How To Build a Performance Development Plan | Wrike (2023)

Performance development plans help managers work with the people on their team to identify and document valuable business and personal goals their employees wish to work toward.

Having development plans allow organizations to align personal, team, and company interests and goals for the greater success of everyone involved.

We’ve created a complete guide on how to build and execute a performance development plan so you can streamline your development planning process and improve your business outcomes.

In this guide, you’ll find a breakdown of what should be included in a personal development plan, how often it should be reviewed and updated, and why it’s so essential.

You’ll also get a complete step-by-step guide on how to build a solid development planning process, including how to tackle performance development plan meetings and what to do if your performance development plan fails.

What is personal development planning?

Personal development planning encompasses the whole process of managing a performance development plan, including the following:

  • Defining measurable goals and objectives for the employee.
  • Creating an action plan, including a timeline, on how and when those goals will be reached.
  • Scheduling and holding regular check-in meetings to review and provide feedback on progress so far.
  • Updating or refining the plan, goals, and actions as needed.

Personal development planning in the context we’re discussing is about how to help employees grow and improve in their roles and careers.

It can also apply to personal, educational, or relationship goals outside of the office. But, this type of information is typically not covered in a company performance development plan.

What’s the difference between personal development planning vs. succession planning?

Personal development planning and succession planning are not the same thing.

Personal development planning and succession planning both focus on creating and achieving short, medium, and long term goals. But succession planning specifically involves moving up in the company.

(Video) Creating an Employee Development Plan for Improved Employee Performance

The focus of succession planning is to ensure employees are gaining the skills and experiences necessary for moving up into higher-level roles when opportunities arise.

Personal development planning may involve succession planning, but it doesn’t have to. Some employees will have no desire to move into another role.

In these cases, personal development planning is still relevant and important. But, the focus will be on keeping them engaged and happy in their current role, as well as looking for opportunities for them to become more efficient and improve their productivity and/or quality. It’s about helping them reach and maintain their full potential.

Why are performance development processes necessary?

Performance development processes are essential for two reasons:

They provide a clear structure for measuring and improving employee performance.

They allow you to engage your employees in the process and tackle issues together.

With a clear structure in place, employees know exactly what they are working toward and how to get there. This eliminates doubt around what’s expected of them and helps them improve in their roles.

Knowing their performance is being measured and reviewed on a regular basis can also help motivate them to achieve their goals. Plus, when you work together to set the goals, create the action plan, review progress, and brainstorm ways to improve, you’re showing your employees you’re in their corner.

A solid performance development process provides plenty of coaching and mentoring opportunities, which will help employees reach their potential.

Without a defined performance development plan and consistent development process, you may experience the following issues:

(Video) Three steps for creating a successful professional development plan

  1. Employees aren’t aware of or aligned with company objectives.
  2. Key performance indicators (KPIs) aren’t defined or being measured.
  3. Management isn’t aware of employees’ goals and interests within the company.
  4. There’s an inconsistent record (or no record) of employee evaluations, which makes it hard to assess whether an employee is improving or declining.

How often should performance development plans be created?

A performance development plan should be created for each new team member within the first three months of them joining the team.

These performance development plans should then be considered “living” documents that are reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The standard is often to have an informal “interim review'' at the six or nine-month mark and a formal review every 12 months.

Depending on your business, team, and goals, you may find more frequent reviews are necessary. For instance, if an employee is working on completing a number of objectives in the next 3–6 months, you wouldn’t want to wait 6–9 months to do the first review.

How to create a strong development planning process

Here are nine essential steps for establishing a strong development planning process:

  1. Define your timeline: How often will performance development plans be created, reviewed, and updated?
  2. Establish outcomes of performance reviews: When an employee meets or exceeds their objectives, do they get a raise, promotion, bonus, or something else? If they fail to meet their objectives, are they disciplined or let go? All of this should be documented before the first performance plan is created.
  3. Create your templates: Use a standard format for all development plans, so every employee is measured the same way. They may have unique goals, but the number of goals, measurement scale (i.e., 1–5 or 1–7), frequency of review, etc. should all be identical.
  4. Document goals and objectives: These may be company-wide, team, or person-specific standards. You may even wish to have three sections in your template: one for overarching top-down goals, one for team goals, and one for unique individual goals.
  5. Create action plans: While higher-ups may dictate some goals, the action plan on how to achieve them should always be developed in concert with the employee being measured. Sit down together to brainstorm what actions they can take to achieve their objectives.
  6. Record KPIs and milestones: Work with your employee to determine how progress will be measured, how often it will be assessed, and what key milestones should be watched for.
  7. Identify areas for support: If the employee needs something from you or someone else in the company to complete their action plan, make sure to document it. If a goal isn’t reached because they didn’t end up getting the support they needed, it shouldn’t be held against them. So, any requirements outside of their control must be noted and monitored.
  8. Review and finalize the plan: After you and your employee draft the plan, take some time to review it and ensure nothing has been left out or overlooked. Then, when you’re both happy, you should sign off on it to acknowledge that it's now your formal plan.
  9. Hold performance reviews: Once the plan is live, it’s up to the employee to execute the action plan, with your help and support as needed. The next step in the review process then becomes the regularly scheduled assessments, as you defined in your initial timeline. During these assessments, the plan should be evaluated and updated as needed.

Who curates performance development plans?

Typically, an employee’s direct manager will create their performance development plan. However, it is rarely done in isolation.

Often, the executives of the business will set the overall strategy and goals for the organization. They will then work with the different departments or team leaders to define how the separate business areas will contribute to the overall goals. Those initiatives will then cascade down the chain to help define individual goals and objectives.

This process helps ensure everyone in the organization is working towards the same things. For instance, if your business wants to expand in the west, every department, from marketing to IT and finance, may have at least one objective tied to supporting this objective.

What do you include in a performance development plan meeting?

A performance development plan meeting should include two things:

  1. A review of performance over the last period.
  2. An update of the performance plan, including goals and action plans, for the upcoming period.

Typically, you would first sit down and discuss the employee’s performance since the last review meeting. This involves reviewing their current performance development plan and how well they’ve completed their action plan and met their objectives.

Next, you’d discuss what’s expected between now and the next review meeting. If any of the goals or objectives need to be updated, you’d do so together in this meeting. You would then also update the action plan as needed.

(Video) How to create a performance management system for organisations

The meeting should end with a discussion of any consequences of the meeting (I.e., will there be a reward, additional training, etc., due to the current performance results) and setting up the next review appointment.

What do you do when a performance development plan fails?

What happens when you have a performance development review meeting and discover your employee failed to meet their objectives?

The first step should always be to ask why.

Did they not get the resources or support they needed to succeed? If so, you’ll need to either help them gain the support, find an alternative action plan, or modify their goal.

Was the action plan not followed? Again, you’ll have to start by finding out why. Maybe they had to miss developmental training because they were pulled into a huge project at the last minute. They shouldn’t be penalized for that.

Were the objectives too unrealistic? Let’s say your team was operating at an 85% efficiency, on average, for the last three years, and this year you set a goal of 95%. It may have simply been too high of a target.

What other variables need to be considered? Was the employee off on leave for an extended period of time? Did they have to suddenly adapt to remote work due to a pandemic? Unexpected circumstances should be taken into account when assessing performance.

The number one reason development plans fail is a lack of employee buy-in. You can often protect against this by engaging the employee in the goal setting and action plan creation process.

However, if they still aren’t bought in, you’ll need to find other ways to motivate them to improve. Depending on the employee, that could be anything from public recognition to flexible work hours or additional pay.

Once you identify the cause of failure, whatever it was, the next step should be to reevaluate and adjust the plan moving forward. Create new action items to help overcome whatever hurdles caused the failure, and reassess progress at the next review meeting.

(Video) What to Put Into a Career Development Plan

Can you create a PDP (personal development plan) in Wrike?

Yes, you can create a PDP plan for each of your employees in Wrike.

Using the software’s folder system, it’s easy to create personal, team, and company-wide goals within Wrike. Plus, you can easily schedule your performance reviews, store your essential documentation, and share progress updates.

How to create a performance development plan with Wrike

You can easily create an annual performance plan in Wrike using the following folder structure:

Create a folder called ‘annual personal development plan’ to share with your employee.

Inside that folder, create quarterly or semi-annual plans to cover the period between each review.

Set up your OKRS (objectives and key results) for each quarter.

Use a separate task for each step in your employee’s action plan, so they can progress them as they complete the steps.

You can then also schedule your upcoming reviews, monitor employee progress, make comments on tasks, and more. Plus, once you complete a performance review, you can upload it into the relevant quarterly folder, so it’s easy to access and refer to later.

Sign up for a free two week trial of Wrike project management software and discover how it can help you create and update a performance development plan with ease.


How To Build a Performance Development Plan | Wrike? ›

Defining measurable goals and objectives for the employee. Creating an action plan, including a timeline, on how and when those goals will be reached. Scheduling and holding regular check-in meetings to review and provide feedback on progress so far. Updating or refining the plan, goals, and actions as needed.

What are the key items to include in a performance development plan? ›

Defining measurable goals and objectives for the employee. Creating an action plan, including a timeline, on how and when those goals will be reached. Scheduling and holding regular check-in meetings to review and provide feedback on progress so far. Updating or refining the plan, goals, and actions as needed.

What are the four 4 element of a good development plan? ›

They are assessment, goals, resources, strategy, and evaluation. Whether you are working on a PDP for yourself or the people you manage, commitment to each element of the process is key.

What does a performance development plan look like? ›

A performance development plan is a system an employee, team or organization uses to establish goals, commitments and strategies for improved productivity and performance. It often outlines actions meant to help individuals or groups align their processes and objectives with those of their organization.

What are the 5 key components of performance? ›

All five component processes (i.e., planning, monitoring, developing, rating, rewarding) work together and support each other, resulting in natural, effective performance management.

What is the difference between PIP and PDP? ›

While a PIP is generally considered a negative thing, a PDP is positive. A PIP is typically created by a manager and given to the employee. A PDP is typically created by the employee and sometimes (though not always) shared with the manager.

What is performance improvement plan template? ›

With a performance improvement plan (PIP) template, you have a tool to create an individualized, action-orientated, step-by-step plan to improve the performance of employees who are either not meeting their manager or supervisor's expectations or would benefit from a more structured action plan.

What are the examples of development plan? ›

Examples include building communication skills, nurturing their self-management abilities, and improving critical thinking approaches. Common employee development plan examples include skills training, exposure to leadership roles, and succession planning.

What are the four 4 approaches to employee development? ›

The many approaches to employee development fall into four broad categories: formal education, assessment, job experiences, and interpersonal relationships.

What are the five steps in developing the plan? ›

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?
  • Step 1: Determine where you are. ...
  • Step 2: Identify your goals and objectives. ...
  • Step 3: Develop your plan. ...
  • Step 4: Execute your plan. ...
  • Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed.
Oct 6, 2022

How to create a pip? ›

Here's how to create a performance improvement plan (PIP) in five steps:
  1. Determine If a PIP Is Appropriate. PIPs are appropriate for every situation. ...
  2. Come Up With a Plan. ...
  3. Meet With the Employee in Question. ...
  4. Monitor Employee Progress. ...
  5. Access Your Employee.
Oct 13, 2022

How long should a pip last? ›

How long does a PIP last? A PIP may be issued for a 30, 60, or 90-day period, at the supervisor's discretion. The maximum length of time for a PIP during the performance management period is 90 days.

What is the difference between a performance plan and a development plan? ›

Is there a difference between performance goals and development plans? Performance goals focus on an end result while a development plan focuses on the attainment of skills and knowledge and the discovery of effective strategies to attain and sustain desired results.

What are the 5 areas of personal development? ›

5 areas of personal development
  • Mental. Exercising your brain and staying mentally fit is critical to personal development. ...
  • Social. ...
  • Spiritual. ...
  • Emotional. ...
  • Physical. ...
  • Identify areas where you'd like to improve. ...
  • Work with a coach or mentor to assemble a plan. ...
  • Structure your personal development goals.
Feb 10, 2022

What is a 5 year professional development plan? ›

A five-year plan is a list of goals, either personal or professional, that you want to achieve within the next five years. It often includes ambitions with specific timelines and measurements.

What are the three C's of performance management? ›

Employee expectations have changed when it comes to performance management, and organisations must embrace these three Cs – continuous, crowdsourced, and coaching – if they want to stay in step with today's human-centric work culture.

What are the 4 key performance areas? ›

Anyway, the four KPIs that always come out of these workshops are:
  • Customer Satisfaction,
  • Internal Process Quality,
  • Employee Satisfaction, and.
  • Financial Performance Index.

What are the 3 key elements to make a good performance? ›

A framework for performance management

An effective process will address these three interlinked components: Planning – do employees know what you're evaluating? Cultivation – creating the space for employees to bloom. Accountability – making performance a proactive process.

What are the two types of PIP? ›

There are 2 parts to PIP :
  • a daily living part - if you need help with everyday tasks.
  • a mobility part - if you need help with getting around.

What is a personal development plan PDP and what makes a good PDP? ›

Personal development planning is a process, which can help you to achieve your goals in three key areas. Your Career and employability, your Study and your Personal development. The time and effort you invest in planning around these areas will enable you to continue developing effectively throughout your life.

Is a development plan a PIP? ›

PIP isn't the same as the PDP, or Performance Development Planning. The processes differ in the amount of detail. If an employee is already taking part in a PDP process along with the entire company, the PIP should give the manager and employee a greater amount of clarity about certain expectations.

What can I use instead of a performance improvement plan? ›

Here are some ideas of what you can do with a coaching improvement plan as opposed to a performance improvement plan.
  • Communicate expectations . ...
  • Create visual maps and tangible targets . ...
  • Plan it . ...
  • Think broadly. ...
  • Be human . ...
  • Invite others . ...
  • Schedule check-ins.
Jul 9, 2019

What is the role of HR in a PIP meeting? ›

The role of HR in a PIP is to work with the employee's managers to determine whether a PIP is appropriate and to provide guidance to both the manager and employee for the duration of the plan.

What is a 30 day performance improvement plan? ›

A performance improvement plan (PIP) is a formal document that details changes an employee must make to keep their job. PIPs usually outline a list of performance goals employees must meet in a specified timeframe — generally within 30, 60, or 90 days.

What is a development plan template? ›

From a functional perspective, having a templated professional development plan allows you to outline goals, create strategies, and track progress. It also creates a centralized database of training opportunities that can be used to upskill other members of your workforce.

What is the 7 development plan? ›

More specifically, the 7NDP seeks to promote a well-nourished population free of all forms of malnutrition, capable of contributing to economic growth and diversification; improve the general welfare of poor and vulnerable households; and promote livelihoods and empowerment.

What are the 4 E's of employee engagement? ›

In this white paper, learn the four essential components of engagement: enablement, energy, empowerment, and encouragement. To create a workplace of truly engaged employees, each of these four elements must be alive and thriving in an organization.

What are the 4 pillars of managing performance? ›

The cycle of performance is based on 4 key pillars: planning, monitoring, reviewing and rewarding.

What are the 4 drives of employee motivation? ›

Research points to four drivers of motivation: the drive to acquire, bond, comprehend and defend.

What are the 6 core steps in making a personal development plan? ›

So let's dive into the six steps you need to take to create your own professional development plan (PDP).
  • Step 1: Assess yourself. ...
  • Step 2: Set your goals. ...
  • Step 3: Develop strategies. ...
  • Step 4: Gather your resources. ...
  • Step 5: Create a timeline. ...
  • Step 6: Track your progress.
Dec 20, 2022

What are the seven 7 steps of the planning process? ›

How to Strategic Plan in 7 Steps
  • Step 1: Environmental Scan. ...
  • Step 2: Internal Analysis. ...
  • Step 3: Strategic Direction. ...
  • Step 4: Develop Goals and Objectives. ...
  • Step 5: Define Metrics, Set Timelines, and Track Progress. ...
  • Step 6: Write and Publish a Strategic Plan. ...
  • Step 7: Plan for Implementation and the Future.
Apr 26, 2022

What is the most important step in developing a plan? ›

Define objectives

The first, and most crucial, step in the planning process is to determine what is to be accomplished during the planning period. The vision and mission statements provide long-term, broad guidance on where the organization is going and how it will get there.

What are the 4 steps of creating a professional development plan? ›

Professional Development Planning Steps
  • Step One: Request a self-assessment from the staff member.
  • Step Two: Develop your assessment of the individual's skill level.
  • Step Three: Assess the department and organization's needs.
  • Step Four: Explore development opportunities with the staff member.

What are examples of development plans for employees? ›

Examples include building communication skills, nurturing their self-management abilities, and improving critical thinking approaches. Common employee development plan examples include skills training, exposure to leadership roles, and succession planning.

What is an example of a professional development goal? ›

Learning new abilities, earning certifications, gaining more experience in a specific field, moving forward in your company, and pursuing any other career aspirations are all examples of professional development goals.

What are the 5 essential steps in planning process? ›

What are the 5 steps in strategic planning?
  • Step 1: Determine where you are. ...
  • Step 2: Identify your goals and objectives. ...
  • Step 3: Develop your plan. ...
  • Step 4: Execute your plan. ...
  • Step 5: Revise and restructure as needed.
Oct 6, 2022

What are the examples of professional development? ›

Professional Development Examples
  • Continuing Education.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Research.
  • Improve job performance.
  • Increased duties and responsibilities.
  • Approaches to professional development:
  • Skill Based Training.
  • Job Assignments.

What are the 3 biggest steps in achieving personal development? ›

Set SMART goals, develop a growth mindset, and stick to your action plan. No matter the specific goals you have for yourself, you will get yourself much closer if you follow these three big steps in achieving personal development.


1. How to create a 70/20/10 professional development plan
2. 5 Must Haves in Performance Improvement Plans | The Engagement Studio
(Quantum Workplace)
3. Building a Professional Development Plan
4. How to Build an Effective Career Plan (Top 5 Tips)
5. 10 Steps to Create Your Professional Development Plan
(Chrissy Scivicque)
6. How to Create a Performance Improvement Plan |
(Bit. ai)


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