PDPs and CPD

Personal development plans

Personal development plans go by a number of different names and labels, including professional development plans, personal objectives or goals, and so on.

So what exactly is a personal development plan?

Essentially, a development plan is a performance management tool that is used by an employer to give the employee focus on what they need to achieve in order to fulfil their professional role. It aims to ensure that an employee is fully proficient in every aspect of their job.

It is typically reviewed at appraisal time but should actually be constantly referred to as it sets out aspirations for employee achievement.

A development plan requires the employee and employer to work together to plan for and then evidence achievement of a certain criteria.

The employee and the employer should each take responsibility for achievement and development of the personal development plan, although of course, it is ultimately for the employee to reach the required expectation or performance of their role.

The relevance of personal development plans to time management is that by its very nature, a PDP is a process linked to learning and development that calls for planning and scheduling. 

It calls for time management as it is a timescale related tool and the items that it records as aspirations may also appear in an action plan, “to do” list, schedule, or other time management technique.

As an aside and only nominally linked to time management, but nevertheless of great importance, also relevant is the role of the PDP in terms of regulatory compliance.

The FCA’s Training and Competence rules are outcome-focused and a firm’s training arrangements must include evaluation of that training. A well thought out personal development plan can help to evidence outcomes and evaluation.

Continuing professional development (CPD)

Before closing, we will also mention CPD.

When scheduling for learning, it is necessary to be fully aware of – and plan for – any continuing professional development obligations.

Those belonging to professional bodies or institutes will almost certainly have a minimum CPD requirement to complete. For the Chartered Insurance Institute, for example, this is expressed in terms of time-related points that must be recorded.

Another institute demands a reflective learning statement that requires members to review their learning over the past year and set development objectives for the coming year.

Some employers have CPD requirements too – whether informal or expressed within a role profile or contract of employment.

In addition, regulators may have a minimum CPD requirement. For example, from 1st January 2013 financial advisers must complete a minimum of 35 hours of CPD each year of which 21 hours must be structured (courses, lectures, seminars, or workshops). Advisers will be able to include some relevant reading as part of their CPD, although the majority will have to be structured.

All CPD should focus on demonstrable change to improve skills and knowledge.

Be sure to fully understand your CPD obligations and capture them in your scheduling and planning activities.