Do you have an EDP? I don´t, because I´m not actually an employee. But if I were I would definitely have an employee development plan. When I was working for someone else I would have appreciated the opportunity to participate in creating goals and objectives based on my performance. I think I would have wanted to have some kind of time line, a schedule that would hold me accountable for getting things done. But I have to say I cannot remember ever coming close to having this as part of my performance. Most of us were fairly overworked at the time, doing the work of more than one and basically reviewing our performance during a short meeting.
What´s interesting about having an EDP is what it can do for the individual. It introduces another form of accountability-to oneself, probably the best kind of accountability. The other benefit of creating an EDP is how it can help you achieve the kind of outside training that might be necessary for you to accomplish you job. If you need to take a specific software class that´s not offered within your company, for example, then by including it in the EDP you demonstrate not only your ability to identify what´s necessary for you to improve your performance but your willingness, too, to follow through.
Often EDPs fail simply because people don´t put the time into it. It´s sort of like exercise. If it´s not important to you, you won´t find time in your schedule to get it done. Believe me, if I could I would hit the gym at around 11 a.m. every day or maybe a few hours after lunch when a good workout would really wake me up. But that´s not practical. I´m fairly stuck to my desk and the keyboard I´m clicking away at now, so I get up really early (5 a.m.) nearly every day (even on the weekends so that I can work on a book I´m trying to finish up) so that I can work out. I need to exercise for all the obvious reasons-it´s good for you, and all that-but when I don´t I´m pretty unhappy. The point is this: I put time into it, but as I say to people who want to write, for instance, you´ve got to give up something. So if you want your EDP to be successful, you might need to remove something from your schedule so that you can put the time you need into something worthwhile-like your career.
Of course it´s not all about you. Developmental planning processes aren´t simply initiated out of employer´s good heart. Employers want a return on their investment. Really and truly. So it´s not just about making a list and checking it twice, three times and on and on. It´s about getting the individual´s goals matched up to the organization´s ideas of what it takes to succeed. Makes sense, but too often that doesn´t happen. Why? Probably because no one has taken the time to figure out how to get them aligned. Even though you might have a bunch of individual employee development plans percolating within one company it´s really a big picture process, one that needs an infrastructure that someone´s paying attention to.
Next time: more about EDPs