2 Templates and Examples: Individual Development Plan

An individual development plan (IDP) is a valuable tool that helps you identify your goals, strengths, and areas for growth. By creating and regularly reviewing your IDP, you can align your personal development with your professional aspirations, ensuring continued growth and improvement in your career. When crafting your IDP, it is important to include your specific short-term and long-term goals, identified skills to develop, and the necessary resources or support. You may also wish to set specific timelines or milestones to track your progress. To simplify the process, we have provided a complete IDP template and a detailed example to guide you in creating your own. By following this guide, you will be well on your way to designing a strategic professional development plan that will unlock your full potential and elevate your career.

What Is an Individual Development Plan?

An individual development plan (IDP) is a tool designed to help you identify your professional development needs and set clear goals for personal growth. IDPs can improve your overall job satisfaction and performance, and they are often used by employers to support employee development and retention.

In an IDP, you should include a thorough assessment of your current skills, as well as a list of areas where you would like to develop further expertise. This may involve identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth. To maximize the effectiveness of your IDP, it’s important to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that focus on your desired outcomes and actionable steps to achieve them. Related: 60 Self-Performance Review Goals Examples

Implementing an IDP in your office can be a valuable way to boost employee performance, job satisfaction, and long-term career development. Consider encouraging your team to create individual plans by providing resources and guidance, scheduling regular progress meetings, and offering relevant training and development opportunities.

The Importance of Individual Development Plans

Employee Engagement and Retention

An individual development plan (IDP) is a valuable tool for improving employee engagement. By investing in your employees’ professional development, you show that you care about their long-term goals and career success. This can lead to higher job satisfaction, increased motivation, and ultimately, better retention rates.

Career Growth and Succession Planning

IDPs can also support career growth and succession planning within your organization. By actively identifying your employees’ strengths and areas for improvement, you can help them pursue their career aspirations. Moreover, you can align their professional goals with the needs of your company, ensuring a pipeline of qualified candidates for key positions in the future.

Performance Improvement

Implementing IDPs can lead to significant performance improvements as well. By setting clear expectations and measurable objectives, employees are better equipped to focus on their areas of growth. Additionally, regular performance reviews and monitoring of their progress can help keep them accountable and invested in their development. This not only benefits the individual employee but also contributes to the overall success of your organization.

Components of an IDP

Goals and Objectives

When crafting your Individual Development Plan (IDP), it’s crucial to establish clear goals and objectives. Ensure that your objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) to set a strong foundation for success. Consider both short-term and long-term aspirations as you outline your desired milestones.

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses is vital in developing a well-rounded IDP. Your strengths can be areas where you naturally excel, such as communication skills or proficiency in software like Excel. Recognize and list your weaknesses, as well, to help you target areas for improvement and growth.

Action Steps

Once you have determined your goals and assessed your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to outline action steps. These are specific, manageable tasks that will lead you toward accomplishing your objectives. Be thorough in your planning, and ensure that your action steps provide a clear path toward achieving both short-term and long-term goals.


Establishing realistic timeframes for each action step is essential in holding yourself accountable and measuring progress. For each action step, set a target completion date. Remember to give yourself enough time for each action, and be prepared to adjust your timeframes as necessary throughout the implementation process.

Creating an Individual Development Plan


Begin by conducting a self-assessment to evaluate your current skills and identify areas for improvement. Use performance reviews as a starting point and consider the following steps:

  1. Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses
  2. Determine your career goals and desired outcomes
  3. Identify skill gaps between your current abilities and future goals
  4. Create a plan to address these skill gaps

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Mentorship and Feedback

Seek out mentorship and feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or industry professionals. It can be tremendously helpful to have experienced individuals provide guidance and advice. Use their feedback to:

  • Refine your self-assessment and skill gap analysis
  • Gain insights into industry trends and opportunities
  • Develop new skills or further improve existing ones

Establish regular check-ins with your mentors to track your progress and maintain accountability.

Career and Skill Development

Explore development opportunities to acquire new skills and enhance your career prospects. Consider the following options:

  • In-house training programs
  • External workshops, seminars, or courses
  • Professional certifications
  • Online resources and self-paced study materials

Remember to align these opportunities with your self-assessment results and feedback from mentors.

How to Create IDP

To create your own IDP, consider including the following key components:

  • Personal Information:
    Your name, job title, department, and contact details.
  • Current Skills Assessment (Strengths):
    A list of your skills, experience, and areas of expertise.
  • Development Needs Assessment (Weaknesses):
    Areas where you would like to improve or develop new skills.
  • Objective Statement:
    A clear statement of your career goals and what you hope to achieve through your IDP.
  • Goals:
    Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals to work towards.
  • Action Plan:
    Concrete steps, resources, and support needed to achieve your goals.
  • Timeline:
    A timeframe for achieving each goal, including benchmarks and milestones.
  • Progress Tracking:
    A system for monitoring your progress and adjusting your plan as needed.

IDP Template 1

Self-Assessment Mentorship and Feedback Career and Skill Development
Strengths: Mentor 1: In-house training:
– Communication skills Jane Smith – Project Management Course
– Problem-solving Mentor 2: External workshops:
Weaknesses: John Doe – Leadership Workshop
– Time management Professional certifications:
– Leadership skills – PMP Certification
Goals: Online resources:
– Obtain a management – Time Management Webinar
position within 3 – Leadership eBook
Skill Gaps:
– Time management
– Leadership
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For example, let’s say you’re a marketing professional seeking to improve your digital marketing skills. Your IDP might include the following:

  • Example of Objective Statement: To become a versatile and skilled digital marketer within two years, proficient in key areas such as content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media advertising.
  • Example of SMART Goals:
    • Improve content marketing skills to the level of industry best practices within six months.
    • Achieve Google Analytics certification within three months.
    • Develop a comprehensive understanding of search engine optimization, with the ability to implement effective strategies within nine months.
  • Example of Action Plan:
    • Attend online courses, workshops, and relevant industry events to learn from experts and gain practical experience.
    • Seek opportunities to collaborate with colleagues on digital marketing projects and initiatives.
    • Allocate time each week for self-study and practice of new skills.

IDP Template 2


Objective Performance Improvement Plan Skills Development Mentorship & Coaching Goal Setting Action Steps Timelines Tracking & Evaluation
Example Example Example Example Example Example Example Example


Let’s say you’d like to get a promotion in your marketing department. Your IDP could look like this:

Objective: Become a Marketing Manager in the next two years.

Performance improvement plan: Improve project management skills and acquire higher-level marketing certifications.

Skills development:

  • Learn advanced project management techniques
  • Complete professional certification in digital marketing

Mentorship and coaching: Work closely with your manager or a senior colleague to get guidance on project management and marketing strategies.

Goal Setting:

  1. Complete a project management course within six months.
  2. Obtain a professional marketing certification within one year.
  3. Successfully lead at least three major projects by the end of year two.

Action Steps:

  • Research and sign up for a suitable project management course.
  • Study for a professional marketing certification exam.
  • Request to be assigned to key projects as project lead.


  • Project management course: completed within six months
  • Marketing certification: obtained within one year
  • Lead three major projects: completed by the end of year two

Tracking and evaluation: Regularly review your progress with your manager, seeking feedback on your performance and adjusting your IDP as needed.

Implementing IDP in the Workplace

Manager’s Role in IDP Process

To implement an Individual Development Plan (IDP) in your workplace, it is crucial to understand and emphasize the manager’s role. As a manager, you should collaborate with your employees and HR to develop personalized IDPs. This will help your employees reach their professional goals while contributing to the organization’s success.

During the IDP process, you’ll assist your employees in setting realistic goals aligned with their career aspirations as well as the objectives of your organization. It’s essential for you, as a manager, to offer guidance, provide resources, and create a supportive environment that encourages growth.

Monitoring and Adjusting IDP

An effective IDP is a flexible and dynamic tool that requires ongoing evaluation. To ensure successful implementation, regularly monitor your employees’ progress towards their objectives. Schedule periodic performance reviews, solicit feedback from both employees and supervisors, and adjust the IDP as needed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the key components of an IDP?

An individual development plan (IDP) includes a clear set of goals, a timeline for achieving them, and actionable steps to help you get there. The key components are:

  1. Objective – Identify your long-term career goals.
  2. Skills – Determine what skills you need to develop or improve on.
  3. Action Steps – List specific activities to enhance your skills and work towards your objective.
  4. Timeline – Establish deadlines for completing each action step.
  5. Measurement – Identify benchmarks to gauge and track your progress.

How do you create an effective IDP?

To create an effective IDP, follow these steps:

  1. Self-assess:
    Evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, and career aspirations.
  2. Set SMART goals:
    Choose specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound objectives.
  3. Identify the necessary skills:
    Determine the competencies and qualifications needed to achieve your goals.
  4. Develop action steps:
    Map out detailed activities, courses, or projects to improve the required skills.
  5. Collaborate with your manager:
    Seek feedback and support from your manager to ensure alignment with organizational goals.
  6. Monitor and revise:
    Regularly review your IDP to update your goals and make adjustments as needed.

What are some common goals in an IDP?

Common goals in an IDP can vary, depending on your career aspirations. Examples include:

  1. Developing leadership or managerial skills.
  2. Gaining expertise in a specific field or industry.
  3. Enhancing communication or presentation skills.
  4. Learning a new technical skill, such as software programming or data analysis.
  5. Building networking or collaboration abilities.

How can you track progress in an IDP?

To track progress in your IDP, establish regular check-ins with yourself and your manager. Monitor your progress by comparing your achievements to the benchmarks and deadlines set in your plan. Update your IDP as needed to reflect changes in your objectives, skills, or action steps.

What is the role of a manager in an employee’s IDP?

A manager plays a critical role in an employee’s IDP by:

  1. Providing guidance and support in setting realistic goals.
  2. Offering resources, such as training and mentorship opportunities.
  3. Facilitating regular check-ins to assess progress and address challenges.
  4. Advocating for the employee’s growth and development within the organization.
  5. Encouraging the employee to own and take responsibility for their career development.

How can an IDP contribute to career growth?

An IDP contributes to your career growth by providing a structured framework for personal and professional development. By setting clear goals, identifying required skills, and planning actionable steps, you gain a deeper understanding of your aspirations and what it takes to achieve them. Your IDP can also help you navigate potential opportunities within your organization and chart a path for long-term success.

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