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Do you have a professional development plan?

Posted on 2/11/2017 by

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A professional development plan (PDP) is a plan of self-improvement, that allows you to reflect and progress on personal targets in your career. Our recent Survey Salary Reports have shown professionals are being offered less training than they would like, so a PDP is a great opportunity to take performance improvement into your own hands.

Having a PDP is essential to identify areas of strength and weaknesses in your day to day role, as well as your skills and qualities. It helps you to assess your experience in your current position and helps you to put steps in place to capitalise on your existing skills and capabilities for your career and future.

The fact that you are performing to your best ability supports your organisation, so you can ensure you are contributing your best skills to the cause - whether that’s in the not for profit, public or private health and social care sector.

If you don’t have a PDP, why not create one? Take control of your personal development and formulate a plan of action. It is great for self-motivation and protecting your employability.

Before you start, establish the purpose and direction you want to take. Construct your needs by reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses.

Think about what could be improved in general, or identify a need specific to your current role. Maybe it relates to new technology, consumer demands, legislation or changes to management’s vision.

You may have one key goal or several smaller areas for improvement, just be clear on what it is you want to achieve.

Make sure your PDP is SMART:

SMART refers to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound goals, which allow you to carefully plan the steps to success.


Set a specific goal, as they have a much higher chance of being accomplished than a general goal. Ask yourself:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do I want to achieve?
  • Where will I achieve this?
  • When will I have this completed?
  • Which factors are going to be requirements or constraints?
  • Why am I doing this?


Establish criteria for how you can measure progress towards your end goal. This will enable you to observe your development and allow you to easily identify if you are going off track.

Ensure your goal is quantifiable so that you know what the result should be and the benchmarks you should be reaching along the way.


Keep your goal realistic and achievable. By all means aim high and challenge your abilities, but make sure you’re not asking the impossible.


It is key to ensure your goal matters to you, that it meets your needs and is tailored to you with the right plans at the right time.  

In order to stay motivated, your goal should be suited to your current situation and be meaningful to you personally.


Every goal should have a target completion time so that you have a deadline to work towards. Think about when you ideally want to have achieved it by and set a realistic due date.

Consider the long and short term elements of completing your goal. Ask yourself what you can do on a daily, weekly, and monthly (maybe even annual) basis.

If you’re creating a PDP, we are sure that SMART objectives will help you plan for and achieve your goals.

We hope you have found this article useful. For more insights from the TPP team, click here.