Career Development

Five key elements to the perfect CPD plan

John Fogerty | 28 Nov 2019

Five key elements to the perfect CPD plan

John Fogerty | 28 Nov 2019

In this article:

Putting a CPD plan in place will help your career develop, follow these tips to get it started


Continuous professional development helps you progress in your career, reaching the goals you want and making sure you don’t lose sight of the targets you set yourself.

It can be tricky deciding what you need to include in a CPD plan, but John Fogerty, Training and Development Director at Vanarama clears things up with the five core elements every plan should include.

1.    Clear Objectives

Without doubt my number one recommendation has to be clear employee objectives. How can you plan personal development if you don’t know where you are heading?

Solid, measurable, stretching but achievable objectives are the key and, of course, must be agreed with the individual. I’m often encouraging our management team to ask the key attitude question: “Are our employees prepared to do, voluntarily, what’s required?” If this can’t be answered with confidence, you’ve got to ask the next question: “Do they know what’s required?” And if not, why not? Fix this first, before you look at training or a development plan.

When everyone understands the core vision of the business, why we are doing what we are doing, and what is expected from them, it’s a lot easier for managers to set role objectives and standards and then review each month with individual team members. We find cooperation and willingness will grow considerably higher with this in place.

2.    Skills

One of my favourite philosophies is: “the business gets better when you get better”. But, getting better isn’t achieved from just turning up every day. Growth needs to be intentional. So, the second question is: “Do they know how to do what’s expected?” Here you can point to skills, training and learning and CPD.

Our beliefs are strong in the organisation and everyone understands that we can always do better. The great thing about CPD is it can be formal or informal learning. Some people prefer to listen to a book podcast for example rather than reading a book - great managers talk this through during the monthly staff one-to-ones and recommend accordingly.

3.    Reward

Is there a sufficient reward and recognition system in place? Why would anyone do anything unless they saw a benefit from doing it, so recognising good behaviour and praising staff for learning and growing is so important. There’s an intrinsic need as a human being to develop and great businesses recognise and nurture this. It’s the main reason why I wanted a solid CPD monthly discussion taking place with all Vanarama’s 250 staff.

4.    Controls

Next, we should ask: “how do I know the CPD is working?” Suitable metrics and KPI’s will determine this, and secondary KPI’s that drill down to the quality aspect of behaviour and performance can certainly help provoke the development discussion.

Asking great questions such as how can we help you improve even further in this area, or where specifically do you need to develop to address this issue, often point to directed or self-directed learning and the crucial CPD buy-in. We want people to want to develop and come to their own conclusions, rather than be told they are to attend a training course or workshop.

5.    Management Style

Finally, all of this is underpinned by the manager interactions and specifically how they discuss continual personal development. Again, once an employee understands what is expected, has the tools and skills to deliver it, is suitably rewarded for consistently exhibiting the skills, can see growth and progression and how valuable their contributions are there’s a very good likelihood they’ll discover their own development needs during the monthly review.

So, if I could offer one overall piece of advice here, it would be for all senior managers and leaders to adopt the Pygmalion effect, the self-fulfilling prophesy that high expectations lead to greater performance; and then act on this belief with their people every single day.

For more information on continuous professional development visit the IMI’s courses page

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