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Professional development plan for HR managers

3-step professional development plan for HR managers PDF cover

The secret to getting your team to step up to the next level is to have a professional development plan… and implement it. This free template will provide you with an actionable plan to help your team develop their skills in the workplace.


What is this professional development plan template for?

This professional development plan template can help guide conversations for career growth for things like:

  • Helping them move up in your organisation or leadership level
  • Bringing their area of responsibility to the next level or scaling it
  • Get them a promotion or;
  • Helping them level up some technical or interpersonal skills.

Employment Hero hosts a library of employee policies, templates and agreements in our platform just like this one that is fully customisable and can be tailored to your unique business needs.

3-step professional development plan for HR managers PDF cover

What is a professional development plan (PDP)?

A professional development plan – also known as a career development plan – is a roadmap containing the skills, strategy, and education your team members need to further themselves in their career and life to achieve their professional goals by implementing structured steps.


What is the goal of a professional development plan?

There are a few great outcomes that can come out of a well-executed PDP. Here are some of the leading reasons why great leaders will always invest time in this important document.


Upskilling employees

When you invest in learning and development, you encourage your employees to take on new skills that can help them perform better in their roles.

Whatever you’re focusing on – time management, strategy, digital adoption, training in a new software – your employee is going to grow and expand their horizons. It’s a personal win for them, and a huge win for your business.


Internal promotions

Every business should want their employees’ tenures to be as long as possible. Not only is it a great thing to have someone achieve career progression, your business will also benefit from maintaining internal knowledge and saving costs and time spent on recruiting new staff.

When you promote internally, you support the individual team member in achieving their career goals. And you also send a message. Yours is the kind of business that celebrates and rewards hard work.


Employee retention

Have you ever heard of a ‘flight risk employee’? These are the members of your team which might have one foot out the door and may already be looking for opportunities elsewhere.

Most of the time, flight risk employees are feeling disconnected from their roles. They aren’t excited about their future with the business, and often feel unappreciated for the work they do.

A PDP can open up an employee’s eyes to what’s possible for them with your business, reducing a desire to jump ship and turnover within your business.


How can a PDP help employees grow professionally?

So, how exactly does a PDP help an employee towards career success?


Identify skills’ gaps

When talking through a PDP with your team members, measure their one, five and ten year goals against where they are now. Chances are, there’s a significant gap in skills between where they are now and what they want to be. Make a list of what these professional skills are and how they can be gained, whether that’s through short or long courses, or by other means like pursuing micro-credentials or certifications.


Adopt new responsibilities

A PDP will help you and your team members gain a better understanding of particular areas of interest within their role, which can help you find or create new responsibilities for them. For example, maybe they enjoy project management aspects of their work. Could you delegate more of your management tasks to help them further this interest?


Create promotion stepping stones

Do you have a team member who wants to pursue development opportunities but may not be ready to take the step into a promotion yet? Don’t sweep their ambitions under the rug, use a PDP to outline clear steps that they need to take in order to be ready to take that next step.


How do you write a professional development plan?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel here, or sort through the hundreds of different frameworks for creating a PDP. Send your team members our free template to get started, download your free copy using the form to the right!


Examples of good professional development goals

You and your team members should be shooting for the stars! Every goal will be unique to your team members ambitions and your business’ needs, but if you or your team members are looking for inspiration – take a peek at some of the most common personal development goals.


1. Step into a people management position

Taking the step from being an independent professional to being a manager requires a huge new skill set. Not only do you have to learn how to manage various workloads and plans, you also need to be capable of communicating clearly, keeping track of HR matters and being cognizant of others’ professional, and often emotional, needs. It’s big undertaking which can be supported through steps outlined in a PDP.


2. Take over key projects

Maybe your team member is not so interested in a managerial position, but they would like to take on special projects that currently sit outside of their day-to-day work. Taking steps to take control of these projects might include learning new skills or tools, building relationships with internal or external project stakeholders, and more.


3. Complete a relevant certification

Imagine how the finance arm of your business would benefit from having a certified accountant on the team. Or maybe your marketing team needs someone with a Google certification. Certifications take work and input from the employee, and time (and sometimes financial) support from the company, but they are a great way to add value to your business.


4. Expand your professional brand

Thought leadership is a great way for members of your team to grow professionally, and become even more of an asset for your business. Expanding their professional brand could look like your team member growing their network on LinkedIn, attending professional events on behalf of the business, appearing on panels or podcasts, giving interviews as a subject matter expert or writing articles for LinkedIn or a site like Medium.


5. Side-step into a new role in a different area of the business

Throughout their careers, employees often evolve their interests. At your business, a team member may have been exposed to a new role through their colleagues and now they might be thinking it could be a good career path for them. For example, someone in your sales team might wish to move into marketing. Or someone in your operations team might be curious about HR. Why not keep their knowledge of the company within the business, and support their move to another team?


How do you motivate employees to learn new skills?

We believe the key to getting employees motivated to grow is getting them involved in their own professional development. Getting your team members to have a first go at putting together their career development plan helps them feel engaged and empowered over their future with your business.

Remember, a PDP should be collaborative between managers and their employees. Managers should think of themselves as a guide, aligning the team members ambitions with the needs of the business.

Outside of a PDP, how else can you keep employees motivated?


One-on-one (1:1) Meetings

After putting together a PDP, it’s easy to file it away and forget about it. But a PDP is no use to your staff member if it’s locked away and not regularly discussed.

Make discussing your PDP a regular part of your 1:1 meetings. Check in on their progress, give constructive feedback and identify any actionable items to be completed for the coming weeks or months.

Need help getting your 1:1s organised? Use our free 1:1 meeting template and check out our favourite 1:1 questions.


Set goals

Setting goals can help put your employee’s PDP into motion, lifting them off the page and making them easier to work towards. For best results, we recommend using a goal setting framework. At Employment Hero we like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), as it helps us stay aligned and motivated as a team. Learn more about OKRs.


Reward the small wins

Sometimes when you’re working towards big professional development goals, it can feel like you’re trekking up a mountain. You might have ticked off a few actions, but you still have a long way to go.

Although the development milestone is the ultimate win, managers and leaders should recognise the effort along the journey. This might look like giving them a public shout-out in a meeting, expressing your gratitude in a private meeting, writing them a personalised note or organising a small gift.


Other useful employee development plan templates

Performance Review Template Bundle – Giving employee feedback is crucial in building a high-performing team, and you’ll want to provide it consistently and constructively to ensure that it’s effective. We’ve created these performance review templates for managers, to help guide conversations with your direct reports.

Goal Setting Template – If your team member has big ambitions for this year, don’t encourage them to rely on sheer motivation alone to achieve them (spoiler alert: this never works). Instead, work with your employee to create a solid plan for success by using this goal-setting template.

Performance Improvement Plan Template – Do you have a team member who is falling behind? Maybe the quality of their work has taken a tumble or they’re not meeting the basic requirements of their role? It’s a tough scenario for managers and employees to be in, but there are ways that you can improve the situation. A performance improvement plan is one of the most common tools that employers use to help their team members recover their performance.

Employee Coaching Plan Template – Learning at work can help employees tackle unique challenges, spark new ideas, build confidence, and keep their skills relevant. It’s always been an essential part of employee engagement, and in the current climate, its relevance is even more prominent. This employee coaching template can help further your employees’ personal and professional growth.


Ready to supercharge your team’s professional development?

What are you waiting for? Download your copy of our free development plan template using the form to the right.

Get your team started down the path of professional development
Get your team started down the path of professional development
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