Do you call it a ‘personal development plan’?

What is it called at your place? I’ve lost count of the terms out there: ‘Performance Management’, ‘Performance Appraisal’, ‘Performance Development Review’, ‘Personal Development Plan’. Whatsmore, that’s before we even get into the three-letter acronyms – PMP; PDR etc!

Performance Appraisal or personal development plan

Are they the same, and more importantly which is a priority for your organisation?

Well, we would recommend that to get the best out of your people, you should focus on both performance and development. However, it is essential that managers and staff understand the relationship between objectives and development. This is why we often use the term ‘performance management’ that encompasses objective setting, development, appraisal, and ongoing conversation.

Alignment of performance objectives and development actions

The key point to recognise is the fact that performance objectives and development actions should be aligned. We know of one business where development planning used to take place at the end of the year, during the performance appraisal meeting. At best people ended up going on courses as a reward for high performance, at worst they waited all year to get the development that they needed to succeed in the first place! They were actually delivering development 18 months too late, failing the individual and the business.

At Actus we would recommend the following year-round approach to performance:

1. Set objectives clearly at the start of the year.Year-round Performance Management Software
2. Review the objectives at the end of Q1 and identify any training or development needs that would enable or accelerate the achievement of these objectives
3. Document these development needs (ideally in a performance appraisal system like Actus) to allow L&D to address them in the shortest possible time
4. At the half-year point – check whether the needs have been met and review performance against the objectives plan
5. At the end of Q3, again assess as to whether all is on track and ideally invest the time talking about career goals or the longer-term plan
6. In Q4 complete the cycle, talk performance, and ratings if necessary, and set up for next year.


You can discover more about this approach by reading this blog on year-round performance appraisals.

So perhaps the ‘performance development process’ is the best term to use or in fact ‘performance management’ which is the exact process we describe above. Unfortunately, this term has too many connotations due to historic poor management practice – but that’s a subject for another blog!

One point to also remember is that when we are talking about developing people, the style and attitude of the meeting is also important. Open questions and a coaching style are the names of the game. You can read more on this by reading our Managers Guide, 7 Simple Steps to People Development (see below). For other interesting HR resources, visit our library of content via this link

7 Simple Steps to People Development

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