Generate Work Plans and Development Plans

 The planning process begins with the performance planning meeting. (Remember, once you complete the very first cycle of the performance management process, this meeting can be combined with the year-end performance evaluation meeting.)

 At the beginning of the performance cycle, the supervisor and employee meet to develop the employee’s work plan for the year. You can use the performance evaluation form as the basis of your meeting agenda by reviewing each section.

Create a Work Plan

 What is a Work Plan?

 One goal of a performance management program is to make performance information more meaningful to employees. Performance goals should be established at the start of the performance cycle, and regular feedback should be provided throughout the cycle. A work plan is a way to assist all employees in clarifying tasks, setting priorities and communicating regularly regarding progress. The plan does this by:

  • Encouraging dialogue around specific tasks and/or projects.
  • Sharpening job focus and performance expectations.
  • Providing the performance evaluation process with important information regarding accomplishment of goals and objectives.

 Basically, the work plan does the following:

  • States the key responsibilities in a position (as determined by the supervisor and the employee).
  • Asks employee and supervisor to agree upon priorities for a specific period of time.
  • States what needs to be accomplished, and how you will know you are successful.
  • Keeps both the supervisor and the employee on track by establishing a time frame for monitoring progress.
  • Encourages two-way communication between the supervisor and the employee during the time period involved. The work plan may be amended or modified as necessary during the course of the year.

 A work plan makes things happen by identifying important tasks. The work plan is designed to make the work easier to manage. It also helps manage time and can designate areas for special attention. Departments run more smoothly when individual members are able to identify and understand their work objectives within the overall mission of the department.

Prepare a Work Plan

 List Major Areas of Responsibility

 The employee, with the supervisor, lists three to five major areas of responsibility and/or projects related to that employee’s job. The work unit’s goals and objectives are the resources for this step. If an employee is new to the College, the supervisor may initially fill out the work plan, but the employee’s input should be included.

 Identify Performance Expectations

 Expected outcomes, in the form of qualitative statements and/or quantitative measures, are then listed for each key responsibility. The employee also lists any additional resources necessary to achieve the expected results.

 Qualitative measures are narrative descriptions of successful task or project completion. Example: “student satisfaction as indicated by survey results.”

 Quantitative measures are concrete indicators that represent successful achievement of a task or project. Examples: measures such as number of students served, schedules maintained and dollars produced or saved.

 Discuss the Work Plan

 The employee and supervisor meet to discuss the focus of the work plan. Thoughts, ideas, and perceptions are shared and appropriate procedures are used to set challenging, attainable goals. The employee and supervisor should establish “SMART” goals for the coming year which are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Agreed Upon
  • Reasonable
  • Tied to a timetable

When the goal is established, you should be able to answer:

“What” is to be done

“To What”

by “How Much”

in what timeframe “When”

For example, “reduce error rate on purchase orders by 15% by January 1”

“What” = reduce

“To What” = error rate

“How Much” = 15 %

“When” = by January 1

 Write the Work Plan

Agreement is reached with the completion of this discussion. The plan is written as part of the performance evaluation. At that time, any additional resources required are also discussed and included in the plan.

Meet to Discuss Progress

The employee and supervisor agree to meet regularly, formally and informally, to discuss the employee’s progress and make any necessary changes in the plan. The supervisor facilitates the employee’s progress with appropriate motivation and coaching techniques.

Review Results During Performance Evaluation

During the formal performance evaluation meeting, the work plan should be reviewed first. The work plan is a key resource for reviewing past performance.

Create a Development Work Plan

What is a Development Plan?

A development plan is a planning tool that uses input from the supervisor and the employee to identify knowledge areas and skills that the employee needs to acquire or areas of performance that need to be strengthened.

The purpose of the development plan is to enhance job performance and to facilitate professional growth.

A development plan can be used in three ways:

1. To acquire a new skill, ability or know-how needed by the department:

  • A current system is being upgraded to improve the department’s output.
  • A new piece of equipment is being introduced.
  • The direction of the department has changed or the department has acquired new responsibilities or areas that require employees also to change their direction.

The purpose is to help successful employees keep pace with whatever direction their position and department are going or may want to go to support their continued success.

2. To strengthen performance or improve a skill that does not meet position requirements:

  • Refine a required technical skill.
  • Strengthen a communication or interpersonal skill (such as making a verbal presentation or a written report).
  • Improve work results or style --(accuracy or timeliness).

The purpose is to improve performance up to a satisfactory level.

3. To prepare for a future goal or aspiration:

  • Learn a new skill.
  • Find out more about the College as a whole --its mission, goals and resources.
  • Create a career path that builds on current and developing skills and abilities.

The purpose here is to meet an individual’s need to change jobs and/or career direction.

Not all of these areas may be worked on at the same time. The supervisor and employee may need to focus on certain areas during a given period of time. The key is to strike a balance between individual and departmental goals without risking one for the sake of the other.

A development plan anticipates the skills/abilities needed to carry out work plan objectives and job responsibilities and sets forth how they will be learned. A development plan that is implemented successfully will benefit the individual, the department, and ultimately the College.

Prepare a Development Work Plan

Before a meeting to discuss the development plan, the supervisor and employee should each consider the following questions:

  • What skills/abilities are needed to accomplish the work plan and/or current job responsibilities?
  • What are the employee’s personal expectations (goals and objectives), current and future?
  • What are the department’s needs, current and future?

Discuss the Development Plan

The employee and supervisor meet to discuss perspectives and information regarding learning needs/goals. A development plan for the employee is then set for the upcoming year.

 Write the Development Plan

Agreement is reached with the completion of this discussion. The plan is written as part of the performance evaluation. 

Meet to Discuss Progress

The employee and supervisor agree to meet regularly, formally and informally, to discuss discuss how learning goals are being met and if any additional resources are needed. The supervisor facilitates the employee’s progress with appropriate motivation and coaching techniques.

An essential part of the performance planning process is coming up with a development plan for each employee for the upcoming year. The development plan is created based on an analysis of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses exhibited during the previous year.

Together, the supervisor and the employee can use this section to discuss development objectives for the year as a way to successfully achieve individual and departmental goals.

Relationship Between the Work Plan and the Development Plan

The cornerstone of an effective performance management program is ongoing, two-way communication between the supervisor and the employee.

The work plan and the development plan are planning documents whose purpose is to facilitate communication about the employee’s progress throughout the entire year.

Each of these plans perform a critical function in the performance management program. The work plan focuses on key responsibilities and priorities while the development plan identifies learning goals and objectives.

In addition to their separate functions, they also support each other in the following ways:

  • The work plan identifies key job responsibilities and states action steps and expected results.
  • The development plan identifies the individual’s learning goals for the year. Its purpose is to strengthen job performance and to facilitate professional growth.
  • The goals of the development plan support the goals of the work plan.
  • Both plans are future oriented.