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As a manager, it’s your job to support your employees' work. But to have the greatest impact, you need to go beyond their day-to-day tasks and support employees in their plans for the future.
Professional development does more than just help the individual—it’s also good for the team and company at large, boosting retention and increasing employee engagement. Which is why it’s so important to create a plan for professional development that is consistent and aligns with your company’s values. Enter: your custom professional development plan template.
A professional development plan template is a reusable tool to create new professional development plans. Depending on the size of your company, this may be created by the HR department or by individual managers to support internal employee mobility or overall professional development.
Professional development plan templates are a way to streamline professional development plans (PDPs) and help your employee’s form an action plan. Since each employee’s professional goals are different, they also have different professional development plans. That’s why it’s so helpful to use a template with consistent steps—no matter how different the goals, you can always offer the same level of support for every employee. With measurable action items, you can help team members go from where they are right now to where they want to be.
Your professional development planning template serves as a company-wide tool to encourage professional growth. But even beyond that, your template provides many additional benefits, including:
Team-wide support. By supporting individual professional development, you’re helping to lift up your entire team and—ultimately—the company overall.
Remove bias. Because you are following the same steps to assist your team regardless of individual differences, role, or your relationship, you are eliminating potential unconscious biases.
Create consistency. Templates provide a consistent, measurable framework for performance reviews.
Your career development plan template should include a few different sections that encompass: employee information, current skills, career goals, and action items to develop missing skills.
Include the key information points about the employee—who are they? And what do they do on your team? This should list their current role and responsibilities, as well as general information—such as their name and start date. You can also include previous jobs, which is especially helpful if they’ve had a non-traditional career path.
This is where you determine the gap between the individual’s current skills (both hard and soft skills) and their professional development goals. The purpose of this assessment is to outline a career path—where is the individual now, and where do they want to be? This helps you to identify development opportunities. For example, what professional development needs do they need support with to help them get where they want to go? What do they need to do on their own? This will inform the action items you create for both you (the manager) and the individual.
Turn the insights from the skills gap assessment into action. For example, if the employee is looking to change teams and take on a new role, they might need to take classes. If they want to move into leadership, it could help them find a mentor. On the flipside, you’ll also want to create action items for you as a manager. These could be things like connecting your employee to the manager of another team or assigning them to projects that will help them improve upon their skills.
Essentially, your template will help you work through the professional development process for anyone on your team. This is how to use it, and the best way to do so:
Use supporting software. Use a project management tool to coordinate professional development so team members can easily track long and short-term goals in real-time. You can then create action items based on the goals you set, all without ever leaving the tool.
Reference your template. Use your professional development template as a baseline tool, then reference it for follow-up check-in’s during and after key milestones. Edit and adjust the professional development plan if and when goals ultimately change by creating new copies of your template as needed.
Make your professional development process actionable. Use the template to evaluate employee’s performance and create an individual professional development plan, with key action items and deadlines. This creates a set timeframe for when and how the individual will improve, which will better help their overall employee performance.
Connect with Human Resources. Professional development plan templates don’t need to just be team based. The HR team at your company can use a template to identify and create key development programs for the staff, so that developing new skills and competencies to improve your performance is built into the culture.
List View. List View is a grid-style view that makes it easy to see all of your project’s information at a glance. Like a to-do list or a spreadsheet, List View displays all of your tasks at once so you can not only see task titles and due dates, but also view any relevant custom fields like Priority, Status, or more. Unlock effortless collaboration by giving your entire team visibility into who’s doing what by when.
Goals. Goals in Asana directly connect to the work you’re doing to hit them, making it easy for team members to see what they’re working towards. More often than not, our goals live separate from the work that goes into achieving them. By connecting your team and company goals to the work that supports them, team members have real-time insight and clarity into how their work directly contributes to your team—and company—success. As a result, team members can make better decisions. If necessary, they can identify the projects that support the company’s strategy and prioritize work that delivers measurable results.
Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal.
Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.
Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.
Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack.
Google Workplace. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.
OneDrive. Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Microsoft OneDrive file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach files from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
Create a professional development plan template in a digital format so it’s easy to replicate and use. Include sections for general employee information, a skills gap assessment, and action items to move their career goals forward. In the skills section, be sure to list both the employee’s current role and responsibilities and their goals, so you can see what’s missing. Then, use that information to create your action items.
A professional development plan looks at the overall path of the employee—where are they now, and where do they want to go? The performance appraisal looks solely at what they’ve done so far, and how they’ve contributed to the company. The two can be used together to help better understand the path your employee should take for their growth. For example, you can use a performance appraisal to see if an employee is moving closer to the goals they listed in their professional development plan.
Professional development plan templates help you streamline your professional development plan process so it is consistent for every employee. This helps to reduce biases and provides a measurable framework for employee reviews. It also provides mutual accountability for both you as the manager and the employee, so you can better support everyone on your team.
Build a professional development plan template that boosts growth and retention with Asana.