Professional Development Plan Templates (Personal, Individual, Career & Employees)

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A development plan template is a document used by the employee to establish his/her career development goals and strategies on how to achieve them. Making a professional developmental plan takes a lot of time and effort. However, writing and executing this plan can help you in establishing and developing your professional skills to achieve your long-term goals.

What is a professional development plan?

You need a professional development plane when you are just starting your professional careers or are in the process of reassessing their future development. It defines your goals for career development and the actions you have to take to achieve them. This document acts as useful roadmaps that outline your strengths, weaknesses, and resources.

Furthermore, creating a development plan isn’t a difficult task. It just requires self-awareness. There are various easy steps that you can follow to ensure that the plan you make causes a high-impact.

In most cases, with the help of your manager or someone in the HR department, you can put together your professional development plan template. Don’t consider development plan as an administrative task that you would file away and forget rather than this use it to hold yourself liable for your own career path.

Why do you require a professional development plan?

Here are the benefits of making this document;

  • It helps you in identifying how you can do more of what you want. This way, you can enjoy your job. Also, it assists you in figuring out how to do less of what you don’t.
  • It helps you in determining the skills that still require developing for you to advance in your career.
  • It helps you in determining the steps to get those skills. Through coursework and training, you can even develop non-technical systematically.

The elements of a development plan:

The elements of a development plan can vary from one organization to the other. Here are the important elements to include in a development plan;

Professional goals and aspirations

In this section, you have to include achievable productivity and promotion goals of an employee. Also, specify the target and actual achievement dates.

Strengths and talents

In order to determine specific knowledge, skills and talents that employees have, you should use the employee’s performance review or a list of core competencies. Employees will feel confident and readiness for new challenges when you give them positive feedback and put stress on their strengths.

Development opportunities

Provide development opportunity along with a corresponding goal.

Action plans

Employee should include the following common actions;

  • Mentoring others
  • Learning from a mentor
  • Complete a development course
  • Join a professional organization
  • Earn professional certifications
  • Lead or present at meetings
  • Cross-train for another position
  • Attend the professional conferences or seminars
  • On the team, making learning programs for others
  • In the current role, take on more challenging tasks
  • Coordinate team-building events
  • Volunteering with community groups

Implementing development plans:

Here are the steps to implement a development plan;

Begin with your own plan

For all levels of the organization, development plans are required. Also, employees need this plan to see higher-ups working on their own self-improvement. This way, they develops trust and motivates everyone to honestly assess themselves.

For your conversations, prepare with staff members

A development plan questionnaire is provided to each employee. Employees are asked through forms to determine the following;

  • Professional goals and aspirations
  • Things that inspire and encourage them
  • Passions, skills and talents
  • Opportunities for development

Meet with each employee

Generally, employee development plan meetings take an hour. To make an atmosphere of trust, the meeting should be done on individual basis. Allow the employees to discuss regarding their goals, passions and skills. After that, to form specific action steps, work with the employees that will assist them in achieving their goals.

Assist the employee in fleshing out a development plan

Consider what is feasible for an employee within the context of the organization while identifying the best ways to achieve goals. Consider their skill set and your evaluation of their abilities.

How to write a development plan?

Here are the steps to make your own professional development plan;


Knowing about your own life and actually planning it is totally different. You must have both the drive and desire to achieve greatness to create your professional development plan template. Before working on your development plan, you first identify who you truly are and what you really want.

Therefore, self-analysis is the first step in creating a PDP. You should analyze your skills, strengths, weaknesses, habits, desires, and more. You should remain very honest with yourself. Next, by using the same format, make a list of all your weaknesses.

Set high-quality goals

When you make a plan, you will always need a goal and a vision. You can start working backward after you have set a number of high-quality goals. When thinking of your goals, aim for high-quality and less-quantity. By setting too many goals or goals that are too difficult, you don’t have to get overwhelmed. You just have to select a couple of big, attainable ones to work toward.

Moreover, you can see your own gaps by knowing your weaknesses and strengths. These gaps are the identifiers that inform you where you should go. When writing down your goals, take some time.

Come up with a realistic timeline

Deciding when you want to achieve your goals is another important aspect of your development plan template. Providing yourself a deadline shows that you’re more likely to achieve your goals. During making targets for your plan, you should ensure to allot more time for yourself as things seldom go as planned. Set your targets on a yearly basis. Also, you should schedule these targets around the chances you have to achieve.

Think of your strategy

You should have already determined the aspects you have to work on. Now, it’s time to think about how you can get these. Your professional development plan should have features to make sure effectiveness such as job-embedded, strategic, and ongoing.

In addition, by signing up for seminars and skills workshops offered by your company, you can become more effective in your plans. You must get yourself involved in different training sessions specifically in terms of business courses. Also, keep yourself updated with new technologies relevant to your field.

There are a lot of strategic ways of establishing the skills that you need to assist achieve your goals. Rather than rush them all at once, take them small chunks and relate all experiences learned to the skills mentioned in your development plan.

Maintain your focus

You have to start working on your goals right away when you finally have your timeline and action plan in hand. At first, pay attention to the first goal of your plan. After that, take the necessary steps every day to get it. When going through this, you must bear in mind the obligations you have in the current position that you hold.

Maintaining your focus is the most difficult one. This is because nowadays everyone and everything around us tries to catch our focus and attention. Focus is literally a valuable asset. If you can minimize distractions and always stay focused, you can easily achieve success. After setting your goals, you have to focus on working on it in a focused and productive manner.

Additionally, within a single timeframe, you have to pay attention on one task at a time rather than multitasking or trying to perform ten different tasks.

Start taking action

According to countless self-development philosophers, gurus, and hyper-capable human beings, there will be no results when there is no action. So, when you have identified your strengths and your goals, make for yourself an inspiring morning routine. Now, you are ready for the task. This is the action you’ll take to achieve your goal. You should make every day the life you want. You should tie your actions to your goals.


In conclusion, a development plan template is a document that demonstrates your goals for career development and the actions you have to take get them. This document serves as useful roadmaps. Your development plan should be could be as long and detailed as you want it to be.

Faqs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the important elements of a development plan?

The important elements of a development plan are;

1- Short-term objectives
2- More challenging long-term goal
3- Deadlines
4- Alternative solutions
5- How each goal will be measured and tracked

What are the stages of development plan?

Here are the stages of the development plan;

1- Gathering information
2- Giving paperwork to related parties
3- Making the initial plan
4- Identifying the plan and for making adjustments, collaborate with involved parties
5- Execute the final plan

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