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How to Use an Employee Development Plan

An EDP (employee development plan) is one good way to encourage engagement in your workforce. So, how do you use an EDP? Here's a breakdown:


The manager completes the EDP forms.

This step includes providing an assessment of the employee's past performance, as well as a road map for the future. (The manager can partner with his HR manager as needed for guidance writing effective goals, providing reinforcing and constructive feedback, and so on.)

For best results, the employee should also complete the EDP form and submit it to the manager; this will aid in discussion during the EDP meeting (see Step 3).


Fill in a three-circles diagram for the employee as part of the EDP.

As you develop this road map, you may want to consider the “three circles.” The first circle represents what the employee likes to do, the second circle represents what the employee is good at, and the third circle represent what needs to get done. The more these circles overlap, the more engaged the employee will be. Try filling in a three-circles diagram for your employees as you develop their EDP.


The manager shares the draft EDP with the second-level manager.

They meet to review the employee's performance and discuss her priority goals.


The manager and the employee meet to discuss feedback and agree on goals for the upcoming year.

They discuss results and accomplishments against goals, and feedback about strengths and improvement areas. Both the manager and the employee clarify and agree on performance and development goals for the upcoming year. The idea is to spend as much time, if not more, discussing future goals as reflecting on past performance.


The manager and the employee sign the EDP and submit it to the HR manager, retaining copies for their own files.

In many organizations, this process occurs annually. However, note, your Gen X and Gen Y staff may crave more frequent feedback. It may be wise to consider implementing semiannual, quarterly, or even monthly (yes, monthly) “checkups” to review performance and goals. Particularly for Gen X and Gen Y workers, doing so will boost engagement and drive discretionary effort.

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