A Career Development Plan is a written list of the short and long-term goals that employees have pertaining to their current and future jobs, and a planned sequence of formal and informal experiences to assist the employees in achieving their goals. These goals should be linked to each person's strengths and potential.
Career Development Plans are usually optional. But they should be recommended to all employees, so that their short-term growth and development objectives are aligned and supported by their managers or supervisors and their long-term career expectations are realistic.
Purpose of a Career Development Plan
Ultimately, the purpose of a Career Development Plan is to assist employees in achieving their goals. In doing so, an organization also increases the likelihood of retaining employees, because employees recognize that managers have helped employees achieve their career goals within the organization, rather than employees believing they need to leave to pursue these goals somewhere else.
The Career Development Plan also helps employees set realistic expectations of career growth by suggesting time frames for certain milestones to happen (like promotions) and identifying areas that employees need to develop before becoming eligible for their next career milestone. Note, too, that Career Development Plans are just plans; they do not represent career commitments to the employee nor the Manager or Supervisor.
Format of a Career Development Plan
As a manager or supervisor, encourage the use of an Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP) format for all of your employees. Once you have explained the value of the ICDP, you can emphasize that employees need to take responsibility for creating this form for themselves and provide the following information:
Process for Supporting Your Employee's Career Development Plan
Here are some steps for supporting an effective development plan for your employees. Discussions and plans about development should focus on two dimensions: specific technical and functional expertise and overall demonstration, by the employee, of the organization's culture, philosophy and values.
The Career Development Plan, as described here, can be a very useful tool for career development practitioners working inside organizations. Career professionals can offer it to managers as a way to encourage the development of those they supervise. Used appropriately, it can help the manager focus on supporting employees in gaining new skills, while adding value to their organizations. It also helps employees stay on track and move forward in their careers.
José Adolfo Trueba (firstname.lastname@example.org) has more than 17 years of experience in the design and implementation of Career Development plans. As part of his Professional background, he worked for IBM as a member of the "IBM Worldwide Professions Counsel" being responsible for Latin America region. This Counsel was responsible for the design of the IBM Worldwide Career Development Portfolio for all the IBM employees. He currently works in Mexico for Avaya Communication being responsible for Career Development strategies not only for Mexico, but also for CaLA (Caribbean and Latin America) region in Avaya Global Services Division.