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Supervisor's Guide to Creating the IDP

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Supporting professional growth and development
IDPs are powerful tools for developing your staff and for showing your commitment to their development. Professional development engages the employee in taking personal interest in attaining organizational goals and ANR looks to you to help advance organizational competence. By giving your staff opportunities to learn and grow they gain vital mastery of responsibilities and are prepared for work environment change.
Employees derive a sense of empowerment and significance from development, which in turn leads to increased productivity and quality, increased employee retention, and clientele satisfaction.
Development is an ongoing process that starts when a member joins the team and continues through the employee’s years of service. Each staff member should have a “living” professional development plan that utilizes quarterly review discussions, if possible. In the least, one review discussion between supervisor and the staff member should be utilized during the annual performance evaluation. IDPs change as the employee’s skills grow or as goals of the organizational shift.
Overall goals of the supervisor in staff development
The overall goals of the supervisor are to:
  • Leverage the employee’s strengths and concentrate on one to two areas of improvement, and
  • To describe how the achievement of the goals will be measured
Even though the primary responsibility is on the individual for development, the supervisor or manager has a significant role in:
  • Coaching
  • Supporting
  • Encouraging
  • Eliminating obstacles
  • Utilizing employee input
  • Providing resources and opportunities for development
  • Demonstrating commitment to their growth
Think specifically on what things you can do to support the employee by considering:
o   Granting work time for training activities
o   Providing performance goals
o   Offering feedback on their goals
o   Inquiring about and supporting their development goals
o   Assisting them in drafting an individual development plan
o   Helping to set realistic timeframes
o   Assigning projects that utilize new learning and new founded skills
o   Revising the plan as appropriate
o   Acknowledging results
Avoid creating a laundry list of development options with your employee. Most workplace learning happens on the job, not in the classroom. Therefore, an effective IDP combines learning by doing, learning from others, classes, and e-learning activities. Here are some resources and ideas to share with staff:
o   On-the-job training opportunities for the employee (new responsibilities, special “stretch” roles to broaden skills, job shadowing, cross training)
o   UC Learning Center e-Learning modules or instructor led classes ( http://lms.ucdavis.edu)
o   Reading career development “Books 24X7” (free at U-Learn ( http://lms.ucdavis.edu))
o   Lynda.com
o   Scheduling a confidential appointment with a career counselor from Staff Development & Professional Services at a UC campus
o   Attending Career Management Academy offered at Staff Development & Professional Services
o   Suggest volunteer opportunities such as serving on the ANR Staff Assembly or to volunteer on a committee
o   Mentoring relationships
At the end of your discussion determine together an appropriate date for the employee to submit their IDP to you. Point out that they can review the Individual Development Plan (IDP) and use the example IDP form and that both of you will work on the final version.
Steering the IDP Process
Step 1.Preplanning:
  • Unless the employee has already initiated the IDP process, schedule a planning meeting with them. Explain that the planning meeting will focus on discussing their skill strengths, skills gaps, and professional development goals.
  • Instruct them to help you prepare for this meeting by reading the Individual Development Plan (IDP) information and completing and submitting to you the self-assessment worksheet at least one week before your meeting date. The self-assessment worksheet will prompt the individual to explore values, interests, skills, and personality and provide you with insights about your staff member’s goals. If the employee is experienced with the IDP process have them skip to step 3 and start the first draft of the IDP.
  • Learn about your employee’s professional goals, career issues, and ideas for development by reviewing the self-assessment worksheet responses. Keeping in mind the following:
o   What goals, skills, and professional opportunities interest the individual?
o   Do these interest and goals support the goals and needs of the organization?
o   What short- and long-term steps are needed to achieve these goals?
o   Is there funding support for educational opportunities?
o   Are there on-the-job training opportunities for the employee like new responsibilities, special projects to broaden skills, job shadowing, cross training?
  • Assess the individual’s skill level using the individual’s self-assessment, work record, and your observations considering:
o   Attitude: Mind-set, outlook, perspective, approach.
o   Ability: Special aptitudes for accomplishing certain things or learning to do new things.
o   Soft skills: How do they work with other people?
o   Technical ability: Do they have the skills to complete the job?
Step 2. Meet with employee
Hold the planning meeting with the employee reminding them that your discussion will focus on their skill strengths, skills gaps, and professional development goals and that the next step after the meeting will be for them to start drafting the first version of the IDP. Discuss:
  • Employee strengths, skill gaps, goals, interests, and organizational needs
  • Professional development resources and options
Remember that for professional development to succeed, the employee’s interests and goals must be tailored to fulfill organizational needs. Communicate that they consider the following objectives for the individual development plan:
  • ANR goals
  • Unit goals
  • Team goals
  • Individual goals
Step 3. Writing the IDP
The employee fills out the individual development plan form and submits it to you. Once submitted, review the plan, note recommendations you have, and share with the staff member. Have the staff member update the plan. When you both agree on the IDP the staff member and supervisor sign and date the IDP form and the individual is ready to take the actions steps agreed upon.
While an IDP is non-binding it is important that supervisors and managers make every effort to assure that employees are granted time for development opportunities listed on the IDP. Consistent failure to give time for agreed upon educational opportunities can arouse skepticism and distrust, and fully thwart the IDP's motivating benefits.
Step 4: Implementing plan
Employee engages in training opportunities described in IDP and keeps a record of progress by adding dates on the Sections 4 and 5 of the IDP form. Follow up with the employee after a training event and provide them with opportunities to use the new skills or knowledge.
Step 5: Assessing outcomes
Work with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of training and development activities. Ask for feedback on their progress to help you establish:
  • Where the staff member is flourishing
  • How to help build on new found skills
  • Where there is still room for growth
Log performance utilizing expectations, dates, and the impact of training activities on development. Record observations of
  • Improved skills and knowledge and how they were utilized
  • Progress towards objectives and goals
  • Where skills and knowledge could still be applied
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