Professional and Organizational Development

Individual Development Plan Process


Print the Individual Development Planning Guide [PDF]

Determine your objective
Identify any competencies you need to acquire in order to perform your current duties, and plan your future career development accordingly.


Collect all relevant materials
Use your Performance Management Tool (PMT) and job description to see if the duties within your current position help meet your career objectives.


Conduct competency assessment
Take some time to honestly assess your current competency levels. If there are any areas in which you need to either develop essential new skills or simply improve existing ones, focus on these areas to help meet your career objectives.


List developmental activities
Identify developmental opportunities that will help you attain or enhance the competencies identified.


Prioritize developmental activities
Set target dates and make any necessary contacts to set up your activities.


Implement development plan
Seek out and participate in relevant development programs or other professional activities which can help increase your skill level.


Evaluate your experiences
Assess whether the activities you have completed met your needs, and determine if you have attained the necessary level of competency.


Track your achievement of competencies
Use your Performance Management Tool (PMT) to track the achievement of competencies.

Create an Individual Development Plan

Creating an IDP offers several benefits.  For one, it can help employees plan for their future career development, and can increase the staff’s level of commitment to their professional growth.  Secondly, an IDP can help supervisors and managers forecast development costs and needs.

The easiest way to start putting together an IDP is to work with resources you should already have, including your Performance Management Tool (PMT) appraisal, and Rensselaer’s Professional Development Program catalog of courses, workshops, and seminars.

Determine what you want to get out of the process

Think about what you really hope to get out of putting together an IDP.  Do you want to assess your current level of competency relative to your present job, or determine what you need to do to move to the next level of competency?  Will you use the IPD to plan for a future career goal?

Regardless of your goal, you may find it helpful to begin by assessing your current competencies using your recent Performance Management appraisal, as noted above.

Discuss all job-related competencies with your supervisor

Meet with your supervisor to determine your current level of performance of each competency, and make a list of developmental activities that will expand your knowledge, skills, and ability in each targeted competency.

Next, list any competency areas in which you need to gain new skills or increase your proficiency. The most appropriate type of development activity will depend upon certain factors, such as the specific type of skill you need to develop.

Identify and prioritize your next steps

Once you and your supervisor have identified any necessary developmental activities, prioritize them and set a target completion date for each.  Also make sure that you clarify with your supervisor which development activities the organization will support.

After you have completed your IDP, your supervisor will make an effort to provide you with the opportunities you need to carry out the Plan. Remember, the IDP process is a tool, and not a formal agreement or guarantee of your success.

Competency is defined as a set of related knowledge, attitudes, and skills that affects a major part of one's job and correlates with their performance on the job.  This set of skills also compares to well-accepted standards, and should improve through learning and development.

There is an easy, two-step process required to register for Professional Development Courses:

  1. Register on-line through your Percipio account, using the Upcoming Events schedule.
  2. Complete and return (preferably electronically) the required Human Resources Professional Development Course Registration Form[PDF]. Each attendee must submit a registration form.

You will receive a written confirmation providing you with more details about the program. The registration deadline is usually two weeks prior to the program date, so if you have not received a written confirmation one week prior to the date, please contact the Division of Human Resources before planning to attend.

For more information on professional development courses, please refer to the “How to Get the Most Out of Training” PDF document .


Because enrollment in each course, workshop, or seminar is limited, Human Resources encourages all interested participants to register early. Please note that there may also be limits on the number of course participants from the same division, department, and school.


Registration fees vary depending on the course, workshop, or seminar, but include all course materials and refreshment breaks. When they register, course participants should indicate whether they have special dietary needs requiring accommodation.


Course registrants can make substitutions at any time. However, Human Resources will charge the full program fee for any course registration that is not canceled in writing five business days prior to the program date. The authorized representative of a division, department, or school who approves the registration form is responsible for any cancellations, substitutions, and payments.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact Will Fahey via e-mail or by dialing extension 2318.

Attend any number of live classroom seminars throughout the year. For a full list of live classroom seminars, and details on how to sign up to attend, view the Fiscal Year 2024 Live Classroom Seminar Schedule

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