-efficient!

How to get started with a template

Achieving personal growth is easier with personal development plan templates. But the journey doesn’t end there. You must also take certain steps to ensure your employees are improving and meeting their goals.

Here are some strategies you can take after an employee submits their personal development plan:

  1. Review the plan immediately – make sure to go over an employee’s plan. You must check if their goals are attainable and clear.
  2. Remind employees to check the plan periodically – a team member might forget what areas they need to improve. You can remind them to read their plan to see if they are working on the right skills.
  3. Assess their improvement so far – you can plan a one-on-one meeting with an employee. Ask them to be honest and tell you how they are doing, if they need additional help and which changes they see.
  4. Determine how successful they are – personal development plans are all about creating specific goals. The plan would be futile if you don’t check if an employee has made progress towards their goals.
  5. Decide what to do next – if you find any issues, you must come up with a solution. Don’t abandon your employee—show them you're committed to their success!

Related: How to Create one-on-one Meeting Template (with examples)

Conclusion: Personal Development Plan

Helping your employees work on their personal development plan creates a positive workplace. Employees are satisfied to see their company cares about them and doesn’t see them just as “seat-fillers.”

With an effective personal development plan template in place, you can easily discover each person’s skills and weaknesses. You get to grow the talent you already have and nurture an impressive company culture.

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