What is a Self Development Plan ?

A “Self Development Plan – SDP” is a planned approach towards enabling one’s self development. Ideally the ownership of creating and implementing the self development plan, lies on an employee in an organization. Of course, the concerned employee has to leverage the resources and processes that are made available to him/her by the organization HR, his/her reporting managers etc.

A SDP, may be created once any intervention or process that helps assess an employee on identified managerial, leadership or organizational skills or competency requirements. This could be any specific initiative like a development center, assessment center, a 360 degree feedback or even a performance appraisal.

The Self Development Plan (SDP) can be better understood to be an action plan that helps you to develop your skills and competencies in the current job as well as for future responsibilities and new positions. SDP helps to evolve a plan for your career development that draws upon your strengths and utilize your skills and competencies to the maximum. It focuses solely on individual development, professional growth and required training. In fact the main objective of SDP is to identify training and developmental opportunities that facilitate in career development. Sustained employee performance and organizational productivity are the main goals of self development plan.


The purpose of an SDP is three fold.

  • First, it ensures that the employee maintains the current level of job proficiency through continued training and developmental activities.
  • Secondly, the employee charts a career path by identifying new knowledge, skills and abilities to pursue, as well as learning activities needed to reach the established goals.
  • Third, the SDP will support organization mission and career field needs

SDPs benefit both the employee and the organization. Employees benefit, because implementing an SDP helps them enhance their knowledge, skills and experiences. Improved competencies help them achieve personal and career goals. The organization benefits by developing improved employee capabilities, performance and competencies. Competent employee performance, plus the added bonus of improved morale, and personal job satisfaction can make the organization more effective. SDPs work by helping an employee and supervisor clarify things that are important to them and plan to achieve them.

The SDP comprises of series of learning tools and activities that link assessment factors such as performance, job skills, and behavioral competencies etc to a range of developmental activities. These activities may include – On the job training, Key projects, training programs, E learning modules etc.