Why Employees Hate Development Plans and How to Fix It

Why Employees Hate Development Plans and How to Fix It

I once had a coaching client confide to me that professional development just “wasn’t his thing.” His point: some people don’t see the value in the extra effort required for formalized self-improvement activities at work. This individual was a highly educated, hard-working and effective professional; I wouldn’t characterize him as a slacker.

What is an Individual Development Plan? (IDP)
As you might imagine, he isn’t a big fan of individual development plans, or IDPs. Many companies have a formal process for professional development and use IDPs to facilitate that process. Longtime leadership blogger Dan McCarthy defines an IDP as such: “a tool that helps facilitate employee development. It’s a two-way commitment between an employee and their manager on what they are going to do to grow.”

The IDP process can be effective when implemented properly. And yet, every year when it comes time to fill one out, people struggle to do so. Some of the struggle can be attributed to blasé attitudes like my client’s. Beyond that, the reasons people hate IDPs are more likely due to correctable external factors rather than an innate indifference to personal growth.