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Individual Development Plans (IDPs) – All You Need to Know

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What is an IDP?

An Individual Development Plan (IDP) is a personal strategic plan to realize job-related, career-related, and/or professional development objectives. An employee can collaborate with supervisors, managers, mentors, colleagues, family – all those people who are invested in that individual – to develop it. For supervisors, an IDP is a commitment between you and your employee to help guide their growth and professional development

NIH and IDPs
At NIH, the goals of IDPs are to (1) facilitate job fulfilment through competency and connectedness, (2) increase employee morale and engagement through the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, and (3) serve as a medium for ensuring employees have the necessary competencies for future responsibilities and requirements (including succession planning). 

The IDP Process
The creation of an IDP starts with an initial conversation between the supervisor and employee to identify career objectives and related growth areas (future job functions and related competencies). It’s also a prime time to agree on an IDP discussion schedule -which is separate from a conversation about performance related matters.

The IDP process consists of 5 stages:

  1. Defining career objectives and related competencies
  2. Identifying and assessing growth areas 
  3. Strategizing best and most appropriate possibilities for enabling and spurring growth
  4. Reconciling possibilities within the overall context of short- and long-term objectives, and 
  5. Monitoring, assessing, and adapting the IDP as needed.


For more information about IDPs, schedule an IDP Consultation via the NIH Training Center