What’s with these IDPs anyway?

I am not a failure.  I’ve seen my own share of success,  and don’t back down from a challenge, yet I cringe when the yearly IDP is thrown around the workplace.
Employers spend a lot of money rolling out Independent Development Plans, implementing them, not to mention the payroll to execute them.
I work hard while I’m at work.   I learn as much as I can about my current employment.  But when my manager, and it doesn’t matter which one, tells me its time for me to work on  my IDP, I feel this defensive, “Get out of my bubble” feeling, like they’ve asked me something which is way too personal.

I don’t want to share what my goals.
I don’t want to go in the direction my employer thinks I should.
I’m just not committed enough to really have a goal in mind.
I just want my pay cheque so I pursue my real passion.
Nothing will come of this, but its a nice piece of paper to have.
Its like being asked what I want to be when I grow up, but only if I work for this company.
These are all answers I received when I asked various people to tell me their thoughts on IDP’s.

In every place I’ve worked, as IDP season comes up, I fill in the blanks, and hand it back to my employer, so it can be filed and asked to be resubmitted again the next year.  In fact, I’ve resubmitted the same report a few years in a row, just to see if anyone noticed.  No one did.  It’s not the intentions of the employer to have the program fail.  It’s a lack of resources.  Staffing is trimmed in most places to the extreme, where most employees do the work meant for at least two people, and managers are no exception.  Having to do their jobs, plus manage an IDP program for their staff as well as their own…  there’s just not enough hours in the day.
Why do companies use the IDP program, and insist on their staff participating, knowing that unless that person is highly motivated (and in which case probably already has come up with their own game plan anyway) it might not make a lick of difference to move that employee forward?  To propagate motivation.
IDP season is a chance to give the employer a spotlight to show on each individual and say “Look what you can do at our company.”  To foster a sense of ownership of the employees own merits, which should stave off employee turnover for just a bit longer.  And a failed IDP program is still cheaper than training someone new.
I’d like to explore this topic more.  After all, in theory it is a program meant to help everyone succeed.  How can I use it when my goals don’t coincide with my employers?
Thoughts?  Has anyone used an Employer directed development plan and made good on their goals?  How did you this play out?

Follow me at http://www.facebook.com/amandavstheworld to hear about up comings posts I’m working on.


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Amanda M

Vegan most of the time. Mother all the time. Super Woman in my free time. I am currently an events manager with a retail chain, and am working my way into freelance writing. I've had my first book 'Go to Sleep, Leona!' recently published, and am currently working on more fiction pieces.

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