HR glossary / I / Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Individual Development Plan (IDP)


An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a personalized and strategic tool used in the workplace to outline an employee’s career goals and the steps needed to achieve them. It involves identifying specific skills, knowledge, and experiences that the employee needs to develop to reach their professional objectives. The IDP is typically created through a collaborative process between the employee and their supervisor, ensuring that the plan aligns with both the individual’s career aspirations and the organization’s goals.

The IDP process begins with a self-assessment, where the employee evaluates their current skills and identifies areas for growth. This is followed by setting clear, achievable goals and outlining the actions required to meet those goals. The plan often includes various development activities, such as training programs, mentorship, job rotations, and other learning opportunities. Regular reviews and updates to the IDP ensure that it remains relevant and effective in guiding the employee’s development journey.

Implementing IDPs within an organization can lead to numerous benefits, including enhanced employee engagement, higher retention rates, and a more skilled and motivated workforce. By focusing on individual development, organizations can better prepare their employees for future roles and challenges, fostering a culture of continuous learning and growth.


What is the purpose of an Individual Development Plan (IDP)?

The purpose of an IDP is to help employees identify their career goals, assess their current skills and competencies, and outline a clear path for professional development. It serves as a strategic tool to enhance individual growth and align personal objectives with organizational goals.

An IDP should be reviewed regularly, typically on an annual basis, but more frequent reviews, such as quarterly or semi-annually, can be beneficial. Regular reviews ensure that the plan remains relevant and that progress towards goals is tracked and adjusted as needed.

The creation and maintenance of an IDP is a collaborative effort between the employee and their supervisor. The employee takes the lead in identifying their career aspirations and development needs, while the supervisor provides guidance, resources, and support to help achieve those goals.


Career path planning

Using IDPs to help employees map out their career paths within the organization, identifying potential roles and the skills needed to advance.

Skill development

Focusing on specific skill development through targeted training programs and workshops, as outlined in the IDP.

Mentorship programs

Pairing employees with mentors to provide guidance, feedback, and support in achieving the goals set out in their IDPs.

Performance improvement

Addressing performance gaps by creating an IDP that includes specific actions and resources to enhance the employee's skills and competencies.

Succession planning

Utilizing IDPs as part of the organization's succession planning strategy to prepare employees for future leadership roles.

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