Do you have a Personal Development Plan (PDP) in place with your employees? If the answer to that is no then you should consider that perhaps your employees aren’t as happy or motivated as they should be at work.

The point of a PDP is to help staff understand their skills and build up aspirations to work towards in your company. These employees want to feel that they’re progressing in their jobs and becoming better skilled members of the team, developing in a way that might allow them to advance through the ranks one day. Without a PDP in place, workers can struggle to get the satisfaction they want and feel as though they’re not making any progress because employers don’t discuss it with them.

A survey by breatheHR found that 37% of SME employees only have meetings about their personal development once a year, while another 30% of employees say they’ve never had any meetings. That translates to 4.7 million people getting no input to help them advance their career which is incredibly concerning given the state of the job market in this day and age.

However, despite many people being deprived of these appraisals, only 20% of employees actually find them motivating compared to 46% of employers. The likely reason for this is down to staff not feeling as though they’ve gotten enough from their appraisal, leaving them feeling as though the meeting was pointless and unrewarding.

With employers, performance reviews seem to be more about ticking boxes than investing interest in the development of their workers, meaning when it’s over they feel motivated because it’s another job out of the way. They ranked it fourth on a list of business priorities behind customer retention, new business and cash flow, definitely suggesting a lack of concern about employee satisfaction and progression.

The problem all comes down to feedback: how often it’s provided and in what form.

20% of the SME workforce involved in the survey said they’d never received any kind of feedback for their personal development outside of appraisals, while 21% only got it upon request. Employers seem reluctant to provide feedback and believe that once a year is best if any, while employees want a more frequent, dynamic approach to it. By being updated relatively consistently on how they’re performing in the job, they’ll have a better understanding of what to improve on and how to better themselves, creating a more motivated workforce.

Changes definitely need to be made on the employer’s part, but thankfully that’s easy enough to incorporate. It just needs to be remembered that everyone is different and therefore separate tactics might need to be applied for each employee to ensure that they get the best out of their individual appraisal sessions.


James Darvill

James is a passionate scriptwriter and reluctant poet with a talent for the dystopian. When he’s not staying up late watching the Simpsons he’s beating the world at Mario Kart, always with a glass of wine in hand.
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