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14 Individual Development Plan Examples & Templates

Written by: Michelle Martin

Feb 15, 2023

Individual Development Plans

The terms Individual Development Plan and Employee Development Plan are often used interchangeably, but the outcome is the same: a document outlining a person’s professional and career goals with an action plan to get there.

Does every employee in your organization have an IDP? Or if you’re here to make one, has your manager discussed a plan for your professional development?

If your answer is “no” to either, you can’t afford to ignore individual development plans any longer. Companies that invest in employee development earn, on average, 11% higher profits than those that don’t.

Not to fear: Here’s everything you need to know about creating useful individual development plans plus easy to use professional IDP templates to boost your profits and attract and retain top talent.


Click to jump ahead:

What is an individual development plan?

An individual development plan (IDP) is a collaborative document between a manager and an employee to define career goals and map out how to learn new skills or improve current ones. It matches an employee’s strengths and interests to key business objectives.

Usually, individual development plans are part of the annual performance review and general employee development discussion. But you can make or update one anytime.

You can also create an individual development plan for yourself to pursue career or personal learning goals.

IDPs usually include:

  • Short and long-term career goals the employee wants to achieve.
  • Current skills the employee wants to improve, or new ones to learn.
  • Skills the manager wants the employee to further develop.
  • Specific action steps to achieve the goals (e.g. taking a course, attending a workshop, finding a mentor, etc).

Many different formats work well for individual development plans, from plain text documents to elaborate tables and timelines. Mix and match blocks, tables, and more with this flexible IDP template to customize it to your career goals.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Template

Why do you need an individual development plan?

Individual development plans are beneficial to everyone, including the company. IDPs encourage your employees to voice their career goals and co-create a plan to get there. Even if they end up leaving for another company in the future, you benefit from their new skills until then.

Your employee will likely also be grateful for their growth with you and happily refer others to open roles. Since we’re in one of the tightest labor markets ever, referrals and word of mouth can mean the difference between filling your open positions or not.

Individual development plans also address a real business need: 56% of businesses surveyed by Statistics Canada in 2022 said most of their employees weren’t “fully proficient” at their jobs. If your company has over 100 employees, that most certainly applies to you as 93% of large companies responded that way, whereas only 33% of companies with less than four employees did.

IDPs help your employees learn the skills they need to achieve their own goals, but they’re also key to ensuring your business needs are met.

Components of an individual development plan

Remember, an IDP is a flexible tool. As your goals and circumstances change, so should your plan. It’s all about taking ownership of your career development and reaching your full potential!

Here are the key components of an effective IDP:

1. Self-assessment:

  • Strengths: What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?
  • Areas for improvement: Be honest – what skills could you use some work on?
  • Values: What matters most to you in your career? What kind of impact do you want to make?

2. Goal setting:

  • Short-term: Set specific, achievable goals for the next few months that align with your overall career aspirations.
  • Long-term: Think bigger! Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Set some aspirational goals to keep you motivated.

3. Development activities:

  • Identify activities – Think training courses, workshops or taking on new challenges – that will help you reach your goals.
  • Create a timeline that’s realistic considering your time and resources.
  • Figure out what resources you need – financial support, time off or specific tools.

4. Monitoring and evaluation:

  • Have regular check-ins with your manager or advisor to discuss your progress.
  • Track your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed.
  • Celebrate your successes and learn from any setbacks.

14 individual development plan examples and tips

Individual development plan examples for supervisors

Individual development plans (IDPs) for supervisors serve as roadmaps for team growth, tailoring skill development to specific roles in the team and organizational goals.

These plans aren’t just about meeting company goals; they also help supervisors achieve their career aspirations while supporting the growth of their team members.

Are you (or your employee) a visual person? Just because most individual development plans look like traditional documents doesn’t mean yours has to. Try out this creative and colorful quadrant template to prioritize goals and actions by their importance, due date, or any other criteria that make sense to you.

Healthcare Performance Training Development Venn Diagram Template

This template is structured as a corrective action plan but could also work well for an IDP. As a reminder, IDPs aren’t a disciplinary tool or for underperforming employees. Everyone should have an individual development plan focusing on their strengths, while also acknowledging weaknesses that may impact the achievement of career goals.

Employee Corrective Action Plan Template

Give this worksheet-style template to your employee before your IDP meeting to find out their goals and how they view their progress so far. By getting their ideas on paper first, you’ll make better use of meeting time to discuss actions and solutions.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Worksheet Template

Another great template for visual folks, this serves well as a progress tracker for the action steps in your IDP. The simple, one-page format is quick to update and makes it easy to see progress toward your goals.

Marketing Skills Training Matrix Roadmap Template

Individual development plan examples for leadership

Imagine a leadership-focused IDP as your personal roadmap for tackling the twists and turns of leadership roles. It’s not just about growing your own leadership skills, but also about making a real impact on the success of the whole organization.

A leadership IDP may include targeted training programs to enhance communication, decision-making, and strategic thinking skills.

A stylish table format is effective for communicating career goals and action steps which are both important parts of an IDP. List the goal category on the left, the action step in the middle and a target due date on the right.

For example, a goal category could be “improving public speaking skills.” An action step could be joining a local Toastmasters group or hosting a Lunch and Learn for the office.

Leadership Readiness Checklist Template

If you’re a manager assessing your team’s leadership skills, this template could be another self-evaluation tool for your employee to fill out prior to your IDP meeting. Or, use it as a progress tracker by listing out the actions and ranking them from “Not Started” to “Complete.”

Leadership Skills Inventory and Self-Assessment Checklist Template

Individual development plan example for career

Think of your Individual Development Plan (IDP) for your career as your personalized roadmap to success.

For instance, your career-focused IDP might include short-term goals like acquiring new skills through workshops or online courses. Long-term goals may revolve around taking on challenging projects to showcase your capabilities and climbing the professional ladder.

An individual development plan is a lot like a product roadmap, except with your career goals instead of new features. This simple timeline template is a good way to work through the order you’ll need to accomplish action items in and set target deadlines.

It’s also useful for visual thinkers to see a simplistic overview of their trajectory on one page. You can detail each goal or step in subsequent pages.

Simple Iconic Career Roadmap Template

Using a 30, 60, and 90 day timeline is an effective way to break down large goals into achievable steps per quarter. This can also work as a one-page quarterly plan — just add an extra column — or a multi-year plan.

30 60 90 Day Plan Template

This template serves as a compact yet detailed action plan that’s perfect for goal tracking in your individual development plan.

Plan Of Action And Milestones Template

Individual development plan examples for managers

Often, an IDP has a big goal in mind, like being the head of a division or something else several steps ahead of you. In order to get there, you need to break it down into smaller goals along the way.

Growing into a C-suite position could mean first managing an important project, then a small team, and then a larger team, and so on. By visually planning the smaller goals along the way, you (or your employee) have realistic expectations of what’s needed to get to the ultimate goal and a focused approach to get there.

Healthcare Individual Development Plan Process Infographic Template

This multi-page template is highly flexible so every page of your IDP will look professional and on-brand. Easily add tables, lists, and more to the content pages as needed to create a detailed and aesthetic development plan.

Microlearning Onboarding Menu Materials Template

While this is set up as an orientation plan, you could easily customize it as an individual development plan.

Blue New Employee Orientation Checklist

If you like a quarterly planning approach, this template is helpful to detail the action steps you need to take for the rest of the year.

Colorful Quarterly Product Roadmap

Individual development plan example for government employees

Feeling like your career in a government agency could use a refresh? Individual Development Plans (IDPs) can be a helpful tool for that.

IDPs are a great way to take ownership of your career development, gain valuable skills and contribute even more effectively to your government organization’s mission.

For example, as a government healthcare worker, your IDP might involve specific activities like attending relevant workshops, seeking mentorship from experienced colleagues or even shadowing other professionals in your field.

Here’s what it might look like:

Healthcare Individual Development Plan

Individual development plan examples for IT professionals

Individual Development Plans (IDPs) can be a valuable tool for IT professionals to navigate the ever-changing tech landscape.

When drafting your IT individual development plan, try to find out beforehand if your company offers internal training programs, tuition reimbursement or professional development opportunities.

You could also consider attending industry conferences, workshops and webinars to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.

Too much to take in? That’s exactly why you need an IDP – It helps you map out goals and the steps to reach them. Check out this quick development plan template to discuss with your manager or colleague.

Operations Leadership Development Program

How to make an individual development plan

Any of the templates above can be your starting point for creating your organization’s IDP template, or choose from all our business templates. Some templates are available only to our paid subscribers, but all the options above are free for everyone to use.

Starting with a template saves time and ensures your finished IDP looks polished and professional. It’s easy to customize any of these with our free online editor in just a few clicks.

Step 1: Sign up for a free Venngage account

All you need is an email address to sign up for a free Venngage account.

No free trials, credit card numbers, or any of that. You can edit any of our free templates with your free account… for free, okay?

Step 2: Choose an individual development plan template to customize

Pick one of the templates mentioned above or browse our full database of Human Resources templates, including lettersplanspresentations, and more.

Venngage Human Resources Templates

Step 3: Edit the template for your IDP

Once you’ve picked a template, the fun part begins: Making it your own. Click Create on any template to enter the editor where you can change colors, text, graphics, and more.

I’m using this IDP checklist template as an example:

employee checklist IDP template

I like to match a new template to my brand first as this saves a lot of time if you want to duplicate the page to add more content later.

Our Business and Premium subscriptions offer My Brand Kit to store your colors, fonts, and logos for easy template customization anywhere for your entire team. But no worries for our free account holders: Editing is just as easy.

Click on any text area or graphic to edit it. Type new text, or use the top menu to change color, font, size, spacing, and more.

Type new text, or use the top menu to change color, font, size, spacing, and more.

You can replace existing graphics with one of our 3 million+ free stock photos, over 40,000 illustrations and icons, or upload your own.

Explore the left side menu to add a background or a new layout, like a graph or table. You can also click and drag objects around the page to your liking. Use the right side menu to duplicate the current page or add a new blank one to your document.

Upload, add or replace photos, duplicate current page and add a new blank page

Step 4: Share or save your new IDP

Once you’re happy with your new individual development plan template, click on the Share icon or Download button to save it to your computer (Business or Premium accounts).

So easy, right?

Share or save your new IDP

Individual development plan FAQs

What are good IDP goals?

There aren’t “good” or “bad” goals as each IDP is as unique as the individual it’s for. However, effective IDP goals have a few things in common, like being:

  • Related to the employee’s career path.
  • Achievable in the specified timeframe. (You can list out big goals but ensure the action steps to start with are reasonable to accomplish, or at least start, within the next year.)
  • Collaboratively planned between manager and employee, with both having input.

If your employee wants to lead their department one day but hasn’t managed anyone before, some good IDP goals to set for the upcoming year could be:

  • Taking a leadership course or program from a nearby or online business school.
  • Leading a big project, including supervising their peers and providing feedback.
  • Finding a leadership mentor within the company and regularly checking in with them.

How can I support my employee’s IDP goals?

This depends what your employee’s goals are, but a few general ideas are to:

  • Offer time to try new roles and responsibilities to learn new skills.
  • Reimburse or partially cover courses, seminars, and other educational tools.
  • Encourage your employee to start a side hustle or passion project to learn from.
  • Offer professional development days, separate from vacation time.
  • Create a mentorship program to connect junior and senior staff.

Unsure what would be most effective? Ask your employees what would help them the most, and check our guide to employee development for more ideas.

What should I put for areas of improvement?

Individual development plans encourage and motivate your employees to achieve their dreams. However, as their manager, you may have some insights they don’t about skills they’re lacking to get them to the next step.

It’s best to bring these up during the planning meeting, so your employee can hear why you think these skills are important and how you’d suggest working on them. Together you can add action items to address them in the IDP.

It’s key to frame these developing areas in a positive and constructive light. You don’t want your employee to feel like they’re doing badly at these things, or their job. After all, no one’s perfect! Be open and honest and chances are, they’ll be grateful for the feedback and eager to improve the skills you’ve identified.

Create a professional IDP today with a customizable Venngage template

Whether you’re preparing for an employee’s annual review or creating an individual development plan for yourself, we’ve got the free templates you need to knock it out of the park.

Get started now and have your new IDP finished by the end of the hour. While you’re at it, why not also create a branded offer letter or onboarding guide?

For everything in your business, we’ve got a template for that.

About Michelle Martin

Michelle is a freelance writer on a mission to bring sass into SaaS content. Formerly an agency brand strategist and copywriter, Michelle traded in the glam life for sweatpants and dog walks in the woods where she yells article drafts at Siri before tripping over a log. She’s known for distilling complicated technical topics into conversational copy that gets results.