Good Practice for Performance Development

Business goals are best accomplished through the commitment from every member of staff to provide professional and high quality work efforts.

To ensure that everyone within your business can meet this commitment you should:

  • Identify targets
  • Develop everyone’s ability to perform at their best so that they can reach these targets
  • Enable adaptability to take advantage of changes in the business.

A Performance Development Plan is a way of ensuring that these things get done. Performance development is about being clear what is expected of a member of staff and about receiving the right development and support that allows them to succeed. It is also about measuring their performance so that it can be recognised for the contribution that they make.

What is a Performance Development Plan

A Performance Development Plan (or PDP) is a written agreement between a member of staff and their line manager about what they are going to achieve during the year, how they are going to achieve it and the development they need to help them get there. It should be a summary of all the work and development activities they will be expected to complete.

Their performance development plan will be used as a record of their objectives and of their progress against them. It should be a living document that should be continually updated. The objectives may change over time. Some objectives may be completed before the end of the year and they or their manager may add new ones. The document should be regularly reviewed and updated with their progress.

How to put together a PDP

Putting together a PDP is all about setting objectives for what individual staf members plan to deliver, how they plan to deliver it and what development they need to help them get there.

Their line manager should meet with them to agree their objectives and may define and set some objectives for them to ensure they meet business requirements. All their objectives need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based (SMART). Improve perfmance with Smarter Objectives.

Setting Objectives

Objectives should include what a staff member needs to achieve, and to what level they will be expected to achieve them.

Examples of objectives include:

  • A piece of work which needs to be delivered by a particular date
  • A service which needs to be maintained to a defined level
  • Something they do on a regular basis
  • A change in working practice
  • A skill or piece of technical knowledge that they need to develop.

Timescales depend on the nature of the objective, but they should always have a date that it needs to be achieved by. If they are expected to do something on an ongoing basis they could still look at this monthly or quarterly to see how they are doing.

What Resources are required

This is about identifying how a member of staff are going to achieve their objectives and may include considering the help they may need, including training, as well as behaviour attitude and actions needed.

Examples of resources required include:

  • An activity they do on a regular basis (e.g. having regular meetings with their team, sharing information with colleagues)
  • A way of interacting with people (e.g. developing rapport, asking people questions to understand their needs)
  • A personal approach to their work (e.g. making suggestions for improvements, striving to be the best)
  • A principle or principles to abide by (e.g. always being open and honest, always responding promptly)
  • Development strategies, skills improvement.

Development strategies include any learning or experience that will develop their skills and help improve their performance. There are many ways to learn new things other than just attending a training course.

Examples of development objectives include:

  • A period of time spent observing someone
  • One to one coaching with their manager, or with someone who has the skills they are looking to develop
  • Practising a change in approach or behaviour
  • Leading on an activity for their team
  • Attending a training programme or conference
  • Completing a project.

Best ways to monitor progress

Formal and informal reviews at regular intervals throughout the year will provide them with an opportunity to have a discussion about their progress, show how they have achieved against their objectives and discuss any other issues.

After they have met their objectives, make it their responsibility to update their PDP with a note of their progress, any additional objectives and areas for development.

Review meetings

A staff memeber and their line manager should have regular discussions about their performance throughout the year. At the half year point and/or at the end of each year and formal meeting that is recorded and a summary of performance can be recorded.

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